Here's another milestone recording for Jazz Crusade. This album features several of the New Orleans revival legends caught live at a 1968 concert for the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club.
The entire band has since passed on and this is your chance to hear them at their best in an informal concert where they were clearly among friends and dedicated fans. To the uninitiated, this style may appear a bit rough. you should, however, consider that this was a "rough and ready" group by their very nature. Based in the Crescent City, this little band performed in street parades and legendary venues including Preservation and Tradition Halls. On occasion they were called upon to appear for jazz societies all over the world and the fans loved them. They were both exciting and approachable. Autographs and anecdotes were free in those years.
Trumpeter Kid Thomas was a sincere and honest performer who always gave 150 percent. Leading a simple life in New Orleans, Thomas Valentine developed an electrifying trumpet style which was copied by aspiring trad musicians everywhere. The "Kid" passed on in 1987 and my trusty calculator tells me he was 101 years of age. He had played professionally since 1922.
Another bright star in this combo was the legendary drummer Sammy Penn. One of the most exciting and imitated rhythm men in New Orleans, Penn was a master of the wood-blocks and accents that were explosive in their delivery. I know a number of musicians who claim to own a drum that was once played by Sammy. Penn must have gone through a hefty number of drum kits over the years if all the stories are true.
Louis Nelson is featured on trombone and may be familiar to those of you watch PBS. He appeared in jazz special some years ago with a number of younger musicians and some of his contemporaries. Pianist Charlie Hamilton is a fine musician with boundless energy. Although he seldom solos on this CD, he plays a sixty minute ball game and is easily heard among the heavy-handed rhythm section. We can't get away without shouting the praises of bassist Joseph "Twat" Butler and the legendary Emmanuel Paul. Manny Paul receives ample room to solo here and he takes full advantage to show his stuff. He was a prime attraction at Preservation Hall for years and a member of the famed Eureka Brass Band since the early 1960s.
The tunes include the spirituals "We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City" and "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" plus the perennial "Eh! La Bas." Other songs are "Sweet Sue", "Algiers Strut" and "Kid Thomas Boogie Woogie" featuring Charlie Hamilton. There are ten tunes in all and the opener is really interesting in that each band member is introduced by the jazz club host as they perform Basin Street Blues. This is classic New Orleans Revival fare.