Under the direction of bassist/arranger Hamid John Dana, the DJW, 18 pieces strong, combine traditional and modern repertoire, offering one of the fullest sounds among contemporary territorial big bands. Instrumentation includes french horn, tuba and non-rhythmic guitar, in part accounting for the expansive, explosive attitude. There are also some very strong soloists, including trumpeter Bob Mojica, saxophonists Dave Flanigan and Jim Wyse, guitarist Steve Carryer and pianist John Hammer. Dana chose to write big arrangements of well known standards like "'Round 'Bout Midnight," "In A Mellow Tone," Coltrane numbers "Blue Trane" and "Giant Steps." "Midnight" looms larger than lesser charts of this evergreen, "Mellow Tone" even more demonstrative thanks to the augmented chart and the lively solo from Wyse on tenor saxophone, the horns crying out in layers. "Blue Trane" is a flute driven version, and "Giant Steps" is carefully interpreted, more like "Big Foot Steps." Cole Porter's "So In Love" has alternating punchy Afro-Cuban mambo and hard bopping sections. The originals are headed by Belle Jackson's latin flavored "Merry-Go-Round," a feature for Carryer's fleet single lines, way apart from Freddie Green, Hammer's bright piano, and Mojica's bristling, sparkling trumpet. Here are three unsung heroes if there ever were. A Basie type "716" was written by Detroit pianist Scott Gwinnell, Dana's compositions "Lookin' Up" and "Five for Lunch" are an easy swinger with sweet alto soli from Flanigan, and a 5/4 cross between "All Blues" & "Take Five" respectively. Bess Bonnier's "Love Will come Again" is a floating Dana arrangment, intro'd with a lustrous trombone solo by Dick Boelter. This is one of the most impressive new bands in this area of jazz, and one can only hope they'll have many more opportunities to be heard and recorded. Highly recommended.