Jacques Gauthe, born in Gascony, France, decided upon a career in jazz after World War II. While he was in Paris, he heard Sidney Bechet, eventually taking lessons from the New Orleans jazz master. Since then, Gauthe has formed several groups, performed and recorded extensively, and became a member of the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band. This album brings him together with some of the more active traditional jazz players for more than 70 minutes of the music which made jazz a favorite both here and abroad, the New Orleans style. It's clear from this session that Gauthe remembers well his Bechet lessons, as he comes as close as any to Bechet's style of playing, both with the clarinet and the soprano saxophone. His playing is passionate and filled with movement as he dashes headlong, often at unbelievably fast tempos, into the melody before taking off on flights of improvisional fancy. While the ride is often wild, Gauthe remains in full control, never finding himself in a situation where he can't return to the melody line with ease. Anarchy has no part in his playing. The kickoff tune, "I Got Rhythm," sets the stage as Gauche dazzles with runs and arpeggios at fast tempos. His compatriots stay with him note for note as this track features some fast-paced playing by Reide Kaiser on piano. "China Boy" is the scene for some mighty banjo strumming by Emil Mark and telling drum breaks by Taff Lloyd. Gauthe shows a softer side with "South" as he turns to his soprano sax, again with a tone reminiscent of Bechet. This is another fine release by the Jazz Crusade label and is recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan