Jim Widner is the former bassist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and has performed with Clark Terry, Buddy DeFranco, Mulgrew Miller, Louis Bellson, Randy Brecker, Bill Watrous, Marilyn Maye, and an appearance before former President Bill Clinton. He was a faculty member of the Kenton camps for 10 years and helped Stan organize and expand his camps from California to other locations across the United States. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Jim also holds a Master’s Degree from Memphis State University and has done post graduate work at the University of North Texas.
In 1999 students at the University of Missouri renamed the music wing of the Fine Arts Residential College "Widner House," in honor of him. "The Jim Widner Big Band," whose recordings have received critical acclaim, also hosts a number of jazz camps each summer. Jim has performed at the world famous Lionel Hampton and Montreaux Jazz Festivals and serves as guest conductor for numerous All-State Jazz Bands.
Jim is currently Artist in Residence/Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He also maintains an ambitious clinic and festival schedule at high schools and colleges throughout the United States. This includes a series of summer jazz camps, spearheaded by members of the Jim Widner Big Band, which records with Chase Music Group. Their critically acclaimed CD’s include "Yesterdays and Today," "Body and Soul," and "Live," the Jim Widner Big Band Rides Again," and the band’s newest CD, "Flying High."