New Orleans Delight
set a benchmark with their 2004 sessions with Cliff "Kid" Bastien
and George Berry
. Sadly, both men have since moved on to their final rewards. It was felt that those recordings would not be equaled in the near future.
It seems, to this writer, that this new issue sets a new benchmark. The Copenhagen band recruited two of the most exciting players in the New Orleans Revival style for the new CD. From the Crescent City, trumpeter Gregg Stafford
breathes fire as he kicks the septet along through a series of New Orleans favorites. Like Bix
, Stafford is prone to frequent explosions causing audiences to rise from their seats. His vocals echo Armstrong’s spirit, if not his gravel voice. This is Stafford’s finest session since his appearance on Swayin’ and Prayin’: At The Cross
on the Jazz Crusade label.
Trombonist Brian Towers
and his Hot Five Jazzmakers
have been pulling in crowds on Saturday afternoons for a couple of decades to Toronto’s Cest What
on Front Street. The quintet has a reputation for playing from a huge repertoire. Towers and partner, reed player Janet Shaw
never allow a crowd to be bored. They dig up old, unheard chestnuts from the 20s, 30s and earlier, presenting them in a trademark "Hot Five" style. Both Towers and Shaw are active members of the Magnolia Marching Brass Band
started by the late "Kid" Bastien.
While there isn’t a mediocre track on this album, a few deserve special mention. Clarinetist Kjeld Brandt
delivers a flawless solo on the old 1918 hit Hindustan
followed by Towers’ "Ory style" trombone and Stafford’s incessantly swinging trumpet. The rhythm section explodes and equals the front line’s exuberance. Other favorites are Shelton Brooks’ Some Of These Days
, Jelly’s Milneburg Joys
and the traditional Just A Little While To Stay Here
. The band’s new pianist Hans Pedersen
delivers a pretty solo on What A Wonderful World
while Gregg Stafford offers a vocal in Armstrong’s gravelly style. Everyone gets a break on Paul Barbarin’s popular Second Line March
and special kudos go to Claus Lindhardt
for some great traditional drumming. New Orleans Delight’s unerring rhythm section deserves five stars for this performance. Bassist Stefan Karfve
and banjoist Erling Lindhardt
play strongly and sound better than ever.
This is clearly New Orleans Delight’s
finest CD. Five shining stars!