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Featuring Gregg Stafford & Brian Towers by New Orleans Delight

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 and Satchmo, 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!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: New Orleans Delight
  • CD Title: Featuring Gregg Stafford & Brian Towers
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Music Mecca
  • Tracks: Second Line March; Some Of These Days; What A Friend We Have In Jesus; Fidgety Feet; Milneburg Joys; St. Louis Blues; Just A Little While To Stay Here; Old Time Religion; Dr. Jazz; Hindustan; What A Wonderful World; Saints.
  • Musicians: Gregg Stafford (trumpet, vocal); Brian Towers (trombone); Kjeld Brandt (clarinet, leader); Hans Pederson (piano); Erling Lindhardt (banjo, tenor guitar); Stefan Karfve (bass); Claus Lindhardt (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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