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From the Inside Out

Jazz for Kids? "Teach Your Children Well..."

By Published: March 1, 2006
Jazz Baby Session 2
Casablanca Kids
2005

The master of New Orleans piano voodoo, Dr. John, who previously worked with Dorn in their Atlantic days, reunites with the producer to open this second session with a rollicking stroll through "Toyland. Another pianist, Billy Preston (the only artist to have recorded with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones), contributes a darling "Clementine

Percolating percussion helps Acuña spice up the campfire classic "Kum Ba Ya and "Ring Around the Rosie, a genuine, passionate dance with Andreas Renteria's funky congas. Morrison's take on "Scarborough Fair positively shimmers from Talmud's crystalline and ringing vibes, but in a more somber, atmospheric mood. Clooney also ends session two, with the goofy "Fuzzy Wuzzy (Wuz A Bear).

Jazz Baby Session 3
Casablanca Kids
2005

Session three opens with a near-perfect match of material and interpreter in Taj Mahal's good-naturedly gruff romp through Pete Seeger's timeless "If I Had A Hammer, complete with the shuffling rhythm of a roadhouse blues and gooey Hammond B-3 organ solo. (Mahal has released several acclaimed takes of his own on music for children through the label Music for Little People.)

Acuña sparkles here, too, with a beautiful half-English, half-Spanish take on the lullaby "Rock a Bye Baby. Pancho Sanchez makes one of the biggest splashes on this third session, congas and timbales setting up cross-currents of rhythm with trombone and vibes and flutes as they bob up and down in unison through the Afro-Cuban swim "Row Row Row Your Boat.

Cole's warm rich voice glides through "Mary Anne, clad in colorful calypso garb, another well-considered match of music and musician; his son Lionel later adds "Hush Little Baby to end this third set. But perhaps the biggest and most beautiful surprise is the breathless version of "Home on the Range performed by Megan Mullally (Karen on Will and Grace). The tenderness and purity of her voice will surely touch your heart, whether you are six or sixty.



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