The body of Crescent City trumpeter Irvin Mayfield's work might be considered "a love letter to New Orleans," and this compilation of his Basin Street Records recordings, assembled to accompany a book with each song constituting a chapter (it is available as a stand-alone CD and in a CD/book package), certainly makes that case. Drawing from such albums as Love Songs, Ballads and Standards (a duo collection with Ellis Marsalis), Half Past Autumn Suite, and Strange Fruit, plus Mayfield's work with the group Los Hombres Calientes, the music ranges from traditional N.O. "Indian" chants and second-line playing to straight-ahead jazz. Mayfield's different projects make for a range of music that is almost too varied. Strange Fruit, for instance, is a concept album about a 1920s lynching, and music from it sits oddly beside, say, the version of Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett's "Superstar" from the Ellis Marsalis album. But it all relates to New Orleans somehow, and the album gives a good sense of Mayfield's recorded accomplishments so far.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann