Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Fine Big Band Jazz CD
John Tapscott | Canada | 10/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never heard the Jim Widner Big Band before you may want to start with the very exciting live set, "Rides Again." However, lovers of modern big band jazz will enjoy this fine CD, as well. Widner's band only comes together for short tours and summer band camps, but most of the musicians are veterans of the Kenton, Herman, and Rich bands, so they gel very quickly into a group with both power and personality. What we get on this CD are 6 standards and 4 original compostions, mostly straigthahead swingers or ballads, the one notable exception being Kim Richmond's complex and somewhat moody concert piece, "Continued Obscurity." Overall, the music on this CD is very enjoyable but the arrangements probably won't contain a lot of surprises for veteran jazz fans. Many of us, however, have probably not heard Body and Soul played at such a lively tempo. This is one of the outstanding tracks on the CD and features arranger/trombonist Conrad Herwig and trumpeter Clay Jenkins in excellent solos.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the CD is the exceptionally strong solo team Widner has put together. The CD's opening solo is a very melodic flute solo by Kim Park (who also solos on alto sax on "Slim Jim, dedicated to the bassist/leader). A few of the other strong soloists include veterans Bill Perkins and Bob Burgess, on tenor sax and trombone respectively (who share solo duties on "Embraceable You, another outstanding track); Kim Richmond on alto sax, Rick DiMuzio on tenor and Dave Scott on trumpet. Especially memorable is pianist Ray Kennedy who burns through "Yours is My Heart Alone" with runs that will remind you of none other than Oscar Peterson. Why isn't Kennedy more well-known in the jazz world? Drummer Gary Hobbs is outstanding throughout the whole CD.
This CD is warmly recommended to fans of modern big band jazz and once you get one Widner Big Band CD, you'll want then all."