Various Artists

New Orleans Revival 1940-1954 [Fremeaux & Associes]

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Based in Vincennes, France, the Fremeaux & Associes label specializes in historical recordings of classic jazz and blues. New Orleans Revival 1940-1954 is presented as a sequel to their earlier release, New Orleans Jazz 1918-1944. It focuses almost exclusively upon music made by the originators (or early second-liners) of the style rather than their younger emulators and imitators. Bunk Johnson, Kid Ory, and especially George Lewis get more room than anyone else, but with two discs to fill, the producers really went to town assembling a healthy selection of the Crescent City's best old-time players, warts and all. Highlights include a beautiful blues duet by Sidney Bechet and George Baquet; a fascinating street parade version of "Maryland, My Maryland" played by Louis Armstrong & His Dixieland Six; and visitations from great musicians with interesting monikers like Big Eye Louis Nelson, Punch Miller, Mutt Carey, and Wooden Joe Nicholas. It's handy to have on hand an index of people sharing the same nickname, as in Kid Ory, Kid Thomas, Kid Rena, Kid Clayton, and Kid Shots Madison; to be able to compare the styles of clarinet legends Albert Nicholas and Emile Barnes; or to hear what trumpeter Herb Morand was up to after his tenure with the Harlem Hamfats. Part of the fun in hearing these mature musicians grind out their old-fashioned melodies is the relative absence of anything resembling glitz, glamour, or pretentious showmanship. Kid Rena, for example, glibly presents "Get It Right," a bouncy shuffle better known as "Do What Ory Say" but originally entitled "Kiss My Fuckin' Ass." Most of the liner notes are in French. Anyone entranced by these amazing musicians may consult the New Orleans-based American Records label for more complete chronologically presented reissues.

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