The Olive Tree is filled with confident, mature playing from a group whose frontline won widespread acclaim as youngsters. Tenor saxophonist Blanding and trumpet player Ryan Kisor first played together as members of a nationwide high school all-star quintet, but both have come a long way since then. Blanding subsequently joined Wynton Marsalis’ septet and Kisor later performed with the Mingus Big Band. At the time of this late 1999 recording, the two of them, as well as pianist Farid Barron and bassist Rodney Whitaker, worked with Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Drummer Rodney Green, who has worked with Greg Osby and Christian McBride, joins them here. They all function well together, both as an ensemble and as complementary soloists.
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