Various Artists

Edition Pierre Verger: Louisiana - From Lafayette to New Orleans

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Louisiana -- From Lafayette to New Orleans is a fair album of Cajun, zydeco, and New Orleans jazz from the old catalogs of Sunset France and Playasound. The music has its highs and lows here, with the Cajun represented largely by Groupe File and a quartet of other players. Unfortunately, the music tends toward the sloppy end in this section of the album -- still rollicking, but not with the tight performance that one normally expects. It's a bit slow, a bit dreary, and not quite helped enough by a cameo from the great Dewey Balfa. The Dockery Boys hold up the zydeco end, and tighten up the mechanics of the music a bit from the Cajun performers. The music still tends toward the slower end (an oddity for zydeco), but it's a step forward. The Mississippi Stompers hold up the tail end of the album with some New Orleans jazz, and finally it comes together well. It's a bit odd-seeming in the instrumentation (a trombone takes lead on "Old Man River," a tinkling piano takes a bit of a stance here and there), but the collective improvisation is good. With the true wealth of Louisiana's music out there to be had, this album can easily be forgotten -- and probably should be.

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