In view of the high praise given to their recent Jazz Crusade release and their 2002 album with gospel singer Tori Robinson, the Vintage Jazzmen sent along a one of their older CDs. This live recording features the Reverend Lucien Garrett and pianist Brian Lewis in concert at Eglise du Sacre-Coeur de Ris Orange in France.
Reverend Garrett and Brian Lewis bring the sound of New Orleans gospel alive before an enthusiastic gathering in the French church. Reverend Garretts' voice reminded me, although not stylistically, of the late Wynonie Harris of R&B fame. Brian Lewis provides some authentic "down home" piano accompaniment to the traditional spirituals and hymns. While closely following a sacred music format, the duo throws in Old Man River
and Bob Thiele's What a Wonderful World
The Vintage Jazzmen, though not as polished as today's group, do a fine job. Reverend Garrett seems to thrive on the genuine New Orleans style jazz backing and vocally calls in the soloists. I especially enjoyed Bye and Bye
and the romping version of Just a Little While To Stay Here
. The latter tune is a particular favorite. The frontline of Vernhettes, Queraud and Legendre are exciting and sympathetic to the gospel venue.
This recording is not available in stores but can be obtained from Dan Vernhettes
. Listeners should be aware that the "on the spot" concert recording levels fluctuate at times and might bother audio perfectionists.