On his fourth date as a leader, bassist and composer Rodney Whitaker is joined by several members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which he has been a member of since 1996. The release of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow signals the next stage of Whitaker's maturation obtained after years of touring, recording, and teaching. Not only has he expanded his lyrical bass style, but Whitaker has developed into a first-rate composer and arranger. Some of the disc's highlights include Ellington's "Mood Indigo," which starts as a duet between Whitaker's bass and vocalist Diane Reeves before the exotic haze augmented by drummer Herlin Riley and the light touch of Farid Barron's Bill Evans-influenced piano glide through the fog. On the up-tempo blues of "Hurricane Andrew," Victor Goines, Wynton Marsalis (also featured on two other tracks), Wycliff Gordon, and the song's composer Andrew Speight demonstrate the power of showmanship, each making quick statements that leave you wanting more than the tunes brief 4:33 allows. "You and Me" stands as a two-fold vehicle; it highlights the bass clarinet prowess of Goines while encompassing the natural interplay these musicians have developed after years of playing together with J@LC. The same can be said of the excitable version of Joe Henderson's "Tetragon," clipped on at the disc's conclusion as an afterthought bonus track. The quartet of Goines, Barron, Riley, and Whitaker used this composition as a warm-up exercise, and it was recorded on the first day of these sessions.
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Review by Al Campbell