New Orleans jazz, or Dixieland as it is often regrettably called, has been written off as a vital part of jazz more times than one can count. But it continues to be performed by a wide range of musicians for appreciative audiences all over the world. Attempts to bury it by its detractors fall into the category of wishful thinking. Here two former members of one of the more famous New Orleans groups, the Dukes of Dixieland, get together to give a fine account of themselves on a fun album.
The play list is a mix of tunes generally associated with New Orleans, played with fervent authenticity by two fine musicians. Their approach is somewhat more genteel than one usually hears. That's due mainly to the absence of instruments usually found in New Orleans groups, e.g., the trombone, banjo or guitar, drums and especially the unique wail of the clarinet. Nonetheless, that special happy, warm feeling only this music can engender is there on such cuts as "Up a Lazy River and "Chinatown, My Chinatown "where Clark adds the mute to his horn.
The session's legitimacy is enhanced by the use of the cornet on which Clark displays a significant facility. McDermott's piano is founded in the tradition of great pianists from that city such as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Domino and lesser known artists like the idiosyncratic James Booker. These two have taken on a formidable task of sustaining interest in the music with just two players. But they manage and in doing so give a different listening perspective to "St. Louis Blues" and "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and other warhorses. A bit refined for some perhaps, but this CD makes its own contribution to the legacy of the music from the cradle of jazz. As an added fillip, the liner notes contain five famous Louisiana cookin' recipes. Visit Kevin Clark's Internet home at www.kclarkjazz.com.