Early in 2002, Jazz Crusade label impresario Bill Bissonnette went to New Orleans to cut some CDs which featured contemporary Crescent City jazz musicians. One of the products was this album of a New Orleans brass band headed by classic jazz master Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen. The brass band is one of the oldest musical formats in New Orleans, coming into vogue shortly after the Civil War, and has been a revered institution ever since. One of its main purposes is as a marching band, usually solemnly accompanying the recently departed to their final resting place and then joyously celebrating life on the trip back. One gets a feel for the trip to the cemetery with a dirge like "Lead Me Saviour," with a surprisingly tender and delicate solo by Lacen on the big instrument. The happy trip back gets a working out on "Hindustan." In addition to playing their respective horns, all of the front-line men, plus Gerald "The Giant" French, get a chance to do a vocal. One of the vocal gems is "Ice Cream," a favorite of Willie Humphrey with the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Society. Here it's done in the gruff style of trumpet player Kenneth "Little Milton" Terry. There's some excellent alto sax work on this cut by Darryl "Lil' Jazz" Adams. The brass of the brass band is joined by two regulars from the Jazz Crusade stable, Reide Kaiser on piano and Emil Mark on banjo. While their presence is apparent, it's the brass men, plus the drummer, who make this CD the joy that it is. Recommended.
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