This large group is a vehicle for leader William van Manen, a gusto-packed trombonist who also contributes most of the written material for the group. The sound is instantly recognizable, big-band jazz. When the groove is kind of a funky swing and you get into a long sax or trumpet solo, it is unfortunately a kind of bland music that results, despite everyone's best efforts. The long tribute to Charles Mingus brings out heartfelt feelings of musical generosity that bring out the best in the players, while some of the more spacy, extended compositions provide the listener with more substantial listening. Some of the voicings the composer gets into are really quite interesting. The sweet-sounding clarinetist Patrick Hagen gets good solos near the middle and end of the CD.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne