McLaughlin, Kjeld Brandt [clarinet] John van Buuren [banjo] Rachel Hamilton
[piano] Craig Goeldner [string bass]
He Leads Me, Sometimes My Burden, Near the Cross, In the Sweet Bye &
Bye, In the Upper Garden, Just A Little While to Stay Here, Last Mile
of the Way, Nearer My God to Thee, Sing On, Does Jesus Care?, At the Cross,
Down by the Riverside, His Eye Is On the Sparrow, I Shall Not Be Moved,
In the Garden, Lord Lord Lord, When I Move to the Sky, Royal Telephone
Of A Sunday Morn in Old New Orleans
Jazz Podium—German jazz magazine
The CD “On a Sunday Morn' in New Orleans” is including live performances from the year 2004. Here Kjeld Brandt joins his congenial colleague, Australian clarinettist Jack McLaughlin, both playing a metal clarinet. The Matinee Programme, recorded in front of a spellbound audience at the well-known Fritzel's Club, serve as a musical prayer. Tunes like “Where He Leads Me”, “In the Upper Garden”, or “Nearer My God to Thee”, unite both clarinettists in an intensely intimate interaction, decently supported by the Australian pianist Rachel Goeldner, her husband Craig on bass, as well as the banjoist John van Buuren.
Just JazzBritish Jazz Magazine
As everyone who loves Traditional jazz and has visited New
Orleans recently knows, good jazz, like a good man, is hard to find. One
of the few places where one can find it is Fritzel's Bar on Bourbon Street,
especially during the French Quarter Festival. However, one would hardly
expect to find church music played there on a Sunday morning, perhaps,
but that is precisely what happened last year - April 18,2004, to be exact
- when Jack Mdaughlin, from Australia, and Kjeld Brandt, from Denmark,
got together to record an album of hymns and gospel songs. Both are clarinet
players and are most ably accompanied here by John Van Buuren (banjo),
Rachel Hamilton (piano), and Craig Goeldner (bass), all also from Australia.
The applause one hears comes from a small audience of aficionados who
heard of the recording plans and turned up to partake of a rare experience.
Like so many clarinet players who play Traditional jazz, both Mdaughlin
and Brandt were initially inspired by George Lewis, and also like most
- or, at least, the better ones - they ultimately found their own voices.
Lewis was a trail-blazer back in 1954 when he recorded the classic 'Jazz
at Vespers' album on the Empirical label.
Since then there have been many jazz albums of religious music recorded,
but none that I can recall featuring two clarinets. (Through overdubbing,
George Lewis played a duet with himself on one track, on the 'George Lewis
Plays Hymns' LP, by his trio, issued on the Milneburg label, in 1964.)
Here we are treated to loving renditions of these tunes, the two clarinettists
creating exquisite harmonies in their duets as they listen to each other
carefully, improvising, most of the time quite successfully -no small
feat, given the fact that they get together so seldom, living as they
do on almost opposite sides of the globe. Their joint appearances are
limited usually to those they make once a year at the French Quarter Festival
in New Orleans. There is no attempt to make this a 'cutting' contest -
each plays for the benefit of the other, not trying to see how many notes
he can squeeze into eight or sixteen bars or how he might 'top' the other.
Rather, it is a case of which note or notes will best fit or complement
what the other is doing. The result is an unusual feast for the ears of
beautiful clarinet playing in the 'old New Orleans-style', one seldom
heard these days, with its hallmark vibrato. On a few tracks Mclaughlin
plays an Eb metal clarinet, the kind favoured by clarinettists in the
old New Orleans brass bands, but most of the time he stays with the metal
Bb Albert system instrument. Brandt also plays a metal clarinet, but his
is a double-bell Boehm system instrument, made of 99% silver.
While most, if not all, of the tunes on this CD will be familiar, their
renditions are refreshingly different. There is a quiet beauty to them
that is not often to be found. This unusual CD should not appeal only
to those who play clarinet; it will also provide an hour and a quarter
of enjoyment to anyone who simply loves good music, period. Those who
took the trouble to rise early enough to be in Fritzel's Bar in New Orleans
at that ungodly hour of 10:30 a.m. that Sunday were fortunate, indeed.
We are equally fortunate in having this recording of that morning's proceedings,
thanks to Big Bill Bissonnette, owner of Jazz Crusade Records.
- Bert Thompson
Kings Jazz ReviewBritish
Internet Jazz Magazine
The Marcel Joly three paged liner notes lets us know inter alia that
Jack McLaughlin lives in Australia, that Kjeld Brandt in Demark, giving
details of the types of metal clarinets that they both own and play, that
having been inspired by the clarinet playing of New Orleansian clarinettist
George Lewes, and that they first met at a Bude jazz festival in England
is perhaps inevitable that the seeds of staging an "Of A Sunday Morn
In Olde New Orleans" concert were first planted.
It was to be four-fifths of a decade later that the two metal clarinet
players, whilst attending the 2004 French Quarter Festival in New Orleans
arranged to meet at 10.20am at Fritzels Bar in Bourbon Street to
record an album, this one, of hymns and spirituals, which happened to
have been attended by a small enthusiastic crowd that got wind in the
air of it happening so went along there to listen to them.
As I listened to Just A Little While To Stay Here, Bye & Bye, Down
By The Riverside, Lord, Lord, Lord (Youve Been Good to Me), four
tunes on the Morn CD as I recall were also on my "Jazz
At Vespers" George Lewis and his Ragtime Band LP that was recorded
at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Oxford, Ohio, USA on the 21st of February
1954, issued by arrangement with David Jones and Empirical Records, when
at the time, the Reverend Alvin Kershaw was rector of the church. I could
not recall how over a particular two-bars passage on the Saints, that
the George Lewis clarinet was so awe-inspiring.
I was enthralled by the Kjeld Brandt playing on the Jazz Crusade double
album "The French Preservation New Orleans Jazz Band" so was
looking forward to hearing him again on this JCCD-3102 Bissonnette CD,
and his playing beautifully exampled on Nearer My God To Thee low register
featuring and through other selected tunes.
Making a recording with a lead metal clarinet duo in informality settings
would have been a daunting feat for anyone to undertake, yet, due to their
professionalism and excellent performance shown, in the main, on this
their "Of A Sunday Morn In Olde New Orleans" album, there was
nothing to foresee in such an adventure, by their opinion undoubtedly,
that would fash them one bit in so doing.
The banjoist is the central controlling focus in the recordings with some
lovely piano pieces throughout prominently notable on Does Jesus Care?
and In The Garden but it is the lead instruments that command greatly,
but sadly they lack a well needed bass sound for warming tonality, and
compensatory acoustic imperfections, fundamentals warranted for a propensity
for setting very high standards.
It must be universally difficult out of the 18 grace and beauty tracks
to pick out a favourite. It is memories of years ago since I last heard
this very loveable His Eye Is On The Sparrow tune played, but with sorrow
the overstretching exuberance made the joy of hearing it here - less so.
The eighteen tracks are all very special, turning this "Of A Sunday
Morn In Olde New Orleans" album of hymns and spirituals into an historic
creation of evolutionary scope, novel of reeds instrumentation, furthering
the concept much beyond the current boundaries of traditional jazz music.
- Ian King
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