Jazz Crusade, as the name suggests, continues its quest to put to CD New Orleans jazz performed by a roster of memorable practitioners of this music, which is an important keystone of jazz. The title implies with the word return, that the Mouldy 5 was somewhere and is now back. And that's exactly the case. Big Bill Bissonnette, the leader of Jazz Crusade, is bringing back the group he once headed during the 1960's. There's been a few personnel changes since then as one might expect. Mould Dick McCarthy (better known as Mouldy Dick) has been replaced by Colin Bray on bass and Dick Griffith's banjo spot is now in the capable hands of Emil Mark. But three original members are still going strong, Bill Sinclair, Sammy Rimington and Big Bill.The play list consists of 18 tracks and, for a refreshing change, does not include those staples of traditional jazz one generally finds on so called "dixieland" jazz albums. Rather, there's nonconformist tunes like "The Best Things in Life are Free", "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "Where the River Shannon Flows". All familiar tunes to be sure, but not usually played New Orleans style.
English born Sammy Rimington is the featured player on this reincarnation of the quintet, although all members get plenty of opportunity to spend time in the solo spotlight. Rimington is a disciple of George Lewis whose style was shaped by the non creole playing tradition rather than by the famous New Orleans clarinet teacher, Lorenzo Tio, Jr. who taught and influenced many of the clarinet players in the Crescent City. Thus Rimington has a wide vibrato and frequently employs glissandos which were so common to the George Lewis school. Many of the tunes on this CD clearly reveal this approach, but especially a lovely "Where the Blue of the Night" (Bing Crosby's theme song) and "The Best Things in Life Are Free". The former features some fine piano by Sinclair. The slow drag tempo special to this music is best articulated in the "Mouldy Five Blues". This tune by the way is a head arrangement was not planned for the session, but just came up during the set. They just started playing it feeding off each other's imrpov.
Bill is on New Orleans type drums putting away his trombone for this session. Emil Mark's banjo keeps time throughout sustaining the rhythm for each tune making Colin Bray's bass almost unnecessary. This unique album - - unique mainly because of the play list - - of New Orleans jazz makes one glad that the Mouldy 5 have returned after almost 40 years. This CD is recommended.
Track Listing: The Best Things in Life Are Free; Magic is the Moonlight; I Want You; Where the Blue of the Night; The Old Spinning Wheel; Beautiful Ohio; River Stay `Way from My Door; Roses of Picardy; Forgive Me; Mouldy Five Blues; Rock of Ages; Red Sails in the Sunset; Smiles; On the Road to Home Sweet Home; Where the River Shannon Flows; When the Swallows Come back to Capistrano; Should I?; One Sweet Letter from You
Personnel: Sammy Rimington - Clarinet; Bill Sinclair - Piano; Emil Mark - Banjo; Colin Bray - Bass; Big Bill Bissonnette - Drums
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.