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November 2000

Jim Widner Big Band
Rides Again: Live!
CMG

The Widner Big Band easily lives up to the promise made by its earlier CMG releases on its third disc, Rides Again: Live!. Most prominent in the 20-piece band's aural image is the impact of the six-man trumpet section, a juggernaut of the same mettle as those that powered the old Kenton bands, and which here boasts in featured spots on "Trump Card Suite," "Big Sur" and "The Meaning of the Blues" the chops-heavy horns of Mike Vax, Dave Scott and Clay Jenkins-Maynardians all. Not to be outdone on the 10 variously tempoed, artfully scored tracks are altoman Kim Richmond, tenormen Rick DiMuzio and Bill Perkins, trombonists Brett Stamps and Paul McKee; and, on his own reworking of "Mood Indigo," pianist Reggie Thomas. A particular highlight is McKee's imaginative chart on "Rhythm-a-ning," a performance showcasing a burning DiMuzio and altoman Dave Pietro, while vocalist Mardra Thomas wails, along with Vax, on "Alright, Okay, You Win."

Originally published in November 2000
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