How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This session, recorded in Chicago in January 1968, teams two acknowledged masters of New Orleans–style classic Jazz with a well–endowed supporting cast (bassist Rails, drummer Deems) and, on half a dozen tracks, a brace of accomplished guests, trombonist George Brunis and trumpeter Nap Trottier. Two of those tracks are alternate takes (“Tin Roof Blues,” “Bye and Bye”) which extend the playing time from its original LP–length to nearly an hour. While none of the songs will be unfamiliar to partisans of the genre, they are no less well–played and enjoyable. Bigard, whose bright, clear tone and remarkable technique placed him in the vanguard of trad Jazz clarinetists for so many years, is in especially good form. Hodes, Rail and Deems, meanwhile, are unassumingly dependable co–workers who keep the music bouncing along in its proper groove, and the quartet tracks such as “Sweet Lorraine,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Three Little Words” and the venerable “C Jam Blues” are conspicuously charming. On the other hand, it’s good to hear the amiable Brunis and self–possessed Trottier add their singular voices on “Bucket,” “Sensation Rag,” “Bye and Bye” and “Tin Roof Blues,” which Brunis co–authored with Ben Pollack and others. While there are no surprises here, the music these gentlemen bring to life sounds remarkably fresh even after the passage of more than three decades, and for that one must salute their artistry and its timelessness.
Track listing: Bucket’s Got a Hole in It; Sweet Lorraine; Hesitating Blues; Tin Roof Blues; Lover Come Back to Me; Sensation Rag; Makin’ Whoopee; Three Little Words; Bye and Bye; Nitty Gritty; Tin Roof Blues; C Jam Blues; Bye and Bye (59:46).