Trad jazz never goes out of style. Thus, David Ostwald's two-step parade draws weekly New York audiences to Birdland in respectable numbers. They come from all walks of life: folks who remember Louis Armstrong as well as those who simply remember "dear old Mom and Dad, and the family getting "high on this exceptional form of traditional music at home in the living room. Ostwald plays tuba and gives his band a regular beat that's hard to miss.
With him on this session, making quite a celebration of it, are trumpeter Randy Sandke, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, clarinetist and alto saxophonist Ken Peplowski, pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Howard Alden and drummer Herlin Riley. The program features compositions by artists including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Willard Robison, Benny Carter and Richard Myknee Jones. George Avakian's extensive liner notes provide a treasure trove of information about each selection as well as a complete background of the band.
Ostwald opens the program with tuba, alto and banjo in a hurried conversation on "Jubilee Stomp that sets the pace for action. Alden's banjo also lends a down-home flavor to "Panama and "New Orleans Stomp. Gordon, who sings on Armstrong's "Don't Forget to Mess Around, gives the session a clear tailgate trombone sound that carries the day. Alongside Peplowski's dancing clarinet and Sandke's lyrical horn, he shines brighter than the morning sun.
The program represents a celebration of music that should not be forgotten. Here, each member of the ensemble is able to improvise liberally while keeping the flame alive. Ostwald's graceful tuba provides the glue, while his all-stars turn it loose so that a good time can be had by all.
Personnel: David Ostwald: tuba, leader; Randy Sandke: trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon: trombone, vocals; Ken Peplowski: clarinet, alto saxophone; Mark Shane: piano; Howard Alden: banjo, guitar; Herlin Riley: drums.