Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

221

Heritage Hall Jazz Band: Live at the American Theatre

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Now entering its third decade, the Heritage Hall Jazz Band performed a concert at the American Theater in Hampton, Virginia, one year and a day after hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Producer Paul Lentz's insightful liner notes provide a time stamp amid the chaos and adverse conditions in the wake of the hurricane, where New Orleans' traditional jazz legacy entered into a holding pattern. Musicians had no choice other than to seek work elsewhere, and thus the city became a jazz ghost town.

The crème de la crème of the Big Easy's jazz stars converged for an out-of-area homecoming of sorts, where the spirit of its birthright reconvened with an exhilarating and unrelenting reprisal. Trumpeter Greg Stafford, guitarist Steve Blailock and other renowned artists redirected dour circumstances into a noteworthy transformation marked by soaring lines, Fred Lonzo's gutsy trombone solos and Stafford's innocuous Doc Cheatham-like vocals. It becomes quite easy to discern that the joint was jumping.

Pianist Mari Watanabe's strutting and shuffling piano voicings abet the rhythm section's largely foot-stomping swing vamps, while Stafford's trills and emotive use of vibrato—in concert with Lonzo's wah-wah-drenched trombone lines—instill ardor and compassion on "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

The band trades vivacious fours with lighthearted appeal and forthright intentions throughout. Legendary vocalist Jewell Brown (who was Louis Armstrong's featured vocalist for seven years) joins the set, starting on the beloved standard "All of Me. With a charismatic stage presence and a dynamic delivery, Brown's audience-pleasing persona glistens radiantly. She kicks the band into high gear during "Love Come Back to Me, while digging a knock-down, drag-out blues groove on "Good Morning Blues. On the latter, we hear the horn players' triumphantly climactic choruses appending emphasis to Blailock's fusion of jazz and Mississippi blues-style licks. Sparks were flying that night as Brown and the band emerged as merchants of good cheer. In sum, the spirit of New Orleans' cherished musical heritage is renewed with a prevailing sense of immortality here. Zealously recommended.


Track Listing: Just a Little While to Stay Here; Some of these Days; Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?; St. Louis Blues; Fidgety Feet; All of Me; Lover Come Back to Me; You

Personnel: Mari Watanabe: piano; Mitchell Player: bass; Shannon Powell: drums; Steve Blailock: guitar; Jewel Brown: vocals; Gregg Stafford: leader, trumpet, vocals; Roderick Paulin: tenor saxophone; Fred Lonzo: trombone.

Title: Live at the American Theatre | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Heritage Hall Productions


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Connect" CD/LP/Track Review Connect
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "Out of Place" CD/LP/Track Review Out of Place
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Dream a Little Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream a Little Dream
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "The Behemoth" CD/LP/Track Review The Behemoth
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "TajMo" CD/LP/Track Review TajMo
by James Nadal
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Adam's Apple" CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!