The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3063: Swayin’ & Prayin’ Vol. 2 “Blue Horizon”-
Dr. Michael White, Gregg Stafford

Personnel: Gregg Stafford [tp,v], Dr. Michael White [cl], Reide Kaiser [pn], Emil Mark [bn], Colin Bray [sbs], Taff Lloyd [dm]

Songs: Mahogany Hall Stomp, The Old Rugged Cross, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Blue Horizon, Sing On 1 & 2, Mr Jelly Lord, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, Does Jesus Care?, Decatur Street Special, Farewell to Storyville, Lord Lord Lord, Kansas City Man Blues.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3063: Swayin’ & Prayin’ Vol. 2 “Blue Horizon”-
Dr. Michael White, Gregg Stafford

All About - Internet

Volume two continues the exploration of the relationship between New Orleans traditional jazz and old-time hymns y two of the foremost practitioners of the art of traditional jazz: Dr. Michael White and Gregg Stafford. That there should be such a relationship is no surprise. A major task of traditional jazz and New Orleans brass bands was to play at funerals and other religious-oriented events. There's also a similar amount of enthusiasm associated with their playing. The hymnals on the set are matched with some of the more famous entries in the traditional jazz songbook. The result is a most entertaining and relaxed session by top-flight jazz musicians, irrespective of style. White's clarinet has a less woody feel to it, closer to Johnny Dodds than to Barney Bigard. As a native of New Orleans and veteran of many a Crescent City-type jam session, he is blessed with whatever it is that makes jazz artists coming from this city so footloose and exciting. Stafford is no less blazing with his trumpet - muted and open. He also vocalizes in a rough and ready manner on such cuts as "Lord, Lord, Lord." This is a happy hymn, as the group swings like mad on this cut. The same cast of characters who were on volume one join White and Stafford for this follow-up set. They all get plenty of solo time to show off their traditional jazz wares. Emil Mark's banjo is very prominent on such cuts as "Mahogany Hall Stomp" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." Kaiser, Lloyd, and Bray also make their presence known in a most agreeable manner. This first-class traditional jazz CD is recommended.
- Dave Nathan - Internet

When I reviewed in this magazine volume 1 of the 'Praying & Swaying' session I said that I was very much looking forward to volume 2. And here it is, just as captivating as expected!
Michael White and Gregg Stafford are both playing in Preservation Hall in New Orleans but, as far as I know, not in the same band. This is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity because the combination of these two great artists is pure magic. Well, they have much in common. They are about the same age, they both learned their trade in the marching bands, they both had the opportunity to play together with some of the pioneers of this music and they both believe in the powerful tradition they are continuing. We would feel much more reassured about the future of this music in New Orleans if there were more young musicians like them.
After the long review of the first CD of this session there is not much left to say. Like in volume 1 there is a lot of great ensemble playing here. Both horn players are strong individuals and immediately recognisable. Like their predecessors they developed a very personal style within the framework of traditional New Orleans music. The rhythm section matches the frontline in excellence. Let me just mention some highlights. "The Old Rugged Cross" has exquisite low register clarinet and captivating muted trumpet. Reide's piano solo expresses a lot with few notes. "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" is exposed in slow tempo by trumpet and clarinet only. Gregg changes the tempo to gently rocking with his fine vocal. Listen to the great drum accents behind the piano solo. The Sidney Bechet tune "Blue Horizon" is a showcase for Michael's moving blues playing. It's difficult to say which one of the two takes of "Sing On" is the most exciting with the marvellous fireworks by the two horns. It's good to hear "Farewell To Storyville" (aka "Good Time Flat Blues") again, it's not often enough played today. It has delicious singing by Gregg and a short but lovely clarinet solo. The first two choruses of "Kansas City Man Blues" are by trumpet, clarinet and piano only. Listen to the beautiful bowed bass in the following choruses! The two Toronto tracks by Reide Kaiser and Colin Bray are excellent.If you have volume 1, I'm
sure you will want this one too. If you don't, get them both!
- Marcel Joly

Cadence Magazine - U. S. A.

There is a level of authenticity here that washes over you from the start. Each member of the sextet plays with gusto, in the spirit of, and using the language of, classic New Orleans jazz. On Mahogany Hall Stomp, the leaders, clarinetist Dr. Michael White and trumpeter Gregg Stafford, declare their excitement directly. But listen to the ballad, The Old Rugged Cross, or Sidney Bechet's Blue Horizon; there's a rare level of conversation, of kinship. Often a collective line will spring into a bold, solo statement. The cooperative statements are, in fact, productive launching pads for stimulating solos - Kansas City Man Blues, for one, as White springs up. This is simply a fine session. Stafford's vocal pieces Lord Lord Lord and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, to name two, are husky, robust, and thorougly entertaining. That is this session's abiding characteristic: this is enormously entertaining music.
- Greg Buium - Internet Jazz Radio

The title of this CD set is misleading. From the title alone you might imagine that you are in for a session of dirge-like religious music. Nothing could be further from the truth because this is very hot and happy New Orleans jazz played by two of the Crescent City's leading men.
It's exciting, full of great lyrical playing with both Stafford (trumpet) and White (clarinet) showing that not only do they have distinctive styles - i.e. they copy no-one - they also have 'something to say'. In other words what they play is always worth hearing - it's like listening to a good storyteller whose words and voice itself are gripping - an experience you want to go on because its so absorbing that times just drifts by.
Give this CD a try .
- Brian Harvey

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