in the early '60s. Since then the band has added touring and recording to its resume; And the Beat Goes On, the ensemble's sixth CD for the Chase Music Group, was recorded in June 2012 to commemorate its twenty-fifth anniversary. That's quite a long time in big-band years, especially when one takes into account deaths and other personnel changes; a second all-star group could be formed simply by holding a Widner band reunion.
Until that happens, the present band is plenty good enough, boasting impressive talent in every chair. And what better way to display that proficiency than by opening with Bill Holman
, and hard-hitting finale, Sonny Bono's "And the Beat Goes On," whose appetizing solos are cooked to order by McNeill and trumpeter Hermon Mahari.
While marking its anniversary, Widner's sterling ensemble has produced one of the more impressive and exhilarating big-band albums in recent memory. Would it be too audacious to ask for twenty-five more years?
Track Listing: Begin the Beguine; Everytime We Say Goodbye; Pennies from Heaven; Smile; Terrestris; Willow Weep for Me; The Queen of Mean; What a Wonderful World; The Beat Goes On.
Personnel: Jim Widner: leader, bass; John Harner: trumpet; Mike Vax: trumpet; Davey Scott: trumpet; Herman Mehari: trumpet; Jason Johnson: trumpet (1, 2, 4, 6, 8); Dave Pietro: alto sax, flute; Kim Richmond: alto sax, flute; Chip McNeill: tenor sax, flute; Stan Harper: tenor sax, flute; Gary Anderson: baritone sax; Scott Whitfield: trombone; Brett Stamps: trombone. Pete Madsen: trombone; Steve Wilson: bass trombone; Ken Kehner: piano; Rod Fleeman: guitar; Gary Hobbs: drums.