Assembling twenty-six of the city’s finest jazz-oriented improvisers and composers in various formations, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s twenty-fifth anniversary session collates ten arrangements which reflect the varied heritage of the Prairie city and beyond. The tunes range from non-member John Stetch’s three-part reflection on his Ukrainian-Canadian heritage to briefer explorations of Métis, Indigenous, and diaspora cultures, which manage to be profound, celebratory, and danceable all at once. This is a musical, not an anthropological, program, so the messages are projected through a notable collection of carefully modulated section work, as well as distinctive trumpet, trombone, and saxophone solos, and, most prominently, pianist Will Bonness. His attendant playing encompasses exploratory clanks and clinks, responsive swing, formalized glissandi, and player piano–like riffs, depending on the circumstances.

Moving from mellow trumpet portamenti and muted reed vibrations, Stetch’s The Parallel Steppes integrates instrumental interplay and limited, chorale-like vocal murmuring, and ups the tempo with chortling saxes, plunger brass, and a swing groove, creating sequences midway between Prairie hoedowns and Carpathian dances. With breaks for percussion rumbles, contrapuntal horn vamps, and brief string section interjections, the Richard Gillis–conducted band concentrates on layered harmonies and decisive crescendos. Throughout the rest of the disc, interludes referencing African dance parties, South American folk songs, and Indigenous spiritualism mix with hardcore jazz.