Thomas Jefferson

Dreaming Down The River To New Orleans

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Thomas Jefferson was one of the top New Orleans trumpeters of the 1960s, a lyrical and melodic player who also sang in a style that hinted at Louis Armstrong. Unlike some of the trad dates of the era, his sessions always found the musicians in-tune and featured high musicianship in addition to spirited playing. This set, Dreaming Down the River to New Orleans (from 1962) features Jefferson (who takes four vocals) with three different groups; it is a pity that his name is not listed as leader, for he is the star throughout. Jefferson performs four numbers in a sextet with trombonist Jim Robinson (in peak form), clarinetist Louis Cottrell, pianist Lester Santiago, bassist Jerry Adams, drummer Paul Barbarin, and four others with Barbarin in a group featuring trombonist Frog Joseph and clarinetist Sam Dutrey. Sister Elizabeth Eustis and a choir sing on "Just A Closer Walk With Thee." The remainder of the set has Jefferson in an excellent octet with Joseph and both Cottrell and Raymond Burke on clarinets. Overall, the ensembles are clean but exciting, the solos are concise and meaningful, and Jefferson's playing is quite enjoyable, clearly inspiring the other players. A gem.

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