Without making the slightest pretense toward expertise in jazz, I'll venture some hazy and ill-informed impressions of last night's Jazz at Lincoln Center program. As most people know, Wynton Marsalis' empire of swing has moved into a huge new performance space in the Time-Warner building at Columbus Circle. The lobby areas are unpromising, extending the highbrow Wal-Mart feeling of the entire development, but the Allen Room, where Wynton and orchestra played last night, is one of the most visually astounding music halls in the world — huge raked glass windows affording a billionaire's view of Central Park and surrounding buildings. The moon glimmers through clouds, reflections of the lights of 59th Street go straight up in the air. It's a perfect place for glamorous young Manhattan couples to celebrate their anniversary. I went primarily to hear Duke Ellington's Black, Brown, and Beige — Benny Carter's Kansas City Suite filled out the program — and I was mesmerized by the playing. Eric Lewis' piano solos floated in from some Ravelian heaven. (Please note: I'm agnostic on the whole pro/con Wynton brawl.) The work itself is about as sublime and deep as American music gets. Let it never be forgotten that aesthetic policemen on both sides of the classical-jazz divide denounced Ellington in 1943 for attempting this brave symphonic experiment. Paul Bowles, in the New York Herald Tribune, called it "formless and meaningless … a gaudy potpourri of tutti dance passages and solo virtuoso work." That's one of the stupidest reviews in the history of criticism, right up there with Hanslick on Tchaikovsky and Virgil Thomson on Sibelius. If Bowles had been able to write music one-tenth as beautiful or haunting as "Come Sunday," he would never have given up composition in favor of books.