Jazz Crusade, as the name suggests, continues its quest to put to CD New Orleans jazz performed by a roster of memorable practitioners of this music, which is an important keystone of jazz. The title implies with the word return, that the Mouldy 5 was somewhere and is now back. And that's exactly the case. Big Bill Bissonnette, the leader of Jazz Crusade, is bringing back the group he once headed during the 1960's. There's been a few personnel changes since then as one might expect. Mould Dick McCarthy (better known as Mouldy Dick) has been replaced by Colin Bray on bass and Dick Griffith's banjo spot is now in the capable hands of Emil Mark. But three original members are still going strong, Bill Sinclair, Sammy Rimington and Big Bill.The play list consists of 18 tracks and, for a refreshing change, does not include those staples of traditional jazz one generally finds on so called "dixieland" jazz albums. Rather, there's nonconformist tunes like "The Best Things in Life are Free", "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "Where the River Shannon Flows". All familiar tunes to be sure, but not usually played New Orleans style.
English born Sammy Rimington is the featured player on this reincarnation of the quintet, although all members get plenty of opportunity to spend time in the solo spotlight. Rimington is a disciple of George Lewis whose style was shaped by the non creole playing tradition rather than by the famous New Orleans clarinet teacher, Lorenzo Tio, Jr. who taught and influenced many of the clarinet players in the Crescent City. Thus Rimington has a wide vibrato and frequently employs glissandos which were so common to the George Lewis school. Many of the tunes on this CD clearly reveal this approach, but especially a lovely "Where the Blue of the Night" (Bing Crosby's theme song) and "The Best Things in Life Are Free". The former features some fine piano by Sinclair. The slow drag tempo special to this music is best articulated in the "Mouldy Five Blues". This tune by the way is a head arrangement was not planned for the session, but just came up during the set. They just started playing it feeding off each other's imrpov.
Bill is on New Orleans type drums putting away his trombone for this session. Emil Mark's banjo keeps time throughout sustaining the rhythm for each tune making Colin Bray's bass almost unnecessary. This unique album - - unique mainly because of the play list - - of New Orleans jazz makes one glad that the Mouldy 5 have returned after almost 40 years. This CD is recommended.
Personnel: Sammy Rimington - Clarinet; Bill Sinclair - Piano; Emil Mark - Banjo; Colin Bray - Bass; Big Bill Bissonnette - Drums