Various Artists: New Orleans

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: New Orleans
The city of New Orleans counts many styles among its diverse musical offspring, including jazz, the focus of this compilation of old and young players alike. It's a timely entry by Putumayo, a world music label whose every release comes with the proclamation that it's "guaranteed to make you feel good!" No false claim in this case, lest you suspect otherwise. After visiting the area for three previous releases devoted to cajun, zydeco, and a self-described gumbo stew of styles, Putumayo settles down into a familiar groove for eleven mostly vocal jazz selections. Roughly half actually mention the city in their lyrics.

Old-timers will likely celebrate the appearances of trumpeter/vocalists Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima, both featured here with bluesy overtones. Armstrong's brief 1966 recording of "Tin Roof Blues" has scratchy sonics—unlike the rest of the set, which is quite clean—but it is essential to complete the big picture of New Orleans jazz, especially in the light of younger players like Kermit Ruffins, who openly claim inspiration from his music.

Ruffins gets the whole thing started, in fact, with "Drop Me Off in New Orleans," a second-line funk workout with syncopated horns and a suitably rough-edged vocal delivery. (An entire Ruffins sampler has been timed for release in conjunction with New Orleans, appropriately enough.) He's joined in the up-and-coming department by Nicholas Payton, who teams up with Doc Cheatam for "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues."

Two versions of the ever-popular "Basin Street Blues" appear, but Dr. John's take wins hands down for color, deliberate drama, and undulating swing. Those three qualities, along with a certain romantic flair and underlying festivity, tend to characterize most of this music, accounting for its palliative nature. That and the fact that it never over-intellectualizes or challenges the listener along the way.

As is essential for any collection like this, liner notes (by Baty Landis, accompanied by translations into Spanish and French) provide informative background on each artist in the set. Original source material is cited for further pursuit, along with relevant web sites, two pages of New Orleans resources, and a very detailed gumbo recipe by Chef Paul Prudhomme.

All in all, New Orleans is affable, warm and welcoming, not unlike the city itself.

For sound samples and more, visit Putumayo on the web.

Track Listing

Drop Me Off in New Orleans; I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues; Basin Street Blues; Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams; Baby, Won't You Please Come Home; The Devil Done Got Me Blues; Tin Roof Blues; Basin Street Blues; Give it Up (Gypsy Second Line); Going Back to New Orleans; Bye and Bye / When the Saints Go Marching In.


Kermit Ruffins, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, Gregg Stafford, Doc Cheatham- trumpet, vocal; Nicholas Payton, Wendell Brunious, Duke Heitger, Kevin Clark- trumpet; Duke Dejan, Deacon John Moore, Topsy Chapman- vocals; Dr. John- piano, vocal; Thaddeus Richard- piano; Dr. Michael White, Pete Fountain, Donald Suhor- clarinet; Sam Butera- tenor saxophone; Lucien Barbarin- trombone; Kerry Lewis- tuba; Don Vappie- guitar; Benjamin Jaffe, Mark Brooks- bass; Herman Lebeaux- drums; others.

Album information

Title: New Orleans | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Putumayo World Music

Post a comment about this album


Shop Amazon


Sone Ka-la 2: Odyssey
Jacques Schwarz-Bart
It's My Turn
The Echo Park Project
Da Fé
Dan Blake
Dream Disobedience
Elisabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang
Soul Conversations
Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band
Sud Des Alpes
The Rempis Percussion Quartet
Sabu Toyozumi / Mats Gustafsson


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.