Has a New Orleans jazz renaissance been going on without a lot of attention given to it? Looks like it. Nagel Heyer, for example, has released several traditional jazz albums by Randy Sandke, George Masso, Byron Stripling and others. Now comes Norrie Cox and his New Orleans Stompers on their second album for the Delmark label with the real stuff wrapped in a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar musical gems all done traditional style. Norrie Cox, who emigrated form England where interest in New Orleans music has always been strong, is now lives in Milwaukee. This recording session was held in Wisconsin, just a little bit north of New Orleans. Strange geography notwithstanding, there is an aura of authenticity about the performances that brings to mind Bourbon Street in the old days of Louis Armstrong, George Lewis, marching bands and Sweet Emma Barrett.
Cox has collected a group of players well versed in this music. They are refugees from other traditional bands like the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band and the famous Magnolia Jazz Band. That special syncopation and interplay between instruments which characterizes this music is apparent on most of the tracks especially "South of the Border", the traditional "Any Rags" and "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)". "Jerusalem Blues" calls to mind those treks to the cemetery sending off a friend in style. Norrie Cox's Tio family New Orleans clarinet is prominent on this cut as is Charlie DeVore's wah wahing cornet. With the ensemble playing in unison, the "Isle of Capri" could be played on the march back from the burial services when partying in honor of the deceased is foremost in the minds of those in the funeral parade. "Mama Inez" reminds us that there could be a Latin flavor to this music, by way of Mexico. Appropriately, the session ends with a rousing version of the "Kid Thomas Boogie Woogie". Appropriate since Kid Thomas was one of the leaders of the 1960's traditional jazz revival. While there is disagreement about his ability on the trumpet, there is none with regard to his longevity. He still was playing at the age of 91!
If you're a "Dixieland jazz" fan (I hate that phrase) or a jazz fan who needs to have more invigorating music in the collection, this album is for you.
Personnel: Norrie Cox - Clarinet; Charlie DeVore - Cornet; Jim Klippert - Trombone; Mike Carrell - Banjo/Guitar; Bill Evans - Bass; Donald "Doggie" Berg - Drums