||New Orleans Delight
Gregg Stafford & Brian Towers
1. Second Line March * (P. Barbarin) 6:00
2. Some Of These Days * (S. Brooks) 7:32
3. What A Friend We Have In Jesus * (J. Scriven / C.C. Converse) 8:35
4. Fidgety Feet (La Rocca) 5:59
5. Milneburg Joys * (Morton) 6:59
6. St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy) 6:39
7. Just A Little While (trad, arr. New Orleans Delight) 6:06
8. Old Time Religion * (trad, arr. New Orleans Delight) 5:32
9. Dr. Jazz (W. Melrose / J. Oliver) 4:22
10.Hindustan (Wallace / Weeks) 6:26
11. What A Wonderful World * (Weiss / Thiele) 7:37
12. Saints * (trad, arr. New Orleans Delight) 4:00
Booklet 32 pages
Gregg Stafford (tp, vo*)
Brian Towers (tb)
Kjeld Brandt (cl)
Hans Pedersen (p)
Erling Lindhardt (bjo tg)
Stefan Kärfve (b)
Claus Lindhardt (dm)
Total playing time: 75:56
Recorded at Støberihallen, Hillerød November 9 , 2004 by Jørgen Vad
Mixed by Jørgen Vad, Erling Lindhardt and Kjeld Brandt
Mastering: Jørgen Vad · Jørgen Vad uses Audio-Technica microphones
Executive producer: Henning Schädler
Liner notes: Marcel Joly
Coverphoto: Jørgen Vad
Discphoto: Göran Magnusson
Layout and dtp: Kjeld Brandt
Music Mecca CD 4092-2
Our friend Gregg
In April 1989 during the Louisiana and Heritage Festival in New Orleans Gregg Stafford met for the first time the two Danes Hans Hurtigkarl and Flemming Doelle Larsen.
It was soon agreed that Gregg should come to Denmark to help the Carlsberg Brass Band to perfect the jazz beat before the band travelled to New Orleans the following year and Gregg arrived in the town of Hilleroed on his first visit to Denmark late 1989.
These meetings resulted in a warm and lasting friendship between Gregg and all the members of the Carlsberg Brass Band. Gregg thrived with the Boys from Hilleroed as he appreciated their special sense of humour.
Over the years Gregg has played with the Carlsberg Brass Band during numerous performances both in Denmark and abroad. As an example Gregg and the band played at the festival at Alandsoeerne in Sweden and it was a great success.
During the New Orleans Delight jazz bands visit to New Orleans in 2003. Holger Back, another jazz enthusiast and a living Jazz encyclopedia, also from Hilleroed, persuaded Gregg to play his horn with the New Orleans Delight band. Yet another great success.
Doelle, and during the later years, Holger have been landlords when Gregg visited Hilleroed which fortunately he does quite often. At the beginning of 2004 Holger and Alex Jacobsen, another of Greggs good friends, arranged this concert with Gregg and New Orleans Delight at the Stoeberihallen in Hilleroed. When the director of Stoeberihallen, Mr. Olaf Nyeng, retired a few months ago he declared that the New Orleans Delight/Gregg Stafford concert was the best performance ever during his 12 years period in office.
Gregg is very loyal to his many friends in Hilleroed. Whenever he is in Scandinavia he will always visit Doelle who is now in a nursing home.
So, if Gregg was not to perform in Hilleroed, where else?
- Kesser Nielsen
Hillerød, May 2005
Gregg Stafford, who has taken his rightful place in the long line of New Orleans trumpet heroes
I first met Gregg Stafford in 1977 during my first visit to New Orleans. He was 23 at that time (born in uptown New Orleans on July 6, 1953) but looked much younger. In fact he looked like a teenager to me, a teenager eager to play his horn. In those days, when Allan Jaffe was still alive, there often where late night jam sessions at Preservation Hall. After the audience for the regular concert had left, some of the veteran musicians hung around and joined forces with visiting musicians from all over the world to play some music for their own pleasure and in the old tradition of passing the music to a younger generation. Gregg was present at these sessions most of the time. I must honestly say that not too much attention was paid to him by the visiting jazz fans. There was a very young trumpet player from England in town, Colin Dawson, who sounded like a carbon copy of Kid Thomas. Much of the attention went to him, the young kid with the long hair (some people asked if he was a boy or a girl!) who played in the style of the old master. Later on Colin moved to a slightly different direction in jazz but, as I heard recently from someone who should know, he is still capable of playing some solid New Orleans horn. Anyway, I thought already then that the young black player Gregg I mean had a bright future waiting for him. Some people said he sounded modern. Nonsense! Look, they always say so when they hear something a little bit different. Even the very knowledgeable and wise Bill Russell once talked about DeDe Pierce as George Lewis modern trumpet player! It is a fact that in New Orleans no two musicians sounded exactly alike. Every one of them had their own personal style and that is one of the greatest charms of this music. Even at this early stage in his career, Gregg had his own individual style rooted in the old tradition of the city.
When I interviewed Gregg some years later, he told me that he had for a long time the impression, unlike most New Orleans musicians, that he was the first to play music in a professional way in his family. His grandfather on his mothers side, Albert Savage, had played baritone horn but never pursued music as a career. In 1979 he visited relatives in Lockport, Louisiana, and was talking to his grandmother and her older cousins. At that moment some unexpected branch of his family tree was revealed. Greggs great-great-grandmother, Louisa Savage, had a sister by the name of Emily. Emily married a gentleman by the name of Julius Allen. Emily and Julius had an offspring named Henry. We know him now as Henry Allen Sr., the leader of the famous brass band from Algiers. Henry fathered a son who became the world famous Henry Red Allen, once Kid Thomas competitor in Algiers, and later on a well-known jazz star and recording artist.
Gregg started in music merely by accident. In the fall of 1969 Gregg entered the Walter L. Cohen Sr. High School. When scheduling his classes, he wanted to enrol into an industrial art class, only to find out that he couldnt because the class was already overcrowded. The principal told him he could choose between four alternatives: vocal music, home economics, Spanish or instrumental music and that he had only one day to decide. Gregg went for instrumental music and jazz history was written! The reason for his decision was that he always had had the desire to play an instrument but was unable to because his parents couldnt afford to buy one or take the risk of purchasing one only to have him lose interest all of a sudden. Now in this case the school was furnishing him with an instrument. Another reason was that all of his friends in the neighbourhood had an instrument and were playing in the school band.
Gregg didnt consider his musical studies as a formal training but it was enough to inspire him to further research and to create new ideas. He was exposed to the study of chords, music theory, voice diction and piano. The cornet became his principal instrument, but he also plays sousaphone and bass drum. I heard him a couple of times with Teddy Rileys Royal brass band and, in my opinion, he is one of the most exciting bass drum players in the city. On cornet later replaced by trumpet he was not influenced by any particular musician. He listened a lot to Louis Armstrong records and picked things up from local favourites like Teddy Riley, Percy Humphrey and Jack Willis.
In the fall of 1970 he played his first job with the Gibson Brass Band, led by trumpeter Johnny Wimberley. Other members of that band were Floyd Anckle, leader of his own Majestic Brass Band, and the late Tuba Fats. After one year with the Gibson, Gregg became a member of Danny Barkers Young Fairview Christian Church Band., which included at that time Leroy Jones, Herlin Riley, Joe Torregano, Derrick Cagnolatti (Ernies grandson), Tuba Fats, Darryl Adams and Charles and Lucien Barbarin. Soon Gregg became the assistant band leader.
On Christmas evening of 1972 Gregg was given the opportunity to become a member of the famous Young Tuxedo Brass Band, once led by John Casimir, later on by Andrew Morgan. In 1972 the band was led by Herman Sherman. Today Gregg is the leader of the Young Tuxedo. Other members of the band in those days were Teddy Riley, Reginald Koeller, John Simmons (trumpet), Frank Naundorf, Awood Johnson (trombone), Joe Torregano (clarinet), Herman Sherman (alto sax), Ernest Doc Watson (tenor sax), Walter Payton Jr and Tuba Fats (sousaphone), Lawrence Trotter (snare-drum) and Charles Barbarin (bass-drum).
Less than two months later, in February 1973, he joined his fourth brass band, the Olympia, led by the venerable Harold Duke Everythings Lovely Dejan. In those days the Olympia had still some real old-timers in its ranks, people like tenor sax player Manny Paul, trumpeter Kid Sheik Cola and snare-drummer Andrew Jefferson, brother of trumpet star Thomas Jefferson.
When Leroy Jones formed his Hurricane Brass Band in 1974, Gregg became a member of that band too. With this band he appeared in The Minstrel Man a documentary movie shown on television in 1977. He recorded with the Hurricane as Gregory Vaughn, Vaughn being his second name.
From working with all those marching bands Gregg developed the great power he shows today. Most young black musicians in New Orleans started their careers in brass bands because these bands were the most important link between traditional jazz and black society. I have followed these bands many times. When they marched through a black neighbourhood people came running out of their houses to second line with the band.
In 1977 Gregg made his first trip overseas with the Fairview and performed at the Breda Jazz Festival in Holland. He also appeared as a guest star with the Belgian New Orleans Train Jazz Band and, still in Belgium, he played as a special guest at a Clyde Bernhardt concert. When I met him in Belgium I asked him if he liked Europe. His answer was: Yes, I like it, but the sandwiches are too small. They are, compared to their American equivalent!
Im mentioning all these bands and personnels to show that when I first heard Gregg at those jam sessions in 1977 he already had gained a lot of experience playing alongside many of the old New Orleans veterans. Soon he was asked to perform with several sit-down bands too. In New Orleans there are not many regular bands with a fixed personnel, the bands at Preservation Hall being the exceptions to that rule. He who got the job, is leader of the band and puts it together at that moment. So, as the years went by, I saw Gregg playing with Danny Barkers Jazz Hounds and with Chester Zardis Jazz Band. He also developed a close relationship with another young newcomer, clarinettist Michael White. When Michael formed his Liberty Street Jazz Band, Gregg became a regular member of that band. I heard this band at several French Quarter Festivals. With a front line of Gregg, Michael and trombonist Eddie Bo Paris and with Sadie Goodson on piano, Curtis Mitchell on bass and young Louis Cottrell grandson of the clarinet player of the same name and great-grandson of Armand Pirons drummer on drums, this was one of the most exciting bands I ever heard. When they played on one of the stages on Bourbon Street, the ever-growing audience blocked the street completely.
It would lead us too far to detail his further career the way I did until now. I will leave this to someone who will write a book someday about Gregg Stafford. I just want to tell the anecdote about Gregg and his little black dog. One day for an open-air job at the French Market, Gregg brought a little black dog with him. The animal sat in front of the band. Every time his master took a solo and only then the little dog started yelping and barking. It was a funny sight and everybody loved the act.
Gregg started to play at Preservation Hall as second trumpet player in the band of Kid Sheik Cola, when the latter was losing his power because of health problems. The respect he showed towards his older colleagues in the band was beautiful to see and should be a lesson to all beginning musicians. When Sheik finally stopped playing, Gregg took over the band and still leads it at the Hall.
Today Gregg can be heard on many recordings. The first one under his own name was already recorded in June 1977. This LP today is as rare as a mint Gennett by King Oliver! It was a remarkable record because it featured three generations of New Orleans musicians. The old generation was represented by banjo player Herman Antoine, whose only issued recording it remains to this day. Trombonist Awood Johnson and alto sax player Herman Sherman represented the middle generation, Gregg, Tuba Fats Lacen and Shannon Powell the young one. It shows the continuity of this first jazz style in the city. Later on Gregg was recorded by two old faithfuls of the New Orleans recording business: Big Bill Bissonnette aka B3 from Bridgeport Connecticut on his Jazz Crusade label and Mike Dine, from England, on his 504 label. He can also be heard and seen (video!) on George Bucks GHB label at a concert at the old Dew Drop Hall in Mandeville, Louisiana. Under the name Heritage Hall Jazz Band, he recorded an album of Christmas songs for Laserlight. In Canada he was recorded at a live concert with Brian Towers Hot Five Jazzmakers, issued on the bands own label, which brings us to the second guest with New Orleans Delight on this CD.
But first this: if someone would ask me to describe Greggs style of trumpet playing in one sentence I would use the words said about the great boxer Mohammed Ali: he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee!
Brian Towers has led Torontos Hot Five Jazzmakers for the past sixteen years. The band has a Saturday matinee residence at Cest what? in downtown Toronto. The band has issued 8 CDs on Brians own label BT (Best Traditional) and also recorded for Jazz Crusade. Brian is married to the bands regular reed player/vocalist Janet Shaw. Under his leadership the Hot Five Jazzmakers have appeared in Germany, Scotland and France and at several jazz festivals in Canada and the USA, especially of course in New Orleans. The style of the band can be described as a mixture of classic jazz and New Orleans revival. Their recordings definitely belong in every traditional jazz collection, being of the highest quality.
Born in England Brians involvement with jazz began in the late 1950s, when he was a founder member and trombonist of the Hastings-based Dolphin Jazz Band. When that band broke up in 1963, Brian formed the Jazz Caverners. Both bands were recorded by Brian Rust and John Waddell for the VJM label in the 1960s. In 1969 Brian moved to Canada pursuing a career in international banking, worked in the Caribbean for four years and returned permanently to Canada in 1974. In 1977 he discovered traditional jazz in Toronto at Grossmans Tavern. The band there were the Louisiana Joymakers, led by trombonist Pete Savory. On the drums at that time was the late Cliff Kid Bastien. Soon Brian was playing jazz again and first joined the Dixieland Rhythm Kings, led by Allan Kane. He inherited the Louisiana Joymakers when Pete Savory left Toronto to go to New Orleans. The Joymakers eventually evolved, after a series of personnel changes, into the current Hot Five Jazzmakers.
In 1982 Brian joined the Magnolia Marching Brass Band of his old friend Kid Bastien. After Cliffs sudden death in 2003 he compiled a discography of his friends issued recorded work and published it on a website. He met Kjeld Brandt for the first time in February 2003 on the occasion of Cliffs funeral. Both played at the ceremony.
Brian is a dedicated advocate of New Orleans style ensemble playing. He loves the original stylists such as Kid Ory, Honoré Dutrey, Jimmy Archey, Big Jim Robinson, Wilber DeParis, Tricky Sam Nanton, J.C. Higginbotham, George Brunis, Roy Palmer, Charlie Green etc. It is his ambition to play in the spirit of these originals, but to have his own personal style within the framework of traditional jazz. He is also a fine singer. Do yourself a favour and visit his website at http://hotfivejazz.tripod.com/TJM and get some of his CDs.
Taking early retirement from his banking career several years ago has opened fresh opportunities for concentrating on jazz. He acts as a house-husband and looks after the home and two young daughters while his wife still works full time. Every year he makes his trip to New Orleans. The Magnolia Marching Brass Band, mentioned above, has played twice for the opening of the French Quarter Festival. Both Brian and Kjeld Brandt were in that band.
The chemistry between New Orleans Delight and their two guests on this tour was unbelievable. They sound like they had worked together for many years. The result, as you will hear on this CD, is a tasty slice of good old New Orleans jazz of the highest quality. Gregg Staffords firework on the trumpet is supported by the band in a great way. He takes his rightful place in the long line of New Orleans trumpet heroes, completely within the framework of a long tradition but, at the same time, also completely individual. No one before sounded like him! Gregg is also a wonderful singer. You will hear his vocals on many tracks. He has the kind of voice that can only come from New Orleans! Take, for instance, Milneburg Joys, its a gem. The long-held note on his trumpet solo reminded me of Louis historical recording of Mahogany Hall Stomp. HOT is the key-word to describe Greggs playing and singing, but there is also a moving sweetness and tenderness in songs like What A Friend We Have In Jesus and the Louis Armstrong hit What A Wonderful World. Sweet and hot, thats exactly what this emotional music is all about. It is obvious that Gregg Stafford is the star of this CD, but the sturdy trombone of Brian Towers meets him at equal terms all the time. Kjelds clarinet, singing more than ever, completes what I call an ideal New Orleans frontline. And what can I say about this marvellous rhythm section? It is far away from the plodding trad sound of so many European bands. It has mastered the famous New Orleans street beat to a T. It is full of light and shade, delicate or exciting as the mood demands. The members of this great rhythm team dont take many solos, but when they do, they match the frontline in quality. It is obvious that Gregg felt completely at home in this company.
Writing these liner notes was again a pleasure and a honour. In these days, when almost all of the original New Orleans players have gone to their reward, musicians like Gregg Stafford, Brian Towers and Kjeld Brandt with his New Orleans Delight have become the keepers of the flame. Let it burn for many more years to come!
- Marcel Joly
Sidder og lytter til CD med Gregg fra Støberihallen. Det er det mest vidunderlige værk jeg nogensinde har hørt - helt fantastisk. Jeg har nok hørt den mindst 100 gange og jeg fortsætter.
Hilsen fru Alex
Today I received the two new CD's and I listened already carefully to them. As always with you and your band: again it are two new gems in the treasury of New Orleans Jazz.
- John van Zuidam, The Geroge Lewis Society
Thanks for the final mix, which arrived this morning. I do believe you have something very special here and I have great admiration at your leadership/management skills in putting this together.
Vive N.O.D. Gregg and Marcel etc!
Devotees of authentic New Orleans revival jazz will love this production.
Gregg is really something. He is so obviously a New Orleans man but he does not sound like anyone else - fantastic ! He is his own man!
Kid Howard; Bunk; Kid Shots; Kid Thomas, Herb Morand, Papa Mutt Carey, Nattie Dominique etc did not sound like anyone else either. They were all original and so is Gregg. This is the way of the real trail-blazers! Gregg is a very special guy and we are lucky to have played with him.
- Brian Towers, Hot Five Jazzmakers
Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier <http://www.jazzreview.com/contact/contacts_us-user_id.html>
New Orleans Delight set a benchmark with their 2004 sessions with Cliff Kid Bastien and George Berry. Sadly, both men have since moved on to their final rewards. It was felt that those recordings would not be equaled in the near future.
It seems, to this writer, that this new issue sets a new benchmark. The Copenhagen band recruited two of the most exciting players in the New Orleans Revival style for the new CD. From the Crescent City, trumpeter Gregg Stafford breathes fire as he kicks the septet along through a series of New Orleans favorites. Like Bix and Satchmo, Stafford is prone to frequent explosions causing audiences to rise from their seats. His vocals echo Armstrongs spirit, if not his gravel voice. This is Staffords finest session since his appearance on Prayin and Swayin At The Cross on the Jazz Crusade label.
Trombonist Brian Towers and his Hot Five Jazzmakers have been pulling in crowds on Saturday afternoons for a couple of decades to Torontos Cest What on Front Street. The quintet has a reputation for playing from a huge repertoire. Towers and partner, reed player Janet Shaw never allow a crowd to be bored. They dig up old, unheard chestnuts from the 20s, 30s and earlier, presenting them in a trademark Hot Five style. Both Towers and Shaw are active members of the Magnolia Marching Brass Band started by the late Kid Bastien.
While there isnt a mediocre track on this album, a few deserve special mention. Clarinetist Kjeld Brandt delivers a flawless solo on the old 1918 hit Hindustan followed by Towers Ory style trombone and Staffords incessantly swinging trumpet. The rhythm section explodes and equals the front lines exuberance. Other favorites are Shelton Brooks Some Of These Days, Jellys Milneburg Joys and the traditional Just A Little While To Stay Here. The bands new pianist Hans Pedersen delivers a pretty solo on What A Wonderful World while Gregg Stafford offers a vocal in Armstrongs gravelly style. Everyone gets a break on Paul Barbarins popular Second Line March and special kudos go to Claus Lindhardt for some great traditional drumming. New Orleans Delights unerring rhythm section deserves five stars for this performance. Bassist Stefan Karfve and banjoist Erling Lindhardt play strongly and sound better than ever.
This is clearly New Orleans Delights finest CD. Five shining stars!
CD reviews by Geogg Boxell, New Zealand
It would be nice to think that I helped to instigate this fusion. I came across Greg Stafford a few years back via a Jazz Crusade CD. I was so impressed that I mentioned to Kjeld Brandt, leader of New Orleans Delight, a band that does not have a resident trumpet player, that NOD should try and get Gregg to do a tour with them. This is that tour, but I am sure Kjeld already had it organised as Mr Stafford was already well know to Kjeld's contacts the other side of the Atlantic.
What caught my attention was not only Gregg Stafford's brilliance on trumpet but the fact that he was a black man from New Orleans. Although we all know that New Orleans and in fact all traditional jazz, is black in origin, we tend to forget that the only regular black faces in the post-war revival bands tended to be the original stalwarts that started the whole thing off years before. In recent years traditional jazz has become mainly a white man's preserve. Well her is Gregg and he has true New Orleans pedigree straight from the text book having started his career playing in the brass marching bands in that city.
Naturally you will see from the above reviews the esteem in which I hold New Orleans Delight, so their matching with Gregg was bound to be a success. The other guest is British born Canadian Brian Towers on trombone. NOD were between trombone players at that time and Brian proves to be a suitable fill in for the front line, but it really it is Gregg Stafford that this CD belongs to.
The material is hardly startling, but NOD and its guests still manage to serve these old favourites up hot and fresh. It was nice to hear the lyrics to Milneburg Joys' actually being used and I have had Second Line March' echoing through my head ever since I started to play the CD, which is a bit disconcerting when trying to sleep at nights. It is, however, the two tracks that I feel give Gregg the ability to display his talents that stick out. What A Friend We Have In Jesus' is truly magic, especially as it gives the whole band a chance to shine alongside Gregg. However, Gregg's rendition of What A Wonderful World' is, perhaps, the best tune for Gregg as accompanied only by the back line, with the sympathetic Hans Pederson on piano, he takes Louis Armstrong's tune and makes it his own. Ok, so at the very end he deliberately impersonates Satchmo, but to me it is iconic as I feel that Gregg Stafford is deservedly taking on Old Satchel Mouth's mantel.
Well done everyone, and when is the next tour and CD due please?
The Hot Jazz Channel Review:
New Orleans Delight are a delightful New Orleans style Scandinavian band led by semi retired graphic artist and more importantly clarinetist Kjeld Brandt. So well have they absorbed the idiom, the subtleties and nuances that to my mind they now carry the repository and torch for the music. It lives on with them like with few others - certainly few if any in New Orleans itself - and that&Mac226;s the reason so many visiting New Orleanians like Gregg Stafford choose to tour with them. On this occasion however they had the additional talents of Canadian trombonist Brian Towers and the results were electrifying. We've chosen to play you Milenburg Joys but any of the other eleven tracks would have been equally exciting. Ass I write the bandis on tour in the UK - if you have the opportunity don't miss them.
- Brian Harvey
Some years ago, Marcel and I were doing an interview with Narvin Kimball in the carriage way of Preservation Hall just before his nightly job with the Humphrey Brothers band and we talked about the fact that there were so few young musicians playing traditional jazz those days. And he replied, 'Just wait until they discover they can make a buck by playing it'.
Time proved him right. The music of New Orleans has never been a lively as today. There are so many young people playing At the time of the interview, only Michael White and Gregg Stafford were known to us. Now everybody knows that they have become international known and respected musicians who made already numerous recordings for different labels. Both played with great success at the Ascona Festival in June-July this year.
Gregg was already in England as a guest with the Rae Brothers and with Brian Carrick.
I knew Kjeld had for some time plans in bringing Gregg over for a tour with his New Orleans Delight.
From the music on this CD we can conclude that the tour was very successful, happy, joyful music, an unbelievable chemistry between the two guests and the band.
Brian Towers, an Englishman living in Canada, was the second guest on this tour. In Toronto, Brian leads his own band for a very long time. His Hot Five Jazzmakers have made numerous records and travelled all over to play at the best festivals.
I am very sorry, but this is once again a Delight CD that I can highly recommend to those of you who like true New Orleans music.
- Jempi De Donder
Just Jazz, December 2005
by Bert Thompson
In 2004. New Orleans Delight, the six-piece Danish/Swedish jazz band that uses guest trumpet players, for a European tour brought over Gregg Stafford from New Orleans to occupy the trumpet chair and Brian Towers (ex-U.K.) from Canada to fill the temporarily vacant trombone spot. Both are featured on this CD, the band's latest release, In New Orleans, Stafford plays with, and leads, the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, as well as the former Kid Sheik Cola band; in Toronto, Canada, Towers leads his own group, the Hot Five Jazzmakers. Stafford has made several appearances in Europe since his first in 1977, and Towers likewise has toured several countries with his own band prior to this solo visit.
As Marcel Joly says in his liner notes, both men dovetail seamlessly with the rest of the New Orleans Delight band members, sounding as if they have been doing this together for years. That is the mark of a good jazzman - he is a good listener and can "fit in" once he hears the other band members and the style played. And it says something for New Orleans Delight's Kjeld Brandt, who can choose guests that prove so congenial, and for the rest of the band who can accommodate such guests.
The proceedings get off to a good start with Second Line March, Lindhardt laying down a nice New Orleans street beat which is maintained throughout the tune, including a fitting drum solo. Stafford takes the vocal, his voice being easy on the ear. If you enjoy vocals by musicians, you will not be disappointed with this CD as some 50% of the selections are sung by Stafford. However, with What a Wonderful World (a tune - or at least the lyrics of which - most people seem to love or hate) he falls prey to the seemingly irresistible urge so many singers have to do a gravely Louis imitation, this one being mercifully short as it is only a couple of lines taking the song out. While on the subject of vocals, I should mention that the closing number, or at least the vocal on it, is actually a medley of When the Saints Go Marching In and I'll be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You, although such is not mentioned on the tray insert.
Stafford's trumpet playing displays a more modern sound than that of players of the previous generation, as he frequently uses a plethora of notes (as compared to the economical output of, say, Kid Thomas) and ascending and descending runs, as well as tending to explore the upper reaches of the high register, for instance his solo on St. Louis Blues or the coda on Hindustan. Now he can and does play a forceful, authoritative horn, and he is certainly in command of his instrument, but he resorts occasionally to some grandstanding that doesn't add a great deal to the music, such as the long, sustained note he holds on Fidgety Feet or Milneburg Joysmore a demonstration of endurance than a musical contribution, as far as I am concerned. So I have mixed feelings about Stafford's trumpet playing. Marcel Joly says, Stafford "ha[s] his own individual style rooted in the old tradition of the city," so we will just leave it at that.
The other guest, Brian Towers, exhibits some nice mute work on Some of These Days and, along with Brandt, provides sensitive backing to Stafford's lead on What a Friend We Have in Jesus. He also displays this quality, as well as his tastefulness, as he plays behind Brandt on Just a Little While to Stay Here. But he can and does play robustly as well - he is a versatile trombonist.
On the subject of backing, I wish there had been a bit more ensemble playing, the hallmark of the New Orleans style, particularly behind solos by the front line members, rather than the its being left so often to just the rhythm section, fine as it is.
All in all, however, what we have here is another very good disc in an increasingly long line of same from New Orleans Delight. As well as good music, they provide some exposure of the musicians who guest with the band to those who might not be familiar with their work. By all means add this disc to your library.
Like other Music Mecca CD's, this one can be ordered on-line at the following internet websites: www.cdjazz.com (e-mail [email protected]) or www.jazznblues.co.uk (e-mail [email protected]).
New Orleans Music
Vol. 12 No. 5. 2006
New Orleans Delight is a successful Danish band with several CDs also available on the music Mecca label. Some of these feature visiting musicians from overseas, as here at a concert recorded in 2004. Featuring New Orleanian Greg Stafford and trombonist Brian Towers from Canada replacing the bands regular brass men.
Overall I found this to be a very pleasant CD to listen to, well balanced and swinging with excellent cohesion between the visitors and the home team. The rhythm section pulses along nicely and I was particularly impressed by pianist Hans Pederson, although it is perhaps unfair to single out one musician from a unit that works so well as a section. It seems ridiculous to refer to Greg Stafford at 50 as one of the younger generation of traditionally styled New Orleans trumpet players, but unfortunately this does seem to be the case. His somewhat rolling style takes a bit of getting used to, but he lays down a solid lead, puts his vocals across with conviction, and solos impressively throughout. Brian Towers and the sometimes slightly under-recorded Kjeld Brandt provide excellent support, and solo and occasionally duet well, making this a well balanced front line in a well put together live session.
The choice of numbers is varied with a mixture of standards, hymns, a couple of crowd-pleasers at the end and a march, which I found an unfortunate choice for the opening number, as it gives the impression of over-recorded drums, but overall, a well balanced concert selection. A nicely produced CD with full notes on Greg Stafford and Brian Towers by NOM contributor Marcel Joly, but unfortunately nothing about New Orleans Delight, so presumably to obtain this information one has to refer to their other CDs. Nevertheless, very enjoyable, well produced and recorded, and worthy of purchase.
- Charlie Crump
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