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Echoes Of The Crescent City by Taff Lloyd's New Orleans Stompers

Should you form a band on Monday and make your first recording on Tuesday? Experts would reply with an emphatic ‘No.’ Taff Lloyd and his gang will prove the experts wrong with this CD.

Upon a recent visit to New Orleans, drummer Taff Lloyd, trumpeter Norman Thatcher and banjoist Sarah Thatcher guested at Fritzel’s on Bourbon Street. Taff’s wife, Connie, was caught up in the excitement of the moment and suggested they form a band. Upon their return to Britain, they recruited clarinetist Keith Box, trombonist Jeff Milner and bassist Peter Wright. The ‘Stompers’ made their debut at the Crofters Wine Bar in Witham and recorded this ‘live’ CD at the Townhouse, Enfield the next day.

This couldn’t be done with a rock group but it’s an easier task when all the players have spent the better part of a lifetime performing authentic New Orleans jazz. It helps too, when two of the musicians are multi-instrumentalists. This debut session finds both Thatcher and Wright freely switching bass and trumpet duties with authority.

Norman Thatcher is the trumpeter in the Ken Colyer Trust Band and played recently with Dr. Michael White on his Johnny Dodds tribute album for Jazz Crusade. Norman Thatcher’s Ragtime Band recorded on the same label. Banjoist Sarah Thatcher was part of the ragtime band as well.

Peter Wright and Jeff Milner have recorded frequently with the Brian Carrick’s various outfits including the Heritage Stompers. Keith Box runs a band in Bristol and his album New Orleans To Bristol is probably still available.

Leader Taff Lloyd has become very well respected in the last few years due to his participation what I dubbed the ‘All Star Rhythm Section’ on Big Bill Bissonnette’s Jazz Crusade label. Partnered with bassist Colin Bray, pianist Reide Kaiser and banjoist Emil Mark, Lloyd is rapidly becoming the ‘drummer of choice’ in the New Orleans genre. His command of the true Crescent City style is reminiscent of the legends Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton and Sammy Penn. His electrically charged performance sparks the Stompers along perfectly.

The session is a gumbo of New Orleans favorites, both secular and sacred. Among those that really turn my crank are Just a Little While To Stay Here, My Little Girl, Lord Lord Lord, and Snag It. The rough & ready band kicks out a steaming version of Climax Rag including a fine drum break and impressive ensemble work. It’s as good a version as you’ll ever hear of the James Scott classic.

In conclusion, the band is a little rough but very exciting. If they can turn out a recording of this quality on their second performance, I look forward to upcoming sessions.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Taff Lloyd's New Orleans Stompers
  • CD Title: Echoes Of The Crescent City
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: R.E.K. Sound
  • Tracks: Just a Little While To Stay Here; Martha; Blue Hawaii; My Little Girl; Short Dress Gal; Bugle Boy March; Lord Lord Lord; When I Move To The Sky; Snag It; Joe Avery?s Piece; Doctor Jazz; Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior; Climax Rag.
  • Musicians: Norman Thatcher (trumpet) also bass on 4 tracks; Keith Box (clarinet, vocal); Jeff Milner (trombone, vocal); Sarah Thatcher (banjo); Peter Wright (bass) also trumpet on 4 tracks; Taff Lloyd (leader, drums).
  • Rating: Four Stars
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