JCCD-7000A/B: New Orleans Reborn - album reviews:
Winamop.com—Internet Music Website
Big Bill Bissonnette of Jazz Crusade has sent us a hefty riposte to hurricane Katrina and the nature of life. It's a two CD tribute to New Orleans music drawn from his own rich catalogue.
The black quarters of the city were drowned, flattened or blown away by Katrina. The areas where the well-off lived remain habitable, but Jazz wasn't invented by the rich. A particular music arises in a particular place because of a region's roots, needs, urge to declare itself, know itself and enjoy itself. No community, no music.
Katrina scattered the musicians of New Orleans far and wide. The Marsalis family is financing the building of a new estate to provide musicians with a place to live, but without a community to work in and play in, no valid music is possible. The community has gone. The poor can't afford to return, their houses are demolished and all they owned was smashed to bits or flooded to death.
Big Bill is saying 'This is the music you made. It's alive on record. It can thrive again.' Can it? I don't know. One of the musicians on this compilation, Dr Michael White, was seen on Television lately, telling people in New Orleans that the city won't die. His own unique collection of information about New Orleans and its music was stolen by Katrina but he's insisting that he won't give up. Michael White himself on clarinet, and Gregg Stafford, a trumpeter in the great tradition, driven on by a solid rhythm section, contribute virile, inspiriting jazz to this CD, playing Canal Street Blues, Tell Me Your Dream, The Old Rugged Cross, Canal Street Blues, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. They combine with perfect understanding, and an underlying joy in the music itself gives positive force to a celebration of life despite the worst that hurricanes, corrupt politicians, incompetent administrators and all the sudden invasions of accident can do.
There are many other fine musicians on this CD, playing in bands of varied calibre. They include Sammy Rimington and Brian Carrick from England, Milton Baptiste, the de Paris brothers, Louis Nelson, Sammy Penn and there's even a single track by Messrs Armstrong, Teagarden and Waller romping together on Tiger Rag. One band is rough and ropey, but New Orleans zest and vigour are there to save the day. The best reason for buying this CD is that it bears with it a whole way of life for which music is fundamental. Good luck to it, with my blessings.
Boxell’s Jazz Website—New Zealand
I was struck by two phenomena about Hurricane Katrina when it hit America in 2005; firstly that so many in the world rather than rush to offer aid, assumed that the USA would be able to take care of itself; secondly that most people seemed more concerned at the loss of New Orleans’ heritage than its people.
The world owes New Orleans much for the great musical traditions the city has created and nursed yet, without the people, would this have happened? Surely New Orleans’ musical heritage results from its people, not its buildings or infrastructure? And of all its rich music for me, and most others, it is New Orleans jazz that epitomises the city, and that will never die.
Jazz Crusade has issued this double CD as a celebration of New Orleans’ traditional jazz and as a tribute to the musicians who live in the city and lost homes and possessions in Katrina. The tunes are from other albums released by Jazz Crusade. The styles cover the many shades of traditional jazz with musicians not only from New Orleans, but from all over the States, Canada, England, Wales, Denmark, Norway, Australia, France and maybe others places as well. Like New Orleans itself the music is sometimes smooth, sometimes raucous, sometimes a bit rough, so often rather melancholy, but always moving. If you need a sampler of traditional jazz, especially something that is more American than Euro-centric, then this is the one for you. Be stunned by the beauty of Greg Stafford and Michael White on "The Old Rugged Cross’. Be haunted by Big Bill Bissonnette & his Easy Riders on ‘Black Cat Moan’. Jump for Jesus with Kid Sheik and Brother Cornbread on ‘Down by the Riverside’. March in step with Milton Batiste & Kid Adam Oliver’s La Vida Jazz Band on ‘When the Saints go Marching In’. ‘St Phillip Street Breakdown’? Does this collection have a version for you! These CDs are as vibrant as New Orleans itself and, yes; ‘The South Will Rise Again’, or at least New Orleans will.
Just Jazz—British Traditional Jazz Magazine
This is a compilation, or a sampler CD, of some of the most recognized musicians from New Orleans, and other musicians playing in that genre. It is a treasure chest. Once again, Bill Bissonnette has put together a CD that illustrates many aspects of the music. There will be readers who may already have some of the tracks featured on various LPs and other CDs, but here it is, all together. It is a must for anyone new to the music of New Orleans. The CD provides a snapshot of so many characters that have become our favorites over the years.
Excellent sleeve notes give a potted history of New Orleans music and how the renaissance in the 1960s was led by a small group of record labels. The Bissonnette part in this cannot be underestimated. He provided work and organized numerous tours and concerts with some of the legends, and on his Jazz Crusade label captured many sessions on record. This CD is a selection, using material collected over the years.
You will see from the musicians mentioned that the list is a Who's Who of New Orleans jazz. Generally I am not a great lover of compilation productions, but this CD works for me, because you can dip in and out. Most of the tunes chosen will be known to readers of this magazine, and the men making the music, so with 34 tracks on the two CD set you are bound to find one or two of your favorites. Not too many surprises here, and so many combinations that it seems pointless to pick out individual tracks: nevertheless there is a wonderful I've Got News For You from Cousin Joseph. So good to hear Kid Sheik again with Brother Cornbread, (a real wave of nostalgia of those nights we all had during their UK visits), and Kid Thomas illustrating it's not what you play but how you play it. This really is a good collection of New Orleans Music, and I recommend it.
Jazz Review—Internet Jazz Publication
This is probably the first time that Jazz Crusade has re-issued material originally recorded by the label itself. It’s a landmark project from Big Bill Bissonnette who will soon turn seventy.
Jazz Crusade bills this specially-priced two CD set as “the most amazing New Orleans jazz music offer ever.” That’s pretty close to the truth. New Orleans Reborn includes most of the songs that revivalists fondly cherish. The musicians, with the odd exception, are firmly associated with traditional jazz of the Crescent City as it has been played since being revitalized by Bunk Johnson and George Lewis. In short, this is what fans associate with Preservation Hall.
The music on the first disc offers 17 tracks of “hot jazz” while the second CD features a similar number of songs in the “hymns and blues” category. The hymns are, of course, played by similar New Orleans jazz groups. There are no gospel quartets on these recordings.
This writer was delighted to see the inclusion of “Canal Street Blues” featuring clarinetist Dr. Michael White, trumpeter Gregg Stafford and their international band. In my humble opinion, this is the most exciting track issued on Jazz Crusade in recent years. The track is followed by another barn-burner by Louis Armstong’s crew from a 1938 broadcast featuring Fats Waller, Jack Teagarden and Slick Jones.
The late Tuba Fats & His Chosen Few offer a fiery version of the Preservation Hall standard, “Ice Cream” and the well loved fixture of Jackson Square returns on the second disc with the hymns “Lead Me Savior” and “Amazing Grace.” “Tuba Fats” is missed by all who knew him.
Bill Bissonnette would never issue an album of this stature without including a selection by Wilbur DeParis. He picked a winner with “Mighty Lak a Rose.” The tune features both Wilbur and Sidney DeParis and clarinetist Omer Simeon. Exciting! The music originally appeared on the disc DeParis In Canada.
If the writer’s use of the word “exciting” appears too often for your taste, I apologize. At my age, I’m too lazy to consult the thesaurus to find synonyms like electrifying, moving, rousing, titillating and stirring.
All fans of traditional jazz in the New Orleans style will enjoy this set. It’s a great introduction to the music for jazz fans who have never explored the music of the great revivalists. It’s all here – from reverent hymns to gut- wrenching blues to steaming up-tempo rousers. Space does not permit tune by tune coverage of the music but readers are urged to listen to samples on the label’s website. It’s good jazz!
MadMonk — Internet Music Site
My final review is from a small record label in Connecticut called The Jazz Crusade and is not the usual bill of fare. It is a newly released 2-CD collection of New Orleans Jazz, Hymns and Blues that are performed by many well known musical denizens of the recently damaged Big Easy. Producer Big Bill Bissonnette gets points from the Madmonk for sending a hand written note for either me or my schnauzer to “enjoy this!” Well Bill, I also own a slightly delayed Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier named Doug, who comes from a breeder near the Garden District; and I consider him my resident jazz expert.
The New Orleans Jazz disc kicks off with a Dixieland ditty called “They all Asked For You” by Milton Batiste’s All-star Gumbo Band. This good time tune is pure French Quarter and sounds like something that would blare out from the doors of The Preservation Jazz Hall or Maison Bourbon Jazz Club. “Canal Street Blues” dishes up some delectable clarinet and trombone sweet as a mint Julip. This first disc also includes vintage New Orleans jazz in the form of “Tiger Rag” recorded in the mid 1930’s by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. Big Bill also gets into the act with a selection by his group called “Short Dress Gal of New Orleans” that is fine example of Louisiana swing.
Disc two called “Hymns and Blues” is chocked full of inspirational gems like a smoking live version of “Down by the Riverside” by Kid Sheik and Brother Cornbread that features soulful if not slightly raggedy vocals and crisp, proficient drumming. The gospel classic “Sing Low Sweet Chariot” gets the royal treatment by Greg Stafford and Dr. Michael White, who are also featured on many other songs on this 2-disc set.
In a post Hurricane Katrina world it’s hard not to think of New Orleans as she was before the epic disaster—brimming with history, spooky decadence and musical energy. When I visited Bourbon Street a few years back, the air was electric and it was the best and loudest party I had ever attended. “New Orleans Reborn” offers a superb historical account of the sounds that have made this once enchanting city great, a magical quality they may one day be fully restored. Grade A+.
PopMatters.Com — Internet music publication
"They All Asked for You” opens this set, a nice theme for laid-back lilting New Orleans jazz music in the old style, with comic vocal. This sort of music began to be recorded in the 1940s and has, alas, not been the most obvious presence on more recent supposedly revivalist recordings. The fact that it could be performed again and recorded is encouraging, and hopefully its hometown will hear more like this for years. This is the sort of thing I despaired of when reviewing Shake That Thing (Preservation Hall Recordings), which featured a few of the same musicians nearly three years back. From Jazz Crusade’s Louis Armstrong compilation CD, there’s the jam session “Tiger Rag” with Bud Freeman, tenor, Jack Teagarden, trombone, Fats Waller sounding like his mentor James P. Johnson on piano, and after a drum solo, Armstrong doing the stratospheric thing he’d been doing to rescue big band recordings through the 1930s.
“Ice Cream” comes in (Kenneth Terry and Tuba Fats’ Chosen Few) with an almost brass band sound—raucous vocal, saxophone solo—followed by an equally stomping “Mighty Lak a Rose” recorded live by a band the notes wrongly say included several New Orleanians: but most members of Wilbur de Paris’s New New Orleans Jazz Band of fifty years ago were around in the 1920s and knew what to do. This unofficial recording suggests the album it’s from might be better than most of the group’s studio dates, though this specific item features Wilbur Kirk’s virtuoso banjo rather than the major soloists Sidney de Paris and Omer Simeon. When, on an earlier track, I heard Paul Boehmke’s clarinet solo on “After You’ve Gone”, I was clear he’d been listening to a famous Johnny Dodds recording of number: what gives this set its special strength overall is an attention like that to older models, rather than the nonsensical notion that older New Orleans Music was the sort of stock “Dixieland” tourist sub-music people have been fobbed off with as tourists.
“Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” stands up beautifully, immediately after. Following the gentle start, Milton Batiste solos, supports the tenor soloist, and then takes his trumpet off and solos on mouthpiece, the trombonist then emulating Kid Ory, big and coarsely simple. Sammy Rimington, English scholar of New Orleans music, plays a lovely solo in the style George Lewis forged out of his limitations and more gifted players have gone on to emulate.
Louis Nelson’s trombone is somewhat staccato on a clarinetless recording from the archives where Emanuel Paul solos on tenor and the leader Kid Thomas Valentine’s trumpet has the last word. “St. Louis Blues” by the late Tuba Fats Lacen’s marching band has something of the upbeat post-boogaloo enrichment that the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, which he helped found, and other youngster ensembles brought happily to the fore some years ago.
There’s a little blather about why it was New Orleans that produced this music, paying no heed to the musical facts of French and Italian as well as African-American influences on the music of a city in which there were a lot of military band instruments, generally attributed not to the defeat of the Confederate Army in 1865 (seems rather early, and odd, pace the notes), but disembarkation of bands which played in the Spanish-American war.
“Short Dress Gal” was recorded by Sam Morgan’s dancing band in the 1920s, but the shuffle beat here is more like Louis Prima—though after his vocal the leader Big Bill Bissonette takes a trombone solo pretty close to that on Morgan’s ancient record. BBB plays trombone lead on an “I’m With You Where You Are” by a group headed by him and Jacques Gauthe, whose soprano sax is played in a fetchingly droopy style. There’s plenty of multi-voiced ensemble playing throughout the set, and variations on the relaxed rhythm include an almost gospel piano-driven stomp cum Louis Prima shuffle by Batiste with “King Adam Oliver’s La Vida band”, who all have Dutch names. But surely the sometime Kid Ory sideman George Probert plays soprano saxophone rather than clarinet on a “Dippermouth Blues” with BBB, and a cornetist aptly surnamed Vigorito, and an uncredited tenor saxophonist? And it’s tenor rather than an alto on the “Saints” before the second CD brings on the somewhat controversial Dr. Michael White in the first of a set of mostly sanctified repertoire.
White might be “the amateur clarinetist Wynton Marsalis uses”, but I don’t need to comment on that one in saying he commonly plays well here—and in tune, and not in notably primitivist style—with the solid trumpeter and competent occasional singer Gregg Stafford. Kid Sheik Cola, another from the archives, with unnamed trombonist and Cornbread Thomas pitching individually on clarinet, phrases his singing as if he was playing a part on trumpet.
Though “Old Rugged Cross” was a George Lewis vehicle, on his performance sampled here Dr. White commendably makes no effort to sound like Lewis, but stays in broad/toned middle register, conventionally in tune and quite at odds with what his detractors claim. Brian Carrick does a more Lewis thing on “Lord, Lord, Lord”, where the altoist Darryl Hall sings before Vigorito leads a drivingly righteous ensemble. On a waltz-time “Amazing Grace”, trombone takes the melody for a few choruses, then tenor. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” has a plaintive start from Stafford and White before the trumpeter sings with lively rhythm support. “Nearer My God to Thee” has two clarinets (Lewis style, both) with rhythm, not exactly hi-fi.
On “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” the duo is Carrick’s clarinet (a la Lewis) and Freddy Lonzo’s trombone. Both take fetching solos; as does the pianist. There’s more touching sanctified Stafford-White, who return after Tuba Fats’ Chosen Few have delivered a poignant and initially tenor-saxophone-led “Lead Me, Saviour”, on which the late lamented leader also delivers a solo before the band comes in rousingly.
Now Dr. White delivers some filigree stuff before harmonising with the muted Stafford in the King Oliver “Riverside Blues”, and following a piano solo and nice muted trumpet—with a riff from Louis Armstrong and some interplay. Unlike anything else here is Cousin Joe’s “I’ve Got News for You”, the author of such great lines as “wouldn’t give a blind sow an acorn, . . . a crippled crab a crutch”, singing at a live gig to his own cheerful non-virtuoso piano in E flat. I know it’s E-flat, as that was the only key he played in.
Things are rounded off with, first, Paul Boehmke playing soprano on a “Black Cat Moan” with BBB’s trombone and Bob Shallue taking a piano solo. The tune sounds 1920s-ish and has some unusual bowed bass soloing from Jim Tutunjian. BBB and Rimington (Lewising again) set up a gentle trot on “St. Phillips Street Breakdown” before Boehmke on tenor and notably Stafford on trumpet join them (with a change in rhythm section) for an “Aunt Hager’s (sic) Children Blues” that used to be Aunt Hagar’s. Bill Sinclair, Emil Mark, and John Russell, piano and bass and drums respectively, support them as well as the various other players on other titles. A good wake-up, this one at the end. I should add that the large page on this set located on Jazz Crusade’s website gives admirably full personnels (as the 2 CD set’s paperwork does). You’d expect praise of these sets on the website of the company which produced them, but life would be sweeter if more and larger concerns emulated Jazz Crusade’s attention to detail and being informative. Bill Bissonnette is to be congratulated, and this is a commendable set that will, I hope, point some people in interesting directions. Rating: 8 out of 10.
Robert R. Calder
All Music Guide—Internet Jazz website
To celebrate the legacy of New Orleans, and the Jazz Crusade label in general, trombonist/producer Big Bill Bissonnette put together a two-CD set of highlights from his catalog. The first CD is titled "New Orleans Jazz" while the second focuses on "Hymns & Blues." The earliest selection is a broadcast from 1938 of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, and Jack Teagarden teaming up for "Tiger Rag." There is a performance by the Wilbur DeParis band in the '50s and a few selections from the '60s, but otherwise the music dates from the '80s and '90s. Although New Orleans Reborn is a sampler, it's is a particularly well-conceived reissue without a dull selection among all 34 of them, showing that traditional New Orleans jazz is still very much alive today. The only minus to this set is that the personnel listings (which are only partly included above) are microscopic and will be impossible for many to read; plus the recording dates are missing. But musically, there is a great deal of excitement to be heard, and even many of the hymns are swung hard. Recommended.
Mississippi Rag - American Jazz Publication
Bill Bissonnette, while based in Connecticut, is well known to Canadian jazz fans, not only for his Jazz Crusade recording label, but also for his band-leading, talent spotting and concert promoting. He has coordinated several New Orleans jazz concerts in Toronto in recent years and introduced many interesting New Orleans musicians to our audiences, who have heard him leading all-star bands on both trombone and drums, in conjunction with the Toronto Jazz Society.
I have just obtained Bill's latest CD, and I have had several rewarding hours listening to it. It is a double album production titled New Orleans Reborn. Thirty of the 34 tracks are from Jazz Crusade releases over the years. The scope and variety of New Orleans jazz and jazz musicians on display is mind boggling! There are jazzers from the past and present and jazzers of the future. It must surely be the finest and most comprehensive parade of New Orleans jazz to hit the hustings in many years! The names of the stars are too numerous to relate here, but I urge you to visit Bill's Jazz Crusade website and take a look at the talent on display. Bill's URL is www.jazzcrusade.com. New Orleans Reborn would get my vote for the most important jazz recording of the year - a colossal piece of work by Bill Bissonnette. Check it out, I kid you not!
Kings Jazz Review—British Jazz Publication
Prior to the Hurricane Katrina devastation of the Crescent City, New Orleans, Louisiana, recognised by fans in many outwith countries of the USA, as being “the birthplace of jazz” their recent assortment of jazz music and the progression of it was beginning to gain accent of a greater prominence on its indigenous talent, or indeed, it has already done so, than what was then presently on offer coming from its birth place.
It seemed to me on watching the phenomenal, devastating scenes on the BBC TV of just what such a powerful whirlwind force had brought down in its wake upon New Orleans, causing it, as was reported, to have 80% of the city area underwater (see BBC photo of Bourbon Street) and, apart from the human suffering, enormous loss of homes to jazz musicians and everyone else thus affected with much awful mind-boggling miseries and, lose of musical instruments, sheet music, records, tape-decks and, all the other kinds of digital and other up-to-date types of jazz recordings destroyed.
It felt as if America had shunned its national music (which it is) cherishing it at a rank that is very low-down in the pits, smiting with the same tarred-brush, the UK government an over dearth of Arts Council grants support for our kind of jazz here, and the BBC for its lack of promotional viewing recordings of it.
New Orleans, Dixieland and Traditional jazz is a pillar-stone of music and the arts entertainment business. It’s now time for a change by the most powerful nation in the world to recognise where its musical priorities lie, and influence us more over here in the UK in this regard.
I have every confidence that new, New Orleans seeds planted will bring forth jazz blossoming musicality shoots to reign worldly supreme again.
Big Bill has produced here a marathon double-album of thirty-four unique recordings covering a broad spectrum of tunes pertinent to New Orleans in tribute to the Crescent City’s rebirth following a horrific, gigantic tornado descending on, and, ripping through it, razing a large section of the City to the ground.
The tune I’ll say for once, which stands out for me is I’m With You Where You Are – What ! – has he not listened, I hear say, to the Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Fats Waller, number – Why not? The tune referred to is played at breakneck speed in a manner I believe that nobody else can match – also we’re looking to the future, but the pick can be the total.
Please read the following words in quotes as one would when speaking their language to be able to understand what I mean by them in saying that one should listen to the complete CD#1 New Orleans Jazz tracks with relish first.
CD #2 Hymns & Blues – I’m not brave enough to make a choice selection – that is up to you to do so. Some tear jerking will no doubt be happening in the process. Simply sit back and enjoy at the marvel on how great they all are – an art, affecting a sense of beauty.
I find it inconceivable for anyone NOT to concur with the opening Bissonnette sentiment on this, his compilation – good for you Big Bill.
Some CD reviews for albums with tracks contained in this set :
JCCD-3078: Tuba Fats' Chosen Few Jazzmen
JazzReview.com - Internet Publication
I’ve had the opportunity of reviewing almost thirty CDs from Big Bill Bissonnette’s Jazz Crusade label over the past few years. About a year ago, I raved about the Gregg Stafford/Dr. Michael White release titled Praying & Swaying and my praises were entirely honest. Now I find myself in the same position once again. Bill feels that this new album by Tuba Fats’ Chosen Few at least equals the quality of the Stafford / White disk. An hour after the CD arrived in my mailbox, I emailed Bill Bissonnette and told him he had a knockout recording.
- Richard Bourcier
Boxell's Jazz Website
I don't think that I have raved on this much before about a CD, and certainly not about an American traditional jazz CD. One of the 50 most important jazz recordings ever, regardless of genre? I think that BBB is guilty of making an understatement: and that from an Englishman talking about an American! Not only does this CD teach you your jazz history, it provides you with huge entertainment and countless pleasure.
- Geoff Boxell
I didn’t tell you anything yet about the music on this CD. I could say it in one word: MAGNIFICENT! Is it traditional New Orleans jazz? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt! At the same time it sounds like these young New Orleans musicians are REINVENTING the music.
- Marcel Joly
AMG **** REVIEW - U. S. Jazz Guide
One of the vocal gems is "Ice Cream," a favorite of Willie Humphrey with the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Society. Here it's done in the gruff style of trumpet player Kenneth "Little Milton" Terry. There's some excellent alto sax work on this cut by Darryl "Lil' Jazz" Adams.
- Dave Nathan
Cadence Magazine - U. S. A.
Raw and raucous, the Tuba Fats Chosen Few swings its collective butt off. A particular pleasure is listening to the sax section: Adams and Callier keep the R&B quotient high. The recording benefits from the Audiophile Studio's polish, creating a nice soundstage, with a delicious punch to drummer French's every kick. Fats' dextrous, subtle tuba is heard clearly in the mix, while pianist Kaiser is perfect, playing a modicum of notes with a maximum of finesse.
- Larry Nei
JCCD-3032: Wilbur DeParis - Live in Canada 1956
What a marvelous compact disc this is! The DeParis band was deservedly popular around this time and the group that went to Stratford was really together. Omer Simeon sounds wonderful and plays many good things, but “Shreveport Stomp” is exceptional. As usual Sidney’s cornet playing is of very high quality. He was one of the unsung best. This band is so good, it even makes the “Saints” sound palatable. The two guests would be welcome anywhere. Willie the Lion Smith does two solo numbers. Jimmy Rushing sings with the whole band and does a couple of his specialties. Good to have them in this setting. The sound from the Canada concert is excellent. Here is one to add to your list, especially if you like the DeParis brothers.
- Russ Chase
JCCD-3051: “Down Home Music”- Dr. Michael White, Gregg Stafford
Victory Review - U. S. A. Magazine
Thank you Jelly Roll Morton, Thank you Joe Oliver and the Creole Jazz Band and the many other New Orleans Musicians who paved the way for folks like Gregg Stafford, trumpet/vocal and Dr Michael White. Their newest musical endeavor is delightful. Humor, grit and soul lace this album. Stafford's wry vocals on "Back Porch" are an example of musical courting at its best. "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" steps out of the realms of swarmy standards and becomes a meditation. Dr White, leader of the New Orleans' based Original Liberty Jazz Band, can seriously swing. With the definitions of jazz expanding every minute, traditional jazz is alive and well and living in New Orleans.
- LaVon Hardison
JCCD-3102: Of A Sunday Morn in Old New Orleans
Just JazzBritish Jazz Magazine
There have been many jazz albums of religious music recorded, but none that I can recall featuring two clarinets. 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.
- Bert Thompson
JCCD-3053: Gregg Stafford Meets Brian Carrick - Streets of the City-
AMG **** Review - U. S. Jazz Guide
Big Bill Bissonnette’s quest to maintain the appeal and vigor of New Orleans traditional jazz by recording major practitioners of this music on his Jazz Crusade label continues. Not only is he successful in making this important music available, but he is equally successful in garnering some of the best players in the world to perform it. And "world" is an especially accurate descriptor for this album. The two front-line stars Gregg Stafford and Brian Carrick come from different countries; the former is from New Orleans and born into the tradition, and the second is one of the the top traditional jazz performers in the U.K. Different nationalities notwithstanding, this traditional jazz has become universal, bringing together likeminded musicians irrespective of their geographic derivation.
- Dave Nathan
JCCD-3095: Milton Batiste - "The Gentle Giant of New Orleans Jazz"
Cadence Magazine - U. S. A.
The New Orleans strain is amended by an energetic dose of rhythm and blues and crowd-pleasing vocals. Batiste, who died in 2001, had played with Professor Longhair before joining Harold Dejan's Olympia Brass Band, and this 1993 concert finds him in enthusiastic form. The rough-hewn enthusiasm is contagious. Batiste's trumpet work is assured and frisky, and the backing band, Adam Olivier's La Vida New Orleans Jazz Band, catches the spirit. Fans of Batiste will welcome these issues.
- Michael Steinman
JCCD-3002: Kid Sheik & Brother Cornbread in Copenhagen 1974
West Coast Rag: U.S.A.
Two New Orleans veterans, trumpeter Kid Sheik and clarinetist Joseph "Brother Cornbread" together. Sheik plays a forthright lead. This may be the only CD on the market that features Thomas. His playing is absolutely wonderful. He has a pure round tone, imagination, agility and a logical sense of solo construction. His husky, heartfelt vocalizing also is appealing. Fortunately, he is well miked on all tracks. If I were someone who had not collected Thomas on LP, I would not want to be without this excellent example of his work.
- Tex Wyndham
JCCD-3004/5: A Jazz Gumbo
Victory Review - U.S.A. Magazine
Clarinetist Sammy Rimington is heard on every track, a pleasant plus. Big Bill Bissonnette plays his trombone on seven cuts’. As band followed band in this festival, it sometimes took a few bars to get the group in the spotlight properly underway. But listening to Milton Batiste singing They All Asked for You and blowing his trumpet one doesn't worry about the ragged bits. They are few, and the bright spots are many. If you like your New Orleans jazz a little raw and a lot lusty, you should enjoy this stomping session.
- John R. Elwood
The music has plenty of spirit and in most cases is quite successful. Trumpeter Milton Batiste (from the Olympia Brass Band) pushes the ensembles on some of the songs and sings the humorous They All Asked for You. Lady Be Good is given an explosively driving treatment. Rimington's clarinet and alto solos throughout the happy sessions demonstrate that he has grown through the years (this version of St. Phillip St. Breakdown is a real gem). The rhythm sections are excellent. Paul Boehmke contributes some effective tenor solos and Sadie Goodson-Colar (who is in her Nineties) plays piano very well. Overall, this is one of the more exciting New Orleans jazz releases of 1993.
JCCD--3089/90: Darryl Adams - "Runnin' Wild" in Toronto
JazzReview - Internet Magazine
Darryl Adams is a strong player with an equally strong sense of humor. His solo on St. Phillips Street Breakdown goes a long way to prove my point. This session was recorded before a live audience in Canada for the Classic Jazz Society of Toronto in March of 2003. The concert also offered the first Canadian appearance of Brian Carrick, one of Britain's finest clarinetists in the George Lewis tradition. It's a treat to hear Connecticut's Fred Vigorito on cornet. Fred has been with Big Bill Bissonnette's various bands since 1964. I've always admired his playing which echoes both Satchmo and Kid Thomas. Vigorito is a tireless improviser with ideas to spare. Good stuff! Running Wild In Toronto is recommended listening for anyone who enjoys classic jazz.
- Richard Bourcier
JCCD-3079: Sweet Mary Cat & their North American Friends: Time to Dance
Mississippi Rag [U.S.A.]
The music is excellent whether you're cutting a rug or standing in front of the bandstand digging the sounds. The program is varied and surprisingly free of the dixieland warhorse repertoire that has been recorded again and again. Tunes like "Bugle Boy March" are not in the library of every tradixieland band you're going to hear today. Tunes like "The Bells of St. Mary's," while familiar to most people, have seldom if ever entered the books of jazz bands. And why the blazes hasn't every trad band in the whole wide world got Kid Ory's old theme song, "I'm With You Where You Are," in their book?
This is a great jazz dance band and if they ever come to a ballroom near your home (that's if there are any ballrooms left near your home), get out and dance and/or sit this one out and just listen. Until then, you need this music in your collection.
- Joe H. Klee
Just Jazz - British Jazz Magazine
I am pleased to say that they play their music with a 'bit of balls', which is something lacking in the majority of bands in the UK and Europe playing this style. Full marks to the lads on this recording (sorry Marie, you are an honorary lad) for obviously having a ball when they recorded these CDs.
- Peter Lay
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