In the aftermath of the popular Ken Burns Jazz series on PBS, websites such as ours have been receiving letters indicating a new interest in vintage jazz, especially that of New Orleans. I feel that the remarkable TV series has probably doubled the interest in jazz generally and will be a boon to the record companies with emphasis on those who continue to reissue valuable historical material.
Jazz Crusade's "Big Bill" Bissonnette has produced more than 100 sessions in his years as a musician and promoter. To my ear, this latest release is one of the best I've heard from Jazz Crusade or any other label. I would be remiss if I were not to recommend this fine recording to any aspiring student of jazz history.
Although not Crescent City born, the De Paris brothers continued to further the interest in jazz spawned in Louisiana until the time of their deaths; Sidney in 1967 and Wilbur in 1973. The brothers were natives of Indiana but played at times with Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton in addition to many of the swing creators such as Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge and the Mills Blue Rhythm Band.
Clarinetist, Omer Simeon, is a true New Orleans pioneer, having worked with Jelly, King Oliver and later with Kid Ory. In the 1950s, Simeon worked almost exclusively with the De Paris band.
One of the busiest musicians on this record is the North Carolina born pianist, Don Kirkpatrick. His driving piano is evident on every track other than Milneberg Joys and Alexander's Ragtime Band where Norman Lester sits in.
Drummer Freddie Moore and banjoist Eddie Gibbs were natives of environs other than the birthplace of jazz but were truly interested in furthering the legacy of New Orleans roots even in days when it was considered unpopular to do so.
The sessions at Jimmy Ryan's in New York were recorded by The Allegheny Jazz Society and freshened up by the folks at Jazz Crusade. Thirteen great tunes adorn the album including the standout version of Florida Blues, Milneberg Joys, Blame It On The Blues and an unusual piece titled "Fiddle Up Your Ragtime Violin" to which I have been unable to find the composer. Perhaps the tune is of doubtful origin but it's "plenty hot" and features a nice solo by Don Kirkpatrick. The absolute highlight is "Florida Blues" which is a showpiece for the De Paris brothers. There are not enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe this excellent performance. Dirty, low down blues at its best!
The album ends with a rousing version of South Rampart Street Parade. There you go; another New Orleans tune penned by a New Yorker. Thank you Bob Haggart!