The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3084: "Jam Session In Connecticut - Vol. 1"

Personnel: Fred Vigorito [cornet], Ron Going [clarinet], Jerry Zigmont [trombone], Bill Sinclair [piano], Emil Mark [banjo], Arnie Hyman [string bass], Big Bill Bissonnette [drums]

Songs: I Want to Be Happy, Love Letters In the Sand, Mexicali Rose, Jada, Corrine Corrina, Lonesome & Sorry, Oh Dem Golden Slippers, I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket, Pretend, Sil Vous Plait

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JCCD-3084: "Jam Session In Connecticut - Vol. 1" - Internet Publication

Anyone who is into New Orleans traditional jazz is familiar with Big Bill Bissonnette. Bill's interest in the music began early and, like many others, he was influenced by Gene Krupa's "drumnastics" and led a swing trio while in high school. During the summer of 1955, Bissonnette discovered pure New Orleans jazz at Jimmy Ryan's in New York. The band included the DeParis brothers, Omer Simeon and drummer Zutty Singleton. The New Orleans style captivated the teenager and was to become a major part of his life.
Bissonnette took up the trombone in the early sixties and studied with Big Jim Robinson while living in the Crescent City for a short time. Upon his return home to Connecticut, he and some like-minded friends started the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club and a band called The Easy Riders. The club began to bring in New Orleans talent for their local concerts beginning with the George Lewis band. Other denizens of Bourbon Street came up as single acts to play with the Easy Riders including Kid Thomas, Emmanuel Paul and the British clarinetist, Sammy Rimington. Others followed and Bissonnette's personal "jazz crusade" was born.
This CD brings together a number of Connecticut musicians who were important parts of a series of Big Bill's bands over the years. Fred Vigorito was a cornetist in the early sixties version of the Easy Riders and has operated his own Galvanized Jazz Band in Connecticut since 1971. The G.J.B. is a favorite on the festival circuit and one of the most popular jazz bands in the state. It was the visit of Ron Going to his home state, that inspired this record session. The clarinetist is now a part of the California scene and plays with the Gremoli Jazz Band. He studied with the late Barney Bigard. Jerry Zigmont is an exciting trombonist who has been a regular part of Woody Allen's band in New York since 1996. He puts in frequent guest appearances with the Galvanized Jazz Band and has been featured with Doc Cheatham and Percy Humphrey. Bill Sinclair was the original pianist with the Easy Riders and has appeared with several other Bissonnette and Vigorito groups. I've always been impressed with Sinclair's free and easy style and I'm delighted to hear him on this CD. Emil Mark began his music career as a folk banjoist playing the coffee house circuit back in the late sixties. As a "sit in" player at the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club, Emil developed a taste for the New Orleans style and since the mid nineties has been on a significant number of important recordings for Jazz Crusade. His appearances with Sweet Mary Cat, Tuba Fats, Gregg Stafford, Jacques Gauthe and Dr. Michael White are memorable and fine examples of how a tenor banjo should be played. Arnie Hyman is a veteran bassist who has been a part of the famed Red Onions Jazzband for years. Hyman has played with an enviable list of jazz stars including Omer Simeon, Max Kaminsky, George Lewis, Wild Bill Davison, James P. Johnson and the list never ends.
The studio session is informal and enthusiastic. Bissonnette's drumming echoes the sound of the late Sammy Penn. The "Penn" accents create a nice level of excitement to unusual tunes such as the old Ink Spots favorite, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, Love Letters In The Sand and Mexicali Rose. Vigorito's cornet shines throughout the CD but Tishomingo Blues is special. The tune really captures the spirit of some vintage sessions. The treatment in 3/4 time given to the hymn, In The Garden, is enhanced by Ron Going's beautiful solo.
The selection of material is great and it's nice to see I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket recorded in this modern age. It brought back fond memories of a 78-rpm version by Chick Bullock's Levee Loungers. The Connecticut gang does a bang-up job on the Irving Berlin song from 1936. The band takes on an uncharacteristic item in the form of Nat Cole's 1951 hit, Pretend. Some creative piano by Bill Sinclair and an inventive frontline turn an "ordinary" song into nine very interesting minutes.
The Connecticut reunion sparked an enjoyable swinging session. The guys know each other well and it shows up in the recording. Have a listen at Jazz Crusade's web page. While you are on the site, you should check out Bissonnette's book, aptly titled "The Jazz Crusade." The 340 page volume is a revealing document covering the author's immersion in the style, musicians and traditions of New Orleans. It's crammed with photos, documents and entertaing personal experiences. My copy gets frequent use as a refernce volume.
- Richard Bourcier

Just Jazz Magazine - England

JCCD-3084/85: Jam Session In Connecticut Vol. 1 & 2
Some readers may look at the line-up and dismiss these CDs out of hand, saying that they do not know any of the musicians, except for Big Bill Bissonnette. Do noy be fooled by the unknown, these guys can play, and the tracks on these CDs prove they can play New Orleans style jazz with plenty of joie de vivre.
Cornetist Fred Vigorito is a little gem, and I recall he used to be with Bill's Easy Rider's Jazz Band [probably still is] back in the sixties. He was a useful player then, but is even better nowadays. Good lead lead cornet with a broad range of musical ideas. He demonstrates this by leading the band through a more than interesting selection of tunes, including a very tasteful Lonesome & Sorry and a lively version of San Antonio Rose.
A Southern Californian band known as Gremoli supplies the clarinettist, Ron Going, who I know via e-mail conversations, and hearing him on a set with the Pontchartrain Owls in Fritzel's on Bourbon Street this year, is very much influenced by Albert Burbank. It is his spikey Creole tone that interweaves very nicely with Fred's cornet and the trombone of Jerry Zigmont. Jerry is known to me through a session he did with Sammy Rimington and the famous Doc Cheatham. Stylistically, he follows in the tradition of Kid Ory with a bit of Trummy Young thrown in for good measure.
Banjoist Emil Mark has been an associate of Big Bill Bissonnette since the 90's, but they have known each other for much longer through their connections with the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club. Another associate of Bill's is pianist Bill Sinclair who was with the Easy Riders JB back in its formative years, and appears on all those wonderful Capt John Handy recordings of the December Band.
The final catalyst to a wondereful recording is bassist Arnie Hyman, who literally has played with a "Who's Who of Jazz." In fact he first met Sammy Rimington when he stayed with Ken Colyer in the early sixties while on vacation. His credentials speak for themselves.
So, there you have it in a nutshell, and one would glean from my words that I am fully in favor of this particular session being released for you all to hear. Don't just take my word for it, other have heard it being played in my car, and also found it good listening material. Recommended.
- Peter Lay

Jazz Journal - British Jazz Magazine

The photos show that this is a band of ageing white men and the sound tells us that this is a tribute to an earlier generation of ageing black men, specifically those who established Preservation Hall as a world-famous venue. That sound requires a very relaxed approach to rhythm and rather sparse contributions from the brassmen though the clarinet has a more expansive role. Perhaps because this was not a regular group the rhythm section's approach is not entirely^con-sistent, the banjo player's beat sounding rather stiff beside the more flexible drumming of producer and label-owner Bissonnette.
The front line fare better. Going certainly sounds like a New Orleans player (though his lower register pitching is sometimes wayward) and the brass players are both excellent. Zigmont's work is simple and punchy but very expressive while trumpeter Vigorito provides the greatest justification for releasing this music on CD. His hot playing, somewhere between the styles of Kid Thomas and Wild Bill Davison, is a delight on every track, whether open or muted, and he surely deserves to be widely recognised. Yet if you want to know any more about him you'll have to buy Volume One as Volume Two has only the second part of the notes, with no information about Vigorito at all.
- Graham Colombe

Jazz Gazette - Internet Jazz Publication

During the 1960's, The Easy Riders Jazz band from Connecticut was one of the leading New Orleans style jazz bands in the USA. Big Bill Bissonnette was the leader and inspirer of the band and together they toured and recorded with many New Orleans musicians, such as George Lewis, Kid Thomas, John Handy, Jim Robinson, Kid Sheik, Sing Miller, Sammy Penn and many others.
I was fortunate enough to meet most of the members when they came to Europe at the invitation of the now defunct and then very successful Jazz Mâcon Club of Mâcon, France. First came Big Bill and Bill Sinclair and some years later Fred Vigorito and Dick Griffith. In 1990, while staying at Bill Sinclair's place in Trumbull, Connecticut, I met again Griff and his wife, Sweetie Pie, and also Mouldy Dick Mc Carthy and his wife, Fran. Listening to these guys, telling stories about musicians and jobs, like when 'Mayor' Griffith handed over the keys of the city to Sammy Penn. Great times.
On this CD, Big Bill got together with some of his old mates such as Bill Sinclair and Fred Vigorito and he added Jerry Zigmont from the Woody Allen Band, Emile Marks on banjo and Arnie Hyman on bass. On clarinet, he got Connecticut expatriate, Ron Going. Big Bill himself plays drums on these recordings. I had not heard Fred playing for a long time and I was happily surprised hearing him leading the band with a firm, on moments Kid Thomas inspired, lead. Like I said before, Bill Sinclair is getting better by the years. And it is nice to hear Ron Going in another context.
The band swings like hell, playing some fine under-recorded numbers such as 'Love Letters In The Sand', 'Mexicali Rose', 'Lonesome And Sorry', 'Pretend', etc. There are no stars in this band, just the way Big Bill always wanted his band to sound, playing relaxed and ensemble, old time New Orleans music.
Bill Bissonnette added another fine recording to his already impressive list. A CD which should be in each New Orleans record collector's collection.
- Jempi De Donder—Internet Magazine & Radio program

Trombonist, drummer and pioneering record label owner Big Bill Bissonnette (Jazz Crusade is his) does not believe in rehearsed recordings, preferring instead the fire and spontaneity of the “jam session” atmosphere once so much an integral part of the jazz scene. Here he’s captured a classic with the wonderfully unique Kid Thomas inspired cornet sound of one time fellow Bissonnette band member Fred Vigorito and the clarinet of Ron Going (Gremoli) leading the way. It’s a romping session full of life and verve - wish we had them like this round here. It would be a crime, having mentioned two of the front line, not to name the others who contribute to this classic session - Jerry Zigmont - trombone; Bill Sinclair - piano; Emil Mark - banjo; Arnie Hyman - string bass and Big Bill on drums.
- Brian Harvey

Kings Jazz Review—British Internet jazz magazine

These "Jam Session In Connecticut" CDs brings back very happy memories to me in the 60s area of Croydon, Greater London, England and beyond, where Traditional jazz reigned supreme, and, life was lived to a full musical enjoyment, listening and dancing to this intriguing and exciting music, sadly no longer to be heard live Connecticut style to the extent and authenticity that it once was prominent on the UK stage, in the pubs scenes, the theatres covering the jazz festivals, performed by the cream of British jazz bands of the day. The musicianship of this Connecticut septet is therefore unique as it brings to life here in this country of the British Isles, in this century, memories unforgettable, from those far off sunshine days that will enliven the many still around, who I’m sure will be delighted, and want to be enlighten of the existence of this album, an album that recalls vividly the kind of jazz that they so much enjoyed in their youth, as did I.
The individual breaks front line featured opening song, a Red Nichols, Dorsey, Teagarden, Rollini "Five Pennies" 30s favourite, I Want To Be Happy, sets the scene for this album, recorded on the 19th of August 2002, in the Trod Nossel studios, Wallingford, Connecticut, USA, a tune that was a favourite of England’s past very fine trumpeter, Nat Gonella and his Georgians, whose influence of style was of Louis Armstrong, lends support to what I’ve so far written on these very "listen-able" recordings. In his liner notes, Big Bill Bissonnette refers to the style of music as being New Orleans jazz, now known as the "New Orleans Revival" heard play on this album, also, we learn that the musicians were either members of his Easy Riders Jazz Band, or, that they were influenced by it, in one way or another. In this reciting-note, as I think to myself of "what a wonderful world" that it was those years past, I have no favourite tune that stands out among the 20 songs played in this Jam Session, leaving it up to each one for themselves, to read into what that means, but I’m sure that there are tens of tens of thousands here and elsewhere, who would be delighted to have a fine memento of those by gone days, listening to those choice, classic, jazz evergreens, and to achieve that reality they need go-look no further, for it is all here for them to pick up, such as it is played and interpreted by this Connecticut Jam Session septet.
- Ian King

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