Reviews that summarize the Album
Derrick Gardner proves himself to be a master composer and jazz trumpeter on Still I Rise, offering extremely complex and inventive arrangements that can be appreciated at many levels, while the incredible musicianship of the Big dig! Band is the icing on the cake.
- Brenda Nelson-Strauss, Black Grroves
In other words, it isn't hard to dig! this band, which thrives on Gardner's generally sunlit and likeable charts as it implants a smile on the listener's face. As a result, Still I Rise has risen to the crest of recent big-band enterprises and is undoubtedly admiring the view.
- Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
At its heart, though, it’s a straight-ahead swinger, brawny and full-bodied, powered by muscular and dexterous solos from all concerned. Gardner is savvy enough to use the electronics as novelty gimmicks and let the “real” instruments take care of the music—which is, after all, what we came here to “dig!” in the first place.
- David Whiteis, Jazz Times
Gardner’s orchestrations are expressive and contain full-on band sections as well as more restrained segments. All pieces are between seven and 15 minutes which gives the soloists time to stretch out so we can hear their individual personalities. Still I Rise swings from beginning to end.
- Ted Parkinson, The WholeNote
Still I Rise not only showcases Derrick Gardner’s skill as a trumpeter, but also as a composer and arranger. Featuring blues tunes rhythmic burners to languid ballads, Still I Rise displays Gardner’s ability as a bandleader to open spaces for not only his star players but his trailblazing youngsters to take center stage with inspired soloing.
- Jim Hynes, Making a Scene