All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

124

Henri Smith: New Orleans Friends & Flavors

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
Those familiar with the New Orleans radio and television community (WWOZ-FM and WSJZ-FM and the "New Orleans Live" show) have undoubtedly heard Henri Smith's deep, resonant voice and his suave smooth delivery — first as a disc jockey and then as a TV host. Henri has also parlayed his high Crescent City profile into roles in many TV commercials and more recently parts in major Hollywood movies including: Double Jeopardy , Primary Colors and A Lesson Before Dying.

Through the years, Smith has performed in nightclubs, jazz joints, bars, concert halls and at festivals all over the world. His music is a conglomeration of New Orleans Jazz, funky syncopated Blues, R&B, Zydeco. Latin, Country and Swing, all punctuated by his wonderful delivery. On his first CD, Smith brings in the big guns. The star-studded roster of players on New Orleans Friends and Flavors (if there ever was an appropriate name for a CD – this is it!) reads like a Who's Who of the New Orleans music scene. Smith has enlisted the talents of multi-faceted percussionist Bill Summers, trumpeter extraordinaire Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison on sax as well as arrangements, Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen on (what else) tuba, Jason Marsalis of Los Hombres Calientes and the world-famous Marsalis clan on vibes, Thadeus Richard (who has provided his talents to recordings by Paul McCartney and Dave Bartholomew) on piano, Nat Simpkins (as producer/arranger/saxophonist) and many others on this fine debut CD.

The CD contains eight tracks. Each one is a gem and many are surprises. The album opens with the Nawlins fave, the lively "Big Chief," given a Cajun/Caribbean flavor. This is accomplished by combining Summers' congas and Smith's cajun-like vocal affectation. The second track, the Hoagy Carmichael standard "New Orleans," is given a bluesy treatment. Burt Bacharach and Hal David are represented with "Walk On By," which is given a mid-tempo arrangement. Jason Marsalis makes his presence known on "That Old Black Magic." Another jazz-infected lounge song is Cannonball Adderley's "Work Song" (featuring solos by both Harrison and Simpkins). Next up is a cover of Buck Owens' classic country/western favorite "Cryin' Time." Smith and company have rearranged into a slower even more serious and somber song. The Latin-flavored (what else?), "Spanish Rice And Beans" and the bass-backed "Them There Eyes" round out this remarkable, but all-too-short debut recording.

From the very beginning it is obvious that this isn't the usual/average vocal jazz album. Smith has created a wonderful amalgamation of the styles, genres and cultures that comprise both modern jazz and that extremely hard-to-pin-down beat known as New Orleans jazz. No, this ain't Dixieland and it certainly isn't traditional. But it's absolutely worth listening to and cherishing.


Track Listing: 1. Big Chief (King) - 6:23 2. New Orleans (Carmichael) - 5:48 3. Walk on By (Bacharach/David) - 4:35 4. That Old Black Magic (Arlen/Mercer) - 5:30 5. Work Song (Adderley) - 4:36 6. Cryin' Time (Owens) - 5:01 7. Spanish Rice and Beans (Simpkins) - 5:45 8. Them There Eyes (Pinkard/Tauber/Tracey) - 3:24

Personnel: Henri Smith - Vocals Cecil Brooks III - Arranger, Drums, Producer Bill Summers - Conga Kermit Ruffins - Trumpet, Vocals Roland Guerin - Bass Donald Harrison - Arranger, Sax (Alto) Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen - Tuba Jason Marsalis - Vibraphone Kevin Morris - Bass Steve Reynolds - Engineer Thadeus Richard - Piano Wendell Brunious - Flugelhorn Nat Simpkins - Arranger, Sax (Tenor), Producer Jerry Anderson - Drums Herman Leonard - Photography

Title: New Orleans Friends & Flavors | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Bluejay Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Ariel" CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Starebaby" CD/LP/Track Review Starebaby
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 6, 2018
Read "Earth" CD/LP/Track Review Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Return To Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Return To Mind
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Tschuss Jazz Era" CD/LP/Track Review Tschuss Jazz Era
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "G8S" CD/LP/Track Review G8S
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: November 11, 2018