Jacques Gauthe is well known to fans of New Orleans jazz. The clarinetist was born in France and was strongly influenced by the late Sidney Bechet who lived many years in Paris. During the fifties, the young Gauthe frequented the French jazz clubs and associated with Bechet, Albert Nicholas, Mezz Mezzrow, Memphis Slim and numerous other American jazzmen.
Now living in New Orleans, Jacques Gauthe is a fixture at major traditional jazz festivals in Europe, the USA and Canada. His Creole Rice Jazz Band
became a benchmark in New Orleans revival circles. Gauthe can be heard in the Crescent City with the band at Fritzel’s
or at the revered Preservation Hall
. Equally at home on clarinet and soprano, he alternates freely between instruments on this new recording for Jazz Crusade.
The rhythm section is the outstanding quartet that backed Gregg Stafford and Dr. Michael White on their recent issue Praying & Swaying
for the same label. The lively and flexible "rhythmakers" include pianist Reide Kaiser, bassist Colin Bray, banjoist Emil Mark and drummer Taff Lloyd. All the superlatives expressed in my review of their work on Praying & Swaying
still apply. This is a killer rhythm section!
Jacques Gauthe applies his own brand of artistry to a wide selection of tunes drawn from American pop music and recognized "jazz standards." Please see the song list at the top of this review for details. Gauthe is not an imitator but the influences of Bechet and Mezzrow are obvious in his fluid style. Whether the song is a low down blues or an up-tempo stomper, Gauthe’s playing holds the listener’s interest. His sense of humor is delightfully subtle and is enhanced by the witty accents laid down by Taff Lloyd.
Jazz traditionalists will love this CD.