In 1990, tenor-saxophonist Clifford Jordan achieved one of his lifetime goals and formed a big band. They recorded a demo in December, 1990, that helped land them a record deal with Fantasy. The orchestra recorded one album before Jordan passed away in 1993. The music on Play What You Feel, which was originally the demo, was released for the first time in 1997. The 16-piece orchestra, which includes many of Jordan's friends and longtime associates, was loose but tight, featuring strong solos, spirited ensembles and colorful straight-ahead arrangements. In addition to Jordan, who is heard in prime form and often sounds exuberant, key soloists include Dizzy Reece, Benny Powell and Junior Cook. Highlights include Duke Ellington's joyful "Angelica," "Evidence" and "Charlie Parker's Last Supper" (a blues in the "Parker's Mood" vein) but all of the selections are fun and swinging. This is a highly recommended if little-known gem that makes one happy that Clifford Jordan was able to achieve his goal.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow