Dukes of Dixieland

Louisiana Legends

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The 2002 version of the Dukes of Dixieland is one of the strongest since the death of Frank and Fred Assunto in the 1970s. The band has the potential to break out any time with forceful and exciting Dixieland and the group's soloists, particularly clarinetist Earl Bonie, trombonist Ben Smith and trumpeter Mike Fulton, are excellent. This particular outing is a bit of a mixed bag. All of the songs are supposedly either written by New Orleans performers or made famous by players from the Crescent City, although it is difficult to put Fats Waller's "Latch On" in that category. Luther Kent takes several good-time vocals, usually on the more R&B-oriented pieces. The Dukes switch comfortably between New Orleans R&B and hot jazz so this is not a set for Dixieland purists. However there are plenty of hot moments along the way with the highlights including "Dukes Stomp," "Somebody Stole My Gal," an inventive reworking of "Snake Rag" and "Ory's Creole Trombone."

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