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New Orleans by Various Artists

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.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Various Artists
  • CD Title: New Orleans
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Putumayo World Music
  • Tracks: Drop Me Off In New Orleans (Ruffins); I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues (Cheatham & Payton); Basin Street Blues (Prima); Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (Preservation Hall Hot 4); Baby Won’t You Please Come Home (Topsy Chapman); The Devil Done Got Me Blues (Kevin Clark); Tin Roof Blues (Louis Armstrong); Basin Street Blues (Dr John); Give It Up (Dr Michael White); Going Back To New Orleans (Deacon John); Bye & Bye (Dr Michael White & Gregg Stafford).
  • Musicians: Kermit Ruffins; Louis Armstrong; Dr John; Doc Cheatham; Nicholas Payton; Kevin Clark; Louis Prima; Dr Michael White; Gregg Stafford; Topsy Chapman; Deacon John; Harold Dejan & The Preservation Hall Hot 4.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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