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Tim Ries: Alternate Side

Ries has played lead alto with the Maria Schneider Orchestra since 1993. In 1999 he toured with the Rolling Stones for six months. On this album he captures these extremes and more, although the balance tips in favor of the rarified Schneider experience. Ries’ training in composition-he has a master’s degree from the University of Michigan-also comes into play.

The album opens with his gospelish “The Sinner and the Saint,” and here his robust tenor suggests Ernie Watts. There’s more of this contemporary tenor sound on the Stones’ “Moonlight Mile,” which closes the set. In between comes an abstract reharmonization of “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” a couple of lyrical originals, a 14-bar blues and a couple of pieces sure to confound the metrically challenged (although the musicians breeze through the complex counts).

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