George Girard

Sounds of New Orleans, Vol. 6

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Ill-fated trumpeter George Girard, who died of cancer at the age of 26, only led a few sessions in his short life, making this Storyville release of live performances quite valuable. Girard is heard in 1954 in prime form jamming with trombonist Santo Pecora, clarinetist Raymond Burke, tenorman Lester Bouchon, pianist Jeff Riddick, bassist Chink Martin and drummer Monk Hazel; of the four songs, Pecora's "Zero" is the high point. In addition, there are six numbers from July 1956 that would be Girard's final recordings. Although his comeback after a few months of inactivity was cut short, the trumpeter still sounds surprisingly viable with a sextet also including trombonist Bob Havens and clarinetist Harry Shields, taking spirited vocals on "Sweethearts on Parade" and "Doctor Jazz." Girard's passing was a tragic loss for New Orleans jazz, but there is nothing tragic about these exuberant Dixieland performances.

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