All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

270

Various Artists: Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert

By

Sign in to view read count
The results of benefit concerts are always superior to the music they produce. Money is raised and collective guilt is soothed, but these events are usually plagued by performances of inflated self-congratulation. Wynton Marsalis, no stranger to patting his own back, puts his ego in his back pocket for the Jazz at Lincoln Center-produced Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert.

Marsalis, a New Orleans native, was the most eloquent spokesperson for his hometown after the disaster, and the event (broadcast live on PBS this past September) was an over-long but often stirring tribute to the continuing vitality of the decimated city.

First, the filler. James Taylor is as somnolent as ever, and Norah Jones matches his boredom sigh for sigh. Then there's the faux-brassiness of Bette Midler pimping her new Peggy Lee album and the disappointing overreaching of Diane Reeves (she only seems to blossom in small groups).

The rest of the music swings with ease. Marsalis and his Hot Seven honor King Oliver with a raucous version of "Dippermouth Blues," the Neville Brothers and Buckwheat Zydeco party like they mean it, and the Marcus Roberts Trio briskly jumps through Jelly Roll Morton's "New Orleans Blues."

Then there are some stunners. The first belongs to Diana Krall, of all people. Creating an air of thrown-off intimacy, she growls, drawls, and whispers her way through "Basin Street Blues, accompanied by members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Cyrus Chestnut on piano.

Even more remarkable is trumpeter Irvin Mayfield's take on the traditional hymn "Just a Closer Walk With Thee. With Ronald Markham on piano, it is light-footed and joyous, a celebration not only of Mayfield's enormous technical ability, but also of turning the self-abnegating tone of the original into a tune of idiosyncratic bliss. The performance was dedicated to his father, Irvin Mayfield, Sr., who was missing due to the hurricane at the time of the concert. Since then he has been declared another victim of the disaster, his son's performance now standing as a shimmering, rafter-shaking memorial.


Track Listing: This Joy; Over There; Go to the Mardi Gras; Basin Street Blues; Never Die Young; The House I Live In; New Orleans Blues; I Think it's Going to Rain Today; Dippermouth Blues; I'm Gonna Love You Anyway; Is That All There Is?; Just a Closer Walk With Thee; Here's to Life; Blackwell's Message; Come Sunday.

Personnel: Wynton Marsalis, Ryan Kisor, Sean Jones, Marcus Printup, Curtis Watson: trumpet; Irvin Mayfield: trumpet (12); Terence Blanchard: trumpet (2); Marlon Jordan: trumpet (13); Wycliffe Gordon, Vincent Gardner, Andre Hayward: trombone; Kent Jordan: flute (13); Sherman Irby, Ted Nash, Wessell Anderson: alto saxophone; Brice Winston, Walter Blanding: tenor saxophone; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone (14); Victor Goines: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Joe Temperley: baritone saxophone; Allen Toussaint, Aaron Parks, Bette Sussman, Dan Nimmer, Cyrus Chestnut: piano; Peter Martin: piano (6); Ronald Markham: piano (12); Eric Reed: piano (1); Marcus Roberts: piano (7); Norah Jones: piano & vocals (8); Michael Mathis: organ; Art Neville: organ & vocals (3); Mark O'Connor: violin (15); Rachel Jordan: violin (13); Lionel Loueke, Paul Sinegal, Olivier Scoazec: guitar; Don Vappie: banjo; Buckwheat Zydeco: accordion & vocals (10); Derrick Hodge, Reginald Veal, L. Allen Zeno, Carlos Hernandez: bass; Rodney Jordan: bass (7); Herlin Riley, Aaron Mecals, Kendrick Scott, Gerard S. Julian, Ali Jackson, Idris Muhammed: drums; Jason Marsalis: drums (7); Dianne Reeves: vocals (6); Diana Krall: vocals (4); Cassandra Wilson: vocals (15); James Taylor: vocals & acoustic guitar (5); Stephanie Jordan: vocals (13); Shirley Caesar: vocals (1); Bette Midler: vocals (11); Aaron Neville: vocals (3); Bernard Sterling, Gene Conyers, Donald Gore: background vocals.

Title: Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Sleepers Wake

Sleepers Wake

Various Artists
Snowfall

Winter Waltz

Winter Waltz

Various Artists
Winter: An Origin Records...

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
J Jazz: Deep Modern Jazz From Japan 1969 - 1984

J Jazz: Deep Modern...

Barely Breaking Even
2018

buy
We Out Here

We Out Here

Brownswood Recordings
2018

buy
Stax Singles, Vol. 4: Rarities & Best of the Rest

Stax Singles, Vol. 4:...

Concord Music Group
2018

buy
The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline Oliveros

The Last Sense To...

Rural Colours
2017

buy
E.S.T. Symphony

E.S.T. Symphony

ACT Music
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "What’s to Come" CD/LP/Track Review What’s to Come
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 28, 2018
Read "Heaven On Their Minds" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Swinging In The Holidays" CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review In Transit
by Kris Perdew
Published: November 2, 2017
Read "Diablo en Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Diablo en Brooklyn
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 11, 2018
Read "The Ultimate Experience" CD/LP/Track Review The Ultimate Experience
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 10, 2017