Drummer Hal Smith regrouped the New Orleans Wanderers, a group he had organized in 1992, for this 1995 recording. Changing their name to Hal Smith's Creole Sunshine Band, the septet mostly performs tunes associated with Kid Ory, fully utilizing the British trombonist Mike Owen (who has the ability to be a near-soundalike of Ory). The occasional musician vocals are better than usual on tunes such as "Do What Ory Say," "Farewell to Storyville," and "Sweet Emmalina." The front line of trumpeter Duke Heitger, trombonist Owen, and clarinetist Orange Kellin is strong; the rhythm section of pianist Steve Pistorius, Amy Sharpe (who takes an outstanding vocal on "Six Feet of Papa") doubling on guitar and banjo, Tom Saunders on bass and tuba, and leader/drummer Smith really pushes the group. This is a New Orleans jazz set with a lot of spirit and impressive musicianship. All 16 selections are fun and full of joy.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow