Now and Now Again follows up on the success of 1998's Siren's Song, with Canada's Maritime Jazz Orchestra once again tackling the fabulous music of trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler. Joining Wheeler out in front of the 18-piece orchestra is his regular pianist John Taylor and the vocalist Norma Winstone. The disc begins with the huge, half-hour-long "Sweet Ruby Suite," which really cooks toward the end. It goes on to feature two shorter Wheeler compositions, "Now and Now Again" and "W.W." (the latter from 1984's Double, Double You), as well as John Taylor's "Pure and Simple," which appears a couple of times in drummer Peter Erskine's discography. Founder, arranger, and saxophonist Greg Carter directs the band with aplomb, summoning hard-driving swing. New York's John Hollenbeck is tremendously effective in the drum chair; Mike Murley, from the fusion band Metalwood, enlivens the saxophone section, stepping out with a number of fine solos. A vital addition to Wheeler's large-ensemble library, not to mention the canon of contemporary big band writing in general.
AllMusic Review by David R. Adler