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Running Wild In Toronto - Vols. 1 & 2 by Darryl Adams

In his first recorded appearance as a leader, reedman Darryl Adams stars on a pair of CDs for Jazz Crusade. For the past couple of decades, Adams confined his activities to the street bands of his native New Orleans. His introduction to music was within the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band formed by the late Danny Barker. Later, he joined Harold Dejan's Olympia Brass Band, a world renowned marching band responsible for adding new jazz fans wherever they played.

In the mid 1980's, Adams appeared with Tuba Fats Lacen's band, the Chosen Few. Their 1985 Syla album was recently reissued by Jazz Crusade. The saxophonist was mystified when he was told he sounded like "Capt." John Handy. He, in fact, had never heard Handy's alto and only acknowledged the similarity after having heard a couple of CDs by the late "Cap." Darryl Adams is a strong player with an equally strong sense of humor. His solo on St. Phillips Street Breakdown goes a long way to prove my point.

This session was recorded before a live audience in Canada for the Classic Jazz Society of Toronto in March of 2003. The concert also offered the first Canadian appearance of Brian Carrick, one of Britain's finest clarinetists in the George Lewis tradition. Carrick plays a metal Albert system instrument that belonged to the late New Orleans legend. The clarinetist often appears as a guest with various bands in Europe and New Orleans and the Toronto session captures him at his very best. I really liked his solos on Down In Honky Tonk Town and It's a Long Way To Tipperary.

The trombonist on this date is Toronto's own Brian Towers. Brian has captured audiences in the city for more than twenty years with his Hot Five Jazzmakers. His attack is not unlike Kid Ory's and he loves to growl. Always an exciting player, his classy choice of good material contributed greatly to the success of his band. While I haven't visited Toronto in the past few years, a visit to the Cest What used to be a mandatory stopover.

Bassist, Dr. Colin Bray has been a part of the Hot Five Jazzmakers for more than a decade. Bray is, in part, a jazz historian and president of the Classic Jazz Society of Toronto. His bass style is, in my opinion, reminiscent of George "Pops" Foster. Colin appears on a number of Jazz Crusade CDs and is one of the strongest traditional bassists on the scene today. His work on this concert is superb. Bray invited another Toronto player in the form of pianist Roberta Hunt. Roberta is a rollicking heavy hitter who has been a part of Kid Bastien's Happy Pals for a number of years. Cliff Bastien passed away earlier this year and the Happy Pals continue a thirty-five year gig at Grossman's Tavern. Hunt is another player showing a great sense of humor and a fine singing voice. Listen to her inspired piano solo on Second Line.

It's a treat to hear Connecticut's Fred Vigorito on cornet. Fred has been with Big Bill Bissonnette's various bands since 1964. I've always admired his playing which echoes both Satchmo and Kid Thomas. Vigorito is a tireless improviser with ideas to spare. Shake It And Break It and Runnin' Wild are good examples of the cornetist's hot style.

The rhythm section is completed by banjo-man Emil Mark and drummer Big Bill Bissonnette. Emil Mark has probably been on more Jazz Crusade CDs than any other player. Emil Mark is everything a rhythm player should be. The guy is a human timepiece!

What can you say about the perennial Big Bill Bissonnette? He's been playing, promoting, recording, broadcasting and contributing to traditional jazz since 1960. New Orleans jazz owes him plenty for his indefatigable efforts over 40 years. Big Bill laid aside his trombone for this session and takes a seat behind the drums. Echoes of the late Sammy Penn abound for all eighteen tunes. Bissonnette sings on the finale, Home To Bed Blues. Good stuff!

Running Wild In Toronto is recommended listening for anyone who enjoys classic jazz.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Darryl Adams
  • CD Title: Running Wild In Toronto - Vols. 1 & 2
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Jazz Crusade
  • Rating: Five Stars
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