May 16th 2006 heralds the release of New Orleans - That’s Our Home
featuring American pianist John Sheridan, Australian cornetist Bob Barnard and Canadian drummer Don Vickery.
John Sheridan is, perhaps, the best known member of this international jazz trio. The Ohio-born pianist makes his home in San Antonio, Texas where he worked with the acclaimed Jim Cullum Jazzband for two and a half decades. The Cullum band is heard weekly on their popular radio program Riverwalk -Live From The Landing
on NPR. Sheridan’s recording career began in the mid 1970s when he entered the studios with Tommy Loy and the Upper Dallas Jazz Band. The pianist has more than fifty albums to his credit on many labels including Arbors Jazz, Audiophile and Canada’s legendary Sackville Recordings.
Every listener has his or her own select group of albums that are their "desert island favorites" and this writer is no exception. John Sheridan and Dick Hyman collaborated on Forgotten Dreams
in 2001 and the CD quickly found a place on my desert shelf.
Bob Barnard is a pioneer Australian jazzman. As early as 1949, he appeared with his pianist/drummer brother in the Len Barnard Jazz Band. One of those early 10" vinyl LPs from 1954 also sits upon an honored spot in this collector’s music room. He went on to make hundreds of sessions with some of the major names in Australian jazz including Graeme Bell, Lazy Ade Monsbrough, Johnny Sangster and the great Port Jackson Jazz Band. He was usually present when touring American jazz stars recorded "down under." In recent years, Bob Barnard has appeared often on the Riverwalk broadcasts from San Antonio. This is his second collaboration with John Sheridan. Their first album, "Thanks A Million," was a 2004 release on the Sackville label and features songs associated with Louis Armstrong.
Drummer, Don Vickery, is a native of Canada’s Nova Scotia province who now makes Toronto his home. Over the years, Vickery recorded with the Brian Browne Trio including fellow Nova Scotian, bassist Skip Beckwith. The trio backed pop singer Anne Murray during her years of extreme popularity. Vickery has recorded with Jim Galloway, Henry Cuesta and the legendary Ralph Sutton. He is an outstanding jazz photographer and his work graces the covers of several recordings.
Don Vickery’s drum introduction to "While We Danced At The Mardi Gras" is the first sound you’ll hear on the new CD. The album continues with a dozen more themes associated with New Orleans in its pioneer days and beyond. "That’s My Home" shows Barnard’s devotion to Louis Armstrong. The trio follows with a less-known piece penned by Duke Ellington and Rex Stewart in 1943. "Mobile Bay" is a contemplative bluesy item offering some nice muted and open horn by Barnard.
John Sheridan handles King Oliver’s and Alphonse Picou’s "New Orleans Stomp" in a rousing solo effort. Barnard and Vickery sit out the track. "Louisiana Fairytale" is a devastatingly beautiful melody and the trio offers a very pretty reading. Most folks are accustomed to hearing the J.Fred Coots composition performed on a clarinet rather than an open horn.
No project of this type would be complete without Hoagy Carmichael’s haunting "New Orleans" and the trio’s rendition is as good as it gets. Sheridan and Barnard pour emotion into this gut-wrenching performance. The fact that the musicians entered the studio immediately following the ravages of Katrina shows in their performance.
Don Vickery is showcased on "South Rampart Street Parade" and it’s a barn burner. The sole contemporary entry is the lovely "Louisiana Daybreak" penned by Bob Barnard and featuring the cornetist. John Sheridan follows with a classic interpretation of Jelly Roll Morton’s "Winin’ Boy Blues." The solo performance shows the pianist’s deep appreciation of Morton’s music. You can’t play this track only once.
It’s nice to see the inclusion of the seldom-heard "Darkness On The Delta." The tune is particularly apt at a time when the Delta was truly dark. Most listeners will be familiar with either the more recent Acker Bilk pressing or the original 1932 issue by Chick Bullock and his Levee Loungers. The New York recording included a New Orleans musician, Sterling Bose, on trumpet.
Several other Crescent City favorites adorn the album and a percentage of the sales of this disc will benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC)
. New Orleans - That’s Our Home
is available at CD Universe.