Trombonist/bandleader Ray Anderson is one of the most forwardlooking AND deliberately "anachronistic" jazz players on the contemporary scene. He's played on/in the outer limits with Anthony Braxton and Gerry Hemingway, amongst others, but he has the no-jive persona of Jazz Musician As Entertainer. That's the "anachronism" he embodies. Which is not to say he's not serious about the music, or he panders to the Lowest Common Denominator. Anderson reminds me of Jack Teagarden and Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk, guys who were "characters" as well as great musicians, whose playing and approach was heavily laced with good humor. And this album, a "tribute" to the New Orleans brass sound, has warmth, humor, passion and chops up the wazoo.
Dig the masterful version of The Duke's "The Mooche" - it's like this masterpiece of velvety growls was written for this band. Which, by the way, is just brass & drums: Lew Soloff, trumpet; Matt Perrine, sousaphone; the marvelously all-over-the-place rhythmic drumming of Bobby Previte. The program is mostly originals, where Anderson & Co. utilize the New Orleans brass tradition (Armstrong, King Oliver, etc.) for some thoughtful, modern and thoroughly swinging compositions. The other covers are Monk's "I Mean You" and the joyously swaggering (with spikey, 'out'-tinged solos) "Pinapple Rag," writ by none other than Scott Joplin. 4 + 1/2 stars - get it now!