Fans of authentic New Orleans jazz will sincerely welcome the arrival of Putumayo World Music
to the jazz market. The label is well renowned for its upbeat compilation CDs in various world music styles for a dozen years. Late January 2005 will see the release of two Crescent City productions. The other is a reissue of some important Kermit Ruffins
recordings and will be reviewed separately.
As in other genres, Putumayo handle the New Orleans
compilation with class. A portion of the proceeds of the album will go to Tipitina’s Foundation
providing musical instruments to the schools of New Orleans. Another portion is allotted to WWOZ
, the community radio station.
The label is no less classy in providing a stunning selection of upbeat Crescent City jazz. While the material has been heard elsewhere, arrangements were made with other labels to release some top-notch music. There are no flawed or rejected takes on the CD.
It’s nice to hear the late Doc Cheatham
and young Nicholas Payton
wail their way through I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
in high style. New Orlean’s famous Basin Street is honored with two versions of Basin Street Blues
. First is a flashy Louis Prima
rendition, true to his style. Then Dr John
delivers his rowdy and reverent tribute to the famous street.
The city’s most famous son is not forgotten. Louis Armstrong
and his band perform a short but sweet rendition of Tin Roof Blues
with a vocal by Satchmo. Armstrong devotee, Kermit Ruffins
offers a burning march Drop Me Off In New Orleans
. The Ruffins band is exceptional.
Vocal fans will enjoy folks like singer/guitarist Deacon John
and Topsy Chapman
. Chapman is known as an original cast member of One Mo’ Time
and has delighted audiences around the world. Topsy is appreciated by hardcore N.O. fans for her work with the late pianist and New Orleans legend, Jeanette Kimball
. Revivalists, Gregg Stafford, Dr. Michael White, Harold "Duke" Dejan and Kevin Clark
are not ignored. Michael White appears twice on the New Orleans CD and justly so. The clarinetist is the finest proponent of original jazz reed styles. The tracks chosen are Give It Up
from Basin Street Records and a very hot Bye and Bye
drawn from Jazz Crusade’s fine "Praying & Swaying: At The Cross." The latter features very hot trumpet by the Crescent City’s Gregg Stafford
In the opinion of this reviewer, Putumayo have produced a fine album with New Orleans
. It’s as fine an introduction to New Orleans jazz as you’ll find anywhere.