During this highly enjoyable release, Keith Nichols and the Blue Devils bring back the spirit -- if not the exact notes -- of Bennie Moten & the Kansas City Orchestra of 1925-32. Claus Jacobi, Des Bacon, Bent Persson, James Dapogny and Nichols himself wrote arrangements based on the original recordings but not exact transcriptions. They were not shy to build on the original charts while always keeping the sound of the band. The same can be said for the soloists, who are creative within the Kansas City ragtime/classic jazz style. Every player with the exception of drummer Richard Pite and bassist Jim Ydstie (who is only on "Prince of Wails") has solo space along the way, and they really know this idiom very well. Although modern jazz listeners will find this specialized music to be esoteric, the joy of the Bennie Moten-style and the sincerity and musicianship of the players make this an accessible and delightful set.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow