Dr. Michael White: Blue Crescent (2008)
Throughout the recording White keeps the flames of his city's musical tradition burning with fresh compositions framed with familiar forms. Original tunes like "Comme Ci Comme Sa," with White vocalizing in French, and the title track stay true to an early jazz aesthetic.
White's endearing clarinet tone leads the way through much of the session. Jagged, upper-register wailing ("Crescent City Calypso," "Sunday Morning") and low-note, full-bodied brooding ("Katrina," "Dark Sunshine") reveal a crafty practitioner who fully understands the nuances of his instrument. For all his technical flourishes, White is most effective when displaying a patient vocal-like approach, as on "He Leads Me On This Journey."
A thoughtful lyricist, White's words are cleverly interpreted by trumpeter Gregory Stafford and banjoist Detroit Brooks; an added element that makes Blue Crescent a thoughtful, toe-tapping representation of New Orleans' rich musical heritage.
Track Listing: Comme Ci Comme Sa; Blue Crescent; St. Louis Blues; Crescent City Calypso; Katrina; Sunday Morning; Dark Sunshine; King of the Second Line; He Leads Me On This Journey; London Canal Breakdown; Majestic Strut; Algeria; Ooh La La (Danse Creole); Will the Circle Be Unbroken.
Personnel: Dr. Michael White: clarinet, vocal; Nicholas Payton: trumpet; Gregory Stafford: trumpet, vocals; Dwayne Burns: trumpet; Lucien Barbarin: trombone; Steven Pistorius: piano; Detroit Brooks: banjo, guitar, vocal; Roland Guerin: bass; Jason Marsalis: drums; Shannon Powell: drums; Troy Davis: percussion.
Record Label: Basin Street Records
Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing