The kind folks of the Crescent City can't do it all themselves and New Orleans style bands fight the battle from all over the world with all continents well represented. This CD features bands from Japan, Canada and Belgium. These sessions were all commissioned by Big Bill in 1997 and recorded the same year.
Japan has been gifted with many important traditional bands over the years and The New Orleans Naughties are one of the best. The septet includes Harumi Omatsuzawa - trumpet, Torahiko Koyanagi - clarinet, Akio Yokota - trombone, Jun Endo - piano, Mitsuyuki Ono - banjo, Akio Nishitani - bass and Katsusuke Nakagawa - drums. Playing six tunes including Bugle Boy March, Franklin Street Blues, and We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City, this group gives no audible indication that they are all natives of anywhere outside the birthplace of jazz. This is authentic material played by talented and dedicated enthusiasts.
Belgium is represented by a septet called The New Orleans Roof Jazzmen carrying on the traditions of The Quintet of the Hot Club of Belgium many years ago. This band includes Pierre Classens - clarinet, Bruno Van Acoleyen - trumpet, Cor Fabrie - trombone, Norbert Detaye - piano, Arsene Devlieger - banjo, Paul Brandes - bass and drummer Philippe Desmet. Classens is a truly gifted clarinetist and plays his heart out on the six tune set including, among others, Melancholy, Too Busy and Love Songs Of The Nile. The latter song was performed in New Orleans many moons ago by Billy and De De Pierce and is among my favorite traditional tunes. The Belgian group certainly got my attention and respect for their touching rendition. Listen to Norbert Detaye's beautiful piano work on this classic composition.
Canada's Hot Five Jazzmakers, all six of them, represent my native land. This is the first time I've heard the Hot Five with a drummer. The usual format is the quintet of Brian Towers - trombone, his wife Janet Shaw - clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax and piano; Mick Collins - cornet, trumpet; Rainer Hunck - banjo and Dr. Colin Bray - string bass. Drummer Gary Scrivens was added for this recording. Frequent visitors to Canadian and American festivals, The Hot Five Jazzmakers are often invited to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and represent Canada with pride. Brian Towers is a fine trombonist with a dirty growl and a captivating personality that makes everyone feel welcome to the little club in Toronto where they have played for years. Janet Shaw is a great multi-instrumentalist and when she pick up the baritone sax, she plays the dirtiest solos you'll ever hear. God bless her......nobody should even think that dirty! A fairly new addition to the group is Mick Collins, who for many years was a mainstay with Ottawa's Apex Jazzband. Many Ottawa jazz vocalists claim that they would rather have Mick behind them than any other trumpeter.
Dr. Colin Bray is a widely acknowledged jazz historian and a self taught bassist. He appears on several Jazz Crusade issues.
This is a worthwhile CD for any collection. If you are unfamiliar with New Orleans traditional music, this is a good place to start.