It is surprising that decades passed following Billy Strayhorn's death in 1967 before anyone started seriously exploring the treasure trove of arrangements by the talented composer and arranger. What is especially unusual about these 14 charts is that they are all standards rather than his own compositions, and many of them make their recording debut on this release by the Dutch Jazz Orchestra, heard on their second CD devoted exclusively to his writing. An extended treatment of "Autumn in New York" focuses on John Ruocco's birdlike clarinet solo, while "I'll Remember April" isn't a runaway vehicle (as in most bop charts) but has an easygoing, loping gait. Strayhorn's writing for the horns and reeds is impeccable on every number. Singer Marjorie Barnes adds her thoughtful vocals to four tracks, shining particularly on the unusual chart of "Yesterdays." Strayhorn fans will be delighted to learn that the Dutch Jazz Orchestra already has two more CDs in the pipeline to follow up their first two ventures into little known Strayhorn scores, so it is likely that they will want to acquire all of their recordings in this series.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden