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

More Articles

Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read No Matter Where Noir CD/LP/Track Review No Matter Where Noir
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Out Of Silence CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Plodi CD/LP/Track Review Plodi
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Secret Language CD/LP/Track Review Secret Language
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 17, 2017
Read Shamat CD/LP/Track Review Shamat
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Moments Of Fatherhood" CD/LP/Track Review Moments Of Fatherhood
by John Sharpe
Published: April 9, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Rebel Portraiture" CD/LP/Track Review Rebel Portraiture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Converging Tributaries" CD/LP/Track Review Converging Tributaries
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 5, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor