Dr. Michael White

Jazz From the Soul of New Orleans

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Clarinetist/educator Dr. Michael White doggedly insists on the fresh creative potential of the very earliest jazz, and on this record he makes the case eloquently. Playing standards, crafty originals, and public domain spirituals, White emphasizes the polyglot nature of the New Orleans jazz heritage. The Spanish tinge of "Martinique" and "Calypso Girl," the gospel strains of "In the Beautiful Garden of Prayer," the good-time swing of "Fidgety Feet": White's fluttering, soulful clarinet directs it all, and his group responds with spirited, back-to-basics improvisation. (Thais Clark's bawdy vocal on "Horn Man Blues" is priceless.) One can hear echoes of White's old-but-new concept on more modern albums like Ted Nash's Sidewalk Meeting.

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