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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KID ORY

The Kid from New Orleans

Upbeat URCD236

 

 

The Kid from New Orleans

1. Snag It

2. Somebody Stole My Gal

3. Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet

4. Runnin’ Wild

5. Swanee River

6. Ole Miss

7. Black and Blue

Red Allen, Kid Ory, & Jack Teagarden at Newport

8. Jack Teagarden Introduction

9. Muskrat Ramble

10. High Society

Kid Ory in Europe

11. Memphis Blues

12. Washington and Lee Swing

13. Basin Street Blues

14. Tiger Rag

15. Dippermouth Blues

16. South


Kid Ory – Trombone, vocal (tracks 7, 9)

Jack Teagarden – Trombone (tracks 9, 10)

J. C. Higginbotham – Trombone (tracks 9, 10)

Marty Marsala – Trumpet (tracks 1-7)

Red Allen – Trumpet (tracks 9, 10)

Alvin Alcorn – Trumpet (tracks 11-16)

Darnell Howard – Clarinet (tracks 1-7)

Buster Bailey – Clarinet (tracks 9, 10)

Philip Gomez – Clarinet (tracks 11-16)

Cedric Haywood – Piano (tracks 1-7, 11-16)

Claude Hopkins – Piano (tracks 9, 10)

Frank Haggerty – Guitar (tracks 1-7)

Charles Oden – String bass (tracks 1-7)

Arvell Shaw – String bass (tracks 9, 10)

Wellman Braud – String bass (tracks 11-16)

Earl Watkins, Jr. – Drums (tracks 1-7)

Cozy Cole – Drums (tracks 9, 10)

Kansas Fields – Drums (tracks 11-16)


Recorded on Oct. 27, 1957 in Los Angeles, California (tracks 1-7); July 4, 1957 Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island (tracks 8-10); Dec. 5, 1956 Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Paris, France (tracks 11-16).

This disc, part of the Kid Ory LP reissue series on CD that Upbeat has been releasing, is comprised of the following: tracks 1-7 from Verve LP MGV1016 (The Kid from New Orleans) tracks 8-10 from Verve LP MGV8233 (Red Allen, Kid Ory, & Jack Teagarden at Newport); tracks 11-16 from Verve LP MGV8254 (Kid Ory in Europe – the other two tracks from this LP being on URCD 259).

All of the selections on this CD reissue are well known—indeed, some could be called “standards’” for the genre—and the combination of LP’s provides something of a contrast between bands and performances. The group of seven tracks that form the first “half’ were recorded in a studio, making for excellent sound—the balance meticulous, the tone warm. The band is very relaxed, as the laid back tempos indicate, and there is no rush for the finish line on any of the tunes. The rhythm section lays down a solid four-beat base, the anchor being Frank Hagerty’s chording on guitar, the sound of which Ory preferred to that of the banjo. Darnell Howard supplies some nice filigree work with arpeggios behind Marty Marsala’s clean trumpet lines, Ory growling away in the background. There are no histrionics here, Marsala being content to stay mostly in the middle register although he shows he is also comfortable in the upper register on occasion. Everyone is given the chance to solo, but the emphasis is always on the ensemble which frames each solo and often provides backing riffing. Earl Watkins was not a flashy drummer, but kept solid time and his four-bar tags are always tasteful, with no accidental rim shots or cymbal crashes. These tracks are, for me, the highlight of the recording, and I could have wished there were more of them.

The other “half,” the last six tracks, suffer a little from comparison. They are recorded at a live performance in Paris and do not enjoy the “perks” of a studio recording. The balance is off somewhat, Kansas Fields bass drum pounding four-to-the-bar rather loudly. That, coupled with his penchant for playing a backbeat on the snare and, when called on to solo, doing so in rather rambunctious fashion, detracts. The crowd, of course, loves it all, whistling and cheering and egging the performers on. The result, overall, makes for a less than satisfying listening experience. Tempos become a bit frenetic, with Basin Street Blues being fairly brisk and flirting with disaster in the double-time portion of the piano solo, followed by Tiger Rag bursting out of the gate and not relenting until it was over. Undoubtedly the musicians were caught up in the raucous audience response, but musicality suffers in consequence.

Sandwiched between these two “halves” are a couple of tracks from the Newport Festival of 1956. (Track 8 is not really a track as it is merely a short spoken introduction by Jack Teagarden with no musical content.) The two cuts Muskrat Ramble and High Society are just small, almost perfunctory jam sessions and, being somewhat of a mish-mash, deliver little that is worthwhile. The audience response, fairly restrained, seems to indicate a similar assessment.

So it is a mixed bag, really. I would want the CD for the first seven tracks alone, and each time I play it in future it will be for these. The rest will get only an occasional hearing.

Bert Thompson



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