The Yockamo All Stars are 11 of New Orleans' finest jazz musicians, and on Dew Drop Out they take elements from 1950s Crescent City R&B and blend them with spirited second-line jazz. The result is a joyous, danceable recording that really captures the fun-loving spirit of the Crescent City.
The Yockamo All Stars include guitarist and leader Mark Bingham, bassist Walter Payton (Nicholas Payton's father), drummer Herlin Riley, piano and organ man Glenn Patscha, the great young alto-saxophonist Jesse Davis, tenor saxman Tim Green, bartione saxman Reggie Houston, tenor saxophonist Clarence Johnson III, guitarist June Yamagishi, and two of my favorite Crescent City musicians, trumpeter LeRoy Jones and his partner, the trombonist Craig Klein. These guys have played with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Fats Domino, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and many others, so we're talkin' real professionals here.
Dew Drop Out resonates with the same mix of innocence, bawdiness and funk as the finest New Orleans R&B, but it's also completely faithful to The Big Easy's rich jazz heritage. With a few exceptions (Wynton Marsalis being the most notable), New Orleans is one of the few places where jazz is more celebratory than cerebral. Second-line jazz is meant to be played in the streets and bars, not in conservatories.
Included on Dew Drop Out are four jazzed-up covers of R&B classics and eight new compositions, all infused with strong doses of jazzified R&B energy. Highlights include the funky "Blow, Blow Tenor," the bluesy title track, an organ bolero called "Jambolero," a great jazz version of Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home," and my favorite, a down-and-dirty take on "I Hear You Knockin'."
The Yockomo All Stars play a brand of party jazz that's as meaty as it is fun. Not only is Dew Drop Out a fitting tribute to The Crescent City, it's as effective an amalgam of R&B and jazz as you're likely to hear.