Original New Orleans Jazz

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The genre New Orleans Jazz refers to jazz in its earliest forms. In the late 19th century New Orleans brass bands would perform in marches, parades and funerals playing anything from military tunes to rags in a polyphonic style similar to African-American vocal music. Since many of these marches were very lengthy, the tunes would have to be repeated many times leading the performers to improvise on the melodies to relieve their boredom.

Typical New Orleans bands in this era had a front line of coronet, clarinet and trombone, while the rhythm section was composed of banjo, tuba and a percussionist. The coronet would play the melody while the clarinet would improvise counter melodies and the trombone supplied pedal points that pointed out harmonic changes while the tuba covered the bass. Improvisation would take place in a similar counter-point style with no one member being a featured soloist. The rhythm sections in early New Orleans bands would place the accent on every beat. Later the Chicago Dixieland musicians would place the accent on 2 and 4, which eventually led to the creation of RnB and rock-n-roll. Unfortunately there are no recordings of early jazz bands because the first recording of a jazz band didn't take place until 1917.

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DOC CHEATHAM Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton Album Cover Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton
DOC CHEATHAM
5.00 | 1 ratings
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ALLEN TOUSSAINT The Bright Mississippi Album Cover The Bright Mississippi
ALLEN TOUSSAINT
4.50 | 1 ratings
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ALLEN TOUSSAINT The Bright Mississippi

Album · 2009 · Original New Orleans Jazz
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Matt
Does it get anymore New Orleans than Allen Toussaint who has been around since the begining of the sixties and has played with just about everybody from New Orleans as well as many famous international stars. Jazz, R&B, Blues, Soul, Disco, Rock and Pop are all just part of his repertoire but here on "The Bright Mississippi" it is all Jazz but like all Allen Toussaint's piano or keyboard playing it has New Orleans all over it. Allen is only on piano here with vocals on one composition and has not written anything himself for this one but no matter as the material is still given his touch and transported back to the twenties and early thirties with the Traditional and Ragtime influence that is the major influence throughout the album. Missisippi the home of the blues is used in the title and that is just another component of the album with Marc Ribot having the job on accoustic guitar throughout the album. Allen is not the only New Orleans native present as Nicholas Payton is blowing trumpet and if it is New Orleans you want there is no better man for the job going around today. Jay Bellerose is drumming and Jay and Marc Ribot have worked together before as David Piltch on bass has and all with Joe Henry who actually surprise is the albums producer. Brad Meldhau who makes a guest spot on piano on one track has also worked with those four musicians mentioned and Joshua Redman makes a guest spot on tenor saxophone as well for one tune. Last but not least we have Don Byron on clarinet and yes he also is familar with those other four musicians having played with them as well on Joe Henry's albums. As most of the musicians are all familar the seamless does come into the production and Joe Henry has produced a similar sound that has been apparent on his last four albums by just applying that slight muddy effect to the sound but although that touch is there the clarity remains with the result of a beautiful mixing job in the albums construction with an old time feel with one foot in the traditional and one in the contempary.

Sidney Bechet is the co-writer for the album's start being "Egyptian Fantasy" with that old sounding drum thump and the trumpet of Nicholas Payton commencing proceedings and the surprise of the album is Don Byron's input with the clarinet that just melds with Nicholas's trumpet bringing a sound that is pure New Orleans but not from the present but 1920 with Allen Toussaint giving us a great little old time piano solo. "Dear Old Southland" is the follower with Nicholas Payton stealing the show with his part by just playing Gershwin's "Summertime" which is the base for this laid back composition which does not get anymore South than this classic song. Allen Toussaint's piano playing is spectacular to say the least he really does capture the time and feel with another classic Southern tune to be given a work over being "St James Infirmary" and Allen's piano trades licks with Marc Ribot's guitar and the piano roll is just perfect blending with the accoustic guitar blues throughout. Nicholas Payton on trumpet gets things underway on another old time classic "Singin' the Blues" with great work from Allen Toussaint on piano which follows. Brad Meldhau makes his only appearance next on piano with the Jelly Roll Morton composition, "Winin' Boy Blues" and Brad does keep it 1920's but he still injects a more modern improvised solo bringing another side to the tune. The great Louis Armstrong tune, "West End Blues" is straight after with Nicholas on trumpet doing a nice job with that loopy intro and well as playing the song just beautifully but things improve still when Allen plays his turn at piano on this traditional jazz standard with more beautifully picked blues to follow from Marc Ribot. There is not a poor track within and things stay right where they belong back in the early 20th century with the construction and sound. "Blue Drag" by Django Reinhardt is superb with a beautiful slow roll, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" the old Gospel tune is given more great treatment as the Monk tune which is the albums title, "Bright Missisippi" is with that old time shuffle. Joshua Redman makes his appearance on "Daydream" which is the only tune within the album containing saxophone and the dream element is all there on this old Ellington/Strayhorn composition with Joshua's sax just right with a great lovely laid back solo with Allen Toussaint on piano following. Allen Toussaint sings as well as his usual piano for the next, "Long Long Journey Home" with the clarinet and trumpet providing support but Marc Ribot is pickin' Blues as he knows how bringing a great feel to the song. The album closer is another slow Ellington tune, "Solitude" and once again it is Allen and Marc sounding so natural playing together with a mix of pure New Orleans and yet Marc Ribot has taken a more Blues approach to his accoustic guitar contribution and not just to this tune but the whole album bringing to the proceedings their own distinct sound.

Highly recommended album as it is one on its own and perhaps that is due to the fact the production has been given that Joe Henry master touch. He has his own stamp with music these days and he is original and creative and what more can you ask for. Allen Toussaint is simply stunning with his piano but so are all the other musicians that took part in this project. I hope that they do another but if you can't wait there is another similar in production and sound with a more contempary edge but still with a similar 1920's Jazz Hall sound, try Joe's last one, "Blood From Stars" with many members from this album's project present.

JELLY ROLL MORTON Mr. Jelly Lord

Boxset / Compilation · 2006 · Original New Orleans Jazz
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Matt
It's all dates and times of who played with who, where and when, was it Jazz or Blues but when one goes back to the those first early recordings on shellac (78's) that were all done in the 1920's one thing for sure is at this transition point in music the Blues were still there and in not some altered slight influence but actually standing in the room when Jazz was first recorded but you might say "Trad Jazz does not sound too Mississippi to me" but the time and structure are there with both, and Blues is the beating heart. These recordings are not Jelly Roll Morton's first as they were done 2 to 3 years earlier in 1923 to 24 and all of these were solo piano which unfortunately were recorded for Paramount who were more quantity and not quality with their sales approach and did not use quality materials in their productions with the result being what has survived is wall to wall static or surface noise if you prefer and not really an enjoyable listen due to all the interference with the sound of Jelly Roll's piano. In 1926 Jelly Roll signed with Victor Records and they were not cheap with their production at the time with the result being a great sound which can still be heard today even with the recording equipments limitations used at that time. Enjoyment and clarity are bountiful within this compilation of Victor recordings from the dawn of Jazz with some of Jelly Roll Morton's best compositions and also with these tunes the bonus is we have a band (Jelly Roll Morton's Hot Peppers) present for many of the compositions with some outright New Orleans pioneers accompanying him. Kid Ory is on trombone, Johnny Dodds playing clarinet with Johnny St Cyr plucking banjo and Warren "Baby" Dodds on drums and all of these greats would be present at the Hot Five recordings done by Louis Armstrong in 1925 except for Baby Dodds who does not appear in Louis's recording band until the Hot Five became the Hot Seven in 1927.The first three gentlemen who I mentioned should be credited as much as Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong due to the fact they were part of this new sound in the 1920's and actually Kid Ory ran his own band in the 1910's in New Orleans with Louis, Johnny Dodds and the great King Oliver actually being members during this period. He was one of the most influential trombonists and he put down the foundations for Jazz with his instrument. Johnny Dodds on clarinet is another pioneer as it was Benny Goodman himself who said that it was Johnny Dodds who was his major influence. One thing that I particularly like about Trad Jazz is the banjo many people think the opposite but it is such an important part of the sound and Johnny St Cyr played it beautifully for the time as well as providing the odd verbal introduction assisting Jelly Roll as only a black musician from the South would in the 1920's with hokum and a bit of comedy. Jelly Roll Morton claimed that it was he who first played Jazz and perhaps he was right as he was recording before Louis Armstrong and a lot of his material he claimed to have written in the 1910's but most likely due to his drop in popularity in the early thirties and lack of decent material Jelly Roll Morton was almost forgotten although his compositions were still being played by Swing bands much to his chagrin. Jelly Roll Morton at this time had no money or decent work until Alan Lomax recorded his Library of Congress material in 1938 and although it was not released during this period it gave him exposure again for his career in later life.

The twenty track compilation "Mr Jelly Lord" is a mix with primarily the Hot Peppers being present but there are five solo piano tunes from Jelly Roll included as well as the Hot Peppers line up changing with Omer Simeon playing clarinet instead of Johnny Dodds on various songs with just as much panache as Johnny for the first three numbers on the album as well as later tunes in the compilation which begins with the frantic dixie of "Black Bottom Stomp" with its arranged sections but the added fireworks in the quick improvised solos from each of the main band members only add to this superb frantically played tune. "Smoke House Blues" is next with that southern New Orleans wail from George Mitchell's cornet opening this fairly slow Blues number and as before Jelly Roll Morton is stunning with his technique and actually at the end of his solo in "Smoke House Blues" one of the band yells "Oh Mr Jelly". A bottle of bootleg hooch might come in handy right now with the up tempo "The Chant" and Johnny St Cyr's superb banjo is everywhere with that 1920's trad jazz sound. The first piano solo number is "Tom Cat Blues" followed by "King Porter Stomp" with both giving you the chance to hear just how good Jelly Roll Morton was with his technique, just listen to both tunes throughout with the changes he makes to keep the compositions interesting and moving along but all the while keeping that Rag Time rythmn. A car horn is the introduction for "Sidewalk Blues"with Jelly Roll telling Johnny St Cyr to move along in a not too polite fashion with Johnny replying "Sorry boss I have the Sidewalk Blues" and the car horn is an added effect used as well later in lovely little dixied-up old exquisite Blues song. Another great old time number follows with "Dead Man Blues" with Jelly Roll yelling in a part of the opening section "Somebody must be dead" with Johnny St cyr replying "Aint nobody dead, somebody must be dead drunk" and then the horns deliver a funeral march for this great mid tempo blues which of course contains some quick wonderful solos. During this session in 1926 there were three on clarinet present with the great Barney Bigard being one. There are many more great and what have become classics in Jazz with "Steamboat Stomp", "Doctor Jazz", "Mr Jelly Lord" are included but one special mention must go to the classic tune "The Pearls" with the lucky inclusion on this compilation of a solo piano version as well as one with the band. The last four tracks are not quite up to the mark as the first sixteen but still the two piano solo tunes are the standouts in them but the band had changed and it is apparent on the other compositions they were no where near the calibre of the earlier members.

Great clear sounding compilation and being on the Naxos label you will not have to take out a loan for it. About the price of a good hamburger should cover it. For many this may just be dreary old stuff but the band is the complete opposite for me with great fireworks and music that could only be made back then. These recordings are as good as Louis Armstrong's but instead of having Louis's wonderful trumpet you trade off for Jelly Roll Morton's piano technique. Classic Jazz with the Blues still holding its hand on this masterpiece of early music and one must remember Charlie Patton had not released anything till 1929 and Blind Lemon Jefferson had just cut his first in 1925 with Jelly Roll Morton beating them all to the punch and he even turned those Blues into Jazz as well.

DOC CHEATHAM Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton

Album · 1997 · Original New Orleans Jazz
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Matt
Not bad at all when you are 91 years old and can still cut an album. Not only that it is even better that you can still blow a trumpet and sing beautifully in the tradition of Louis Armstrong for this style of classic New Orleans Jazz . Doc though whose real name was Adolphus Anthony Cheatham was going to be a pharmicist but kept the Doc. title and decided music was his preferred option back in the 1920's. Doc Cheatham's experience is diverse to say the least from Ma Rainey, Chick Webb, Machito, Perez Prado and Richie Ray but Louis Armstrong was his major influence and in the seventies gave his playing a revamp with self assesment and took up singing. Although he originally came out of Nashville this is pure New Orleans which is exactly where Nicholas Payton was born and bred with that precise feel to his tone and style which is apparent on his previous release "Gumbo Nouvea" being New Orleans themed as well to this collaboration with Doc Cheatham. Tom Ebert is on trombone and Dixie is his specialty with Les Muscott and although English is considered almost a native from New Orleans and is playing guitar but not banjo. Jack Maheu who plays clarinet was born in 1930 and has been playing almost as long with Dixieland being his style and moved to New Orleans in 1990 were he still resides. Butch Thompson on piano has been playing Trad Jazz and Ragtime for forty years and Bill Huntington the bass player usually plays with Elis Marsalis. Ernie Elly the drummer is another New Orleans musician and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been one of his gigs as well as the other trombonist on the album Lucien Barbarin who also is in Harry Connick Jr's band. Lucien Barbarin and Tom Ebert play individually on respective numbers. Nicholas Payton was only 23 years old at the time of this production bringing his exhuberance with Doc Cheatham's experience and thing gel beautifully throughout the entire album which although restrained it is complete New Orleans with a slight contempary touch.

Standards, classics whatever you may wish to term them this has them in bountiful proportions with the Irving Berlin composition being first " How Deep Is The Ocean" with both trumpeters opening together with Doc doing the first primarily but when he sings his age is apparent but there is no shake he is smooth as silk bringing such a wonderful old time feel to the tune with Nicholas and Doc finishing things off with great polish. "Jeepers Creepers" is given the full Dixie treatment and motors along quite nice with Doc bringing great feel with his vocals and Nicholas hits those high ones with great clarity trading licks with Doc. Jack Maheu not only plays a great solo with his clarinet but just listen to the end of the tune where he is amongst the trumpets and still loud and clear. Hoagy Carmichaels "Stardust" is the first instrumental and given superb treatment with its easy going approach and although you can tell who is who on trumpet you don't care with this great slow tune that just rolls along."Out Of Nowhere", just has the the two trumpets, guitar and bass with Nicholas playing above Doc with his pitch bringing a nice balance where the two of them take turns with solos. "I Cover The Waterfront" the Billy Holiday classic is all instrumental as is "Black And Blue" but both are unmistakable and played superbly. "Jada" is another unforgettable tune with Doc's vocals and when Doc is just repeating Jada in his lines you are hooked in to this delightfully played slow tune. " The World is waiting For The Sunrise" is the album closer and as trad as you could wish for with that skip from Nicholas on his trumpet between Doc's vocals and the clarinet is back and all kick in at the end in that grand New Orleans Dixie sound.

Doc Cheatham around the time of this albums release passed away and do not think that that any sentimentality is part of this review as this is one great album and not some "oh yeah" effort that so many artists release as they're last album and no one wants to tell the truth about. Doc Cheatham has come full circle if you look at his career and returned to the music that he played at the begining but all that experience just shines through and with the the exuhberance of Nicholas Payton this would be one of the best recent contempary Traditional New Orleans albums to appear in the last 14 years.

KERMIT RUFFINS The Barbecue Swingers Live

Live album · 1998 · Original New Orleans Jazz
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Matt
It does not get any more New Orleans than this with Kermit Ruffins and The Barbecue Swingers. Recorded in 1997 and capturing the spirit of his hometown with some original compositions by Kermit and some oldies even including "The Star Spangled Banner". Kermit has been around for a while and started back in 1983 when he co-founded "The Rebirth Brass Band" and then formed the Barbecue Swingers in 1992 who play New Orleans jazz with that sound that only permeates from down there and swing it does. Kermit does not only play trumpet but sings as well and is influenced by Louis Armstrong and Louis Jordan, who could forget "Saturday Night Fish Fry" by Mr Jordan and with Kermit's Barbecue Swingers that is precisely what we get, New Orleans and nothing but. The band is Corey Henry, trombone, Kevin Morris, bass, Emil Vinette, piano, Jerry Anderson, drums and Kermit on trumpet and vocals. Kermit is true and still does funerals and also plays out of the back of trucks,( The wagons are a little out of date) but the spirit is there with that love of his hometown music. Loves to have a chat on stage and the banter is on the recording but adding to the album and not detracting as one really feels the atmosphere on the stage.

"Chicken and Dumplings" with a touch of funk is first and the band just swings with piano, trombone and Kermit's trumpet which he soon uses to launch into a solo with a great result but as they say "thats not all" because Corey comes in on trombone.Of course Emil does a lively little piano solo."Smokin' with Some Barbecue" is second and is a Kermit original and he sings vocals on this one and the solos played by the muscians makes for some great music. What follows could only be called a New Orleans standard " St James Infirmary" and does he give this one some special treatment with that sound on the trumpet created by covering and opening the horn while playing and Kermit sings with a great feel for the tune and really it is one of the highlights. He sings scat in phrases of ha di ha di ha within the song and you are transported to the place.The next four songs are all written by Kermit with "Do the Fat Tuesday" being one of the best of them. "Killing Me Softly With His Song" the Roberta Flack hit has Kermit playing a great version on mute with a great feel for the song. Kermit keeps it just an instrumental and suprisingly Jerry on drums gives us the bridge to picking up the tempo with a quick solo. They even have a touch of swing with the tune.Two more songs remaining but the finisher is "The Star Spangled Banner" played by Kermit with aplomb and a wistfulness with mute on trumpet and he is completely solo with no band.

He really does capture the feel and one entertaining Jazz album was recorded. I have always like him live as Kermit and the band are at their best in that format, with that N'awlins feel

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