On Mercernary the good doctor, Mac Rebennack, performs a Voodoo mass on the music of Johnny Mercer, casting it in the gris-gris patois of his native New Orleans. This union of standards and Creole is a contentious one, showing that one cannot force a square peg into a round hole. "Blues in the Night, "I'm an Old Cowhand, and "Lazybones all sound miscast on this recording. The funk infusion given Mercer's music smothers the delicate melodies.
Dr. John has already proven he is a master of the straight (or almost straight) standard on recordings like In a Sentimental Mood (Warner Bros., 1989) and Afterglow (Blue Thumb, 1995). Mercernary has much in common with Duke Elegant (Blue Note, 2000), where Dr. John doffs his beret to Edward Kennedy Ellington and transforms the Duke's canon into his own Creole languageagain, with mixed results.
In spite of this, fans of Dr. John will find this recording enjoyable because of his irrepressible creativity and swing. Dr. John could very well be the inheritor of the Ray Charles poly-musical mantle, though he may have to fight Van Morrison for it.
Track Listing: Blues In The Night; You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby; Personally; Hit The Road To Dreamland; I
Personnel: Dr. John: Vocals, Piano; John Fohl: Guitar, Backing Vocals; David Barard: Bass, Backing Vocals; Herman Ernest, III: Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals; Herbert Hardisty, James Rivers, Eric Traub: Tenor Saxophone; Alonzo Bowen: Trombone Saxophone; Charlie Miller: Trumpet; Steve Simon: Percussion.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.