Louis Armstrong's "Someday You'll Be Sorry makes an appropriate opener for this loving big-band-on-parade salute to New Orleans. A compilation of traditional music, some associated with the city and new original music about New Orleans, this is Connick's valentine to his native city, recorded some time prior to the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. Connick's early career included playing piano and singing in Bourbon Street bars.
Connick has toured regularly with this band since the early '90s and this recording, made just after completing a tour, captures them in hot form. On that first tune, after Connick swings in gently with some quiet drum support, suddenly there's a brief splash of brass, some piano and drums again and then a bigger brass explosion and again with just a bit more oomph and then BAM!, we're off! Suddenly, there's that particular sense of excitement unique to that special piece of machinery: a swinging big band.
Connick's own tune "Ash Wednesday (one of several originals), has a lengthy back and forth between a gang of saxophones and trombones, punctuated by trumpets, interlaced with drums. Relentless and throbbing, this is all about a tight unit accustomed to playing together who are doing their stuff. Trumpeter Leroy Jones also provides irresistibly swinging, big-voiced vocalizing on "Bourbon Street Parade while gravel-voiced trombonist Lucien Barbarin has fun growling out "Luscious .
Supporting throughout are Connick's sizzling arrangements which bring out the swell best in his musicians. Guys! Y'all need to take a nice big bow!
Track Listing: Someday You'll Be Sorry; Panama; Ash Wednesday; Chanson Du Vieux Carre; Bourbon Street Parade; Petite Fleur; Fidgety Feet; Luscious; New Orleans; I Still Get Jealous; That's A-plenty; Mardi Gras In New Orleans.
Personnel: Harry Connick, Jr.: piano; Neal Caine: bass; Arthur Latin: drums; Charles "Ned" Goold: alto saxophone; James Greene: alto saxophone; Jerry Weldon: tenor saxophone; Mike Karn: tenor saxophone; Dave Schumacher: baritone saxophone; Roger Ingram: trumpet; Derrick Gardner: trumpet; Leroy Jones: trumpet, vocals; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Mark Mullins: trombone; Craig Klein: trombone; John Allred: trombone; Lucien Barbarin: trombone, vocals; Joe Barati: bass trombone.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.