New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars – “Big Kibosh, the” – [Shanachie Entertainment]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

The New Orleans Klezmer???s third CD is a bit of a departure from their funky/ jazz New Orleans style. I think somebody challenged them to play “traditional Jewish music” and they took it on. The result is a return to the roots of the style but still much more than Trad Klez. When the band focuses on the old style we loose some of the free-form sax duets of previous performances and the beat is not quite the same, but this is by no means a boring record. Just more traditional ;-)
The last track reverts to the more normal NOKA style – a long flowing danceable klezjam (watch out for a short pause of about 45 seconds in the middle) followed by some funny commentary on some of gigs they get, then more music.
-Dave Richoux

Altruda, Joey – “Kingston Cocktail” – [Will Records]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

This is a fun thing that actually works: take a small jazz dance combo, add flavors of Ska, Reggae and 50???s lounge (cha-cha, rhumba, etc.) in a big cocktail blender – mix well and serve to all those Gen-XYZ types that think Ska is the Next Big Thing.

Yes it is a concept who???s time has come: Ska-Lounge-Kore! In spite of the calculated marketing effort this is actually a good record. The jazz has value (if a bit light,) the ska beat is understated (no hiccupping t-bones here,) there is some very good Hammond B-3 playing. I think people could really dance to the music. The last track reminds me somehow of that 60???s song “Spooky”–Dave Richoux

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble – “Continuum, the” – [Delmark]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

The following statement is not true, but what I heard when I first listen to this recording: The Art Ensemble of Chicago was on a world tour, stopped in deepest Africa. Somehow they lost a trombone & sax after the concert and the locals got hold of them – creating a new tradition – honk & squirt horns with roots talking drum and percussion.

Actually, the EHE has been around Chicago for a long time blending African music with jazz. In this current form the personnel has almost totally changed, but the spirit is still strong. There is a authentic, tropical, hot feel to this recording – very much in keeping with the tradition.

Trombonist Bowie (no relation to Lester, I think) is also leader of Defunkt, worth a listen.

Dave Richoux

Yockamo All-Stars – “Dew Drop Out” – [Hannibal Records]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

What an interesting project – get together some of the best jazz, R&B, brass band, and rock musicians working in New Orleans today (both native and “imported”) and come up with a set of great arrangements of that special Big Sleazy sound – this has done it to a T. Mostly instrumental and in a great deep groove throughout.

This is not a revival project – everything sounds quite fresh, but you will not mistake that New Orleans beat.

Try any track – you won???t be dissapointed.

(Dew Drop Out refers to the now closed nightclub the Dew Drop In – the place just about every black musician on tour since the late 30???s played when in New Orleans – from Ellington to Brown (Chas & James) to Little Richard, as well as locals like Professor Longhair and vocalist Bobby Marchan.)
–Dave Richoux

Mazurek, Robert & Chicago Und. – “Playground” – [Delmark]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

Here is something a bit different in 90???s jazz – driving, inventive creation, semi-improv, with a lot of guts and fury, but no saxophones! Actually the feel of this group can shift dramatically from a low pulse to a brass explosion, but there is not any “Squonky” stuff here. Much better than dinner jazz – and a lot of fun with some goofy instruments and a mix of percussion.

Mazurek has recorded 3 albums in a more “bop” style, but here he is trying out a lot of new directions and flavors from all over the world.

I like this one a lot.
–Dave Richoux

Indigo Swing – “INDIGO SWING” – [Welt & Placket]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

Indigo Swing is a local (SF) band that has been at the forefront of the “Swing
Revival” in the Bay Area. Along with several other bands mining the rich music
of the ???40s and early ???50s in Jump Music, early R&B and Swing Jazz Standards –
this is music that is both fun to listen to and good for dancers.
This particular record is a bit low-key on a few tracks, but with classic Louis Jordan style songs and honking tenor sax from Baron Shul the overall quality is great.
I look forward to more recordings from all of the up and coming stars of this interesting revival.
-Dave Richoux

Rebirth Brass Band – “Here to Stay” – [Arhoolie Productions]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

This is a reissue of the Rebirth???s first LP. Back when it first came out in 1984, I tried to add it to KFJC, but the MD at the time would not take it. How times have changed! Although the musicians on this record were barely out of high school, they played with a bright, full, driving quality that has lead to a true “Rebirth” of the New Orleans Brass Band tradition (even more than their friends “The Dirty Dozen” who were always a more arranged group.)

All the tracks are hot, so just pick one!
-Dave Richoux

Crown Royals – “All Night Burner” – [Estrus Records]

domitype   1/19/2009   A Library, CD

Do not confuse the Crown Royals with the Royal Crown Review. This Quartet is a
hot, honking, tight cross-over somewhere between the JB Horns / Mussel Shoals
/ T.O.P. sounds and a blusey, jazzy bar band. All instrumentals, and very dancable. I can see these tracks as a future bed for some heavy rap, but they really stand on their own. They sound like a much bigger band than a quartet, but I don???t think they are over-dubbing.
-Dave Richoux

Kismet – “Curious Yellow” – [Daisy Records]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

Back when John Lurie started the Lounge Lizards, the term we used for that
kind of music was: “Fake Jazz” It wasn???t anything else, but it did not seem to
fit into the categories of jazz. Kismet is doing a new kind of “Fake Jazz”
with a mix of toots, beeps, floaty rhythms, goofy compositions, and an odd
variety of things that aren’t songs, but aren’t anything else. I really liked
it, but there are a lot of very quiet passages that almost sound like silence,
so watch your levels.

Dave Richoux

New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars – “Manichalfwitz” – [Gert Town]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

Another hot recording from the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, those Klezmers
with the funky street beat of the Neville Brothers’s “Mean” Willie Green on
drums (on some tracks the new drummer, Stanton Moore takes over). The extreme skill of the two reed players, Ben Ellman and Rob Wagner, would do well in any New York loft jazz session, yet they still keep the flavor and reference of
the klezmer style. I have seen this band live many times and they can get a
crowd of dancers really into orbit – even me (and I can’t dance a bit)
Fast , Furious, Fun, Freylech, Funky, F***in’ GREAT !

Update: Most of these band members have gone on to form other groups – most notably Ben Ellman and Stanton Moore now mostly play as “Galactic.”

Lucia, Ingred & Flying Neutrinos – “I’d Rather Be in New Orleans” – [Flying Neutrinos]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

I first saw this group playing in a coffee house in New Orleans and they just
knocked my socks OFF! Ingrid Lucia has a beautiful, sweet/sad, powerful – yet
– minimal voice that reminded me of Billie Holiday (though she does not think
so herself.) They also played the Jazz Fest and completely dominated – 3
encores and many standing ovations from a very demanding audience.

The band started as kids on the streets of New Orleans but they soon moved to
New York. Guest artist Doc Cheatham is one of the last of the “old-guys,” a
trumpeter from the first generation of New Orleans Jazz, still playing strong.
-David Richoux

Specter, Dave – “Left Turn on Blue” – [Delmark]

domitype   1/19/2009   Blues, CD

A Big Guitar kinda blues, but with a heavy Jazz/ 40’s-50’s R&B influence from
this Chicago based electric guitarist/songwriter, Dave Specter and his
Bluebirds. There is a solid two horn section and a groovin HAMMOND B-3 from
veteran Brother Jack McDuff, along with vocals and harmonica work from Lynwood
Slim (a SoCal blues guy since the 70’s.) Really a good feel to this record. I like!

Dave Richoux

Kubis, Tom – “Fast Cars & Fascinating Women” – [Sea Breeze]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

Oh ! It’s that multi-talented guy: Steve Allen, again. He’s not just a
humorist and writer, he actually writes songs ! Over 6000 of them ! He even
sings them ! (Well, fortunately only ONCE on this record.)
The Tom Kubris Big Band is one of those Southern California studio / put –
together for the session organizations, but, hey! The solos are solid, the
arrangements are first rate, and only a few of the songs fall into that
“dinner jazz” category (marked ICK), so I give it a good rating.
-David Richoux

Lamb, Barbara – “Tonight I Feel Like Texas” – [Sugar Hill]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Country

Barbara Lamb is a country fiddling /bluegrass /western swing / jazz/ cowgirl
singer from such bands as Asleep at the Wheel and Ranch Romance. On this CD
she covers a lot of territory with some very nice playing and vocals, with a
lot of help from some Austin and Nashville types. There is NOT much
“Hot-Fiddle” pyrotechnics – but there is a lot of solid, very enjoyable music
from a variety of country and (mostly) western styles.
-David Richoux

Kabalas, the – “Martinis & Bagels” – [Dionysus]

domitype   1/19/2009   A Library, CD

Right from the Quad-Cities (Davenport,Iowa; Rock Island and Moline Il) comes
this Modern Klezmer group. With just two accordions, a sax and drums, and a
goofy sense of humor in the lyrics, I think this is a Mid-West They Might Be
Gnats crossed with a great cheezy Catskills lounge act. Some of the songs go
just a bit towards Weird Al territory, but this is not parody-rock, thank god
! I like the traditional instrumentally as much as the group’s original
compositions. Fun Stuff !

Even an ode to Madge, The Dishwashing Lady!

Studebaker Hawk

Stewart, Bob – “Then & Now” – [Postcards]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

I am always glad when a new tuba driven recording is released. Bob Stewart has been playing his horn in a variety of jazz, rock, blues, and studio groups for years. One of them, Gravity, was a 4 tuba ensemble that recorded with Taj Mahal back in the early 70’s. On this new CD Taj comes back to redo two blues songs from that session – Big Kneed Gal and Fishin Blues (JOE ED — TAKE NOTE). The impact of 4 bass horns is missing, but rest of the musicians fill in fine. The other compositions show the many qualities of the tuba – rhythmic riffage, slow ballads, bop, even a fast ragtime.
The only exception I take with this CD are the pretentious liner
notes from Stewart – saying that the tuba has done little in jazz since 1923 –
to this I say HA!
Dave Richoux

Teagarden, Jack – “Club Hangover Broadcasts” – [Arbors Records]

domitype   1/19/2009   CD, Jazz

In 1954 San Francisco was still a major city for traditional/dixie Jazz (after the revival in the mid 40’s) and Jack Teagarden was a All-Star, late of Louis Armstreong’s band, on his own out on the West Coast. His band became a regular at the Club Hangover and his sister, the late Norma Teagarden joined him on piano. The shows on this recording were broadcast on CBS with the added treat of solo piano work from Lil Hardin Armstrong – one of the members of the Hot Five and Seven, Louis Armstrong’s first jazz band – and a major composer of jazz tunes in her own right.
An interesting note: because of a cabaret tax law in force, Jack could not sing at the Club Hangover without charging a 20% tax to the customers (he was
as famous for his singing as his trombone playing)

Most of the tracks are announced on play through, but if you cue up to a
song the CD should skip the announcement. YAY! – David Richoux

New Orleans Nightcrawlers – “S/T” – []

domitype   1/18/2009   CD, Jazz

This is a New Orleans Street-funk/Jazz band in the basic style of the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth with a bit of a difference: They are not little black kids from the wards. They are skilled and inventive studio quality musicians who really know their way around their horns. Kevin Clark and Barney Floyd are both powerful high note trumpeters and Matt Perrine is both fast and solid on the Sousaphone. The rest of the band in equally good.
There are no really weak tracks on this CD, but I especially like their takes of the traditional “Bourbon Street Parade” and “Just a Little While to Stay Here.”
– David Richoux

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