Various Artists

National Geographic: Destination New Orleans

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Another cultural immersion album from National Geographic's collaboration with Sugo Music. This installment in the series National Geographic: Destination focuses on the broad spectrum of music available in New Orleans. Jazz is certainly a strong point for the album, as one would expect from something claiming to show the birthplace of jazz. Beyond the obvious though, there are some other items of note. Zydeco is well represented by the past and present kings of the genre, as Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat Zydeco each contribute a number, as well as newcomers Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots. The funky eclectic piano men are here as well with Professor Longhair and Dr. John each tossing a piece into the pot. There's even a good dose of spiritual easy listening as old-timer Lawrence Welk clarinetist Pete Fountain lays out a thick layer of sound on "A Closer Walk With Thee." There's even a bit of a Latin influence as ¡Cubanismo! perform the title track from their Mardi Gras Mambo album, effortlessly fusing New Orleans jazz with mambo. After a good romp around the spectrum of possibilities, the album finishes off on the ultimate standard as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays "When the Saints Go Marching In." As with the other National Geographic: Destination albums, detailed cultural information is included in the liner notes, making it a nice addition to the collection of the curious listener. Also, as with the other installments in the series, this album makes a good starting point for further exploration into the genres represented. Give it a listen, or toss it in the stereo for background listening during an active day.

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