JAZZ AND BLUES
Saturday 03 January 1998
Anybody not yet able to face up to going out can bring home a little party atmosphere by acquiring the latest CD by the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. Aptly entitled Funknicity, this Rounder release is an infectious collection of originals, plus a funked-up rendition of the Average White Band's "Pick Up The Pieces". Of course, this young outfit makes a noise reminiscent of the likes of other modern New Orleans brass bands, such as the Dirty Dozen and the Rebirth, but there are traces of Charles Mingus and Blue Note-type bop in there, too.
Marcus Roberts is also steeped in the New Orleans tradition. For many years associated with fellow neo-traditionalist Wynton Marsalis, the pianist shares his soulmate's ambition as well as what some critics see as a certain sterility. The album Blues For the New Millennium (Columbia), actually appeared a little while back, but - as the title suggests - makes appropriate turn-of-the-year listening. In being dominated by blues - the first two tracks are by Robert Johnson and Jelly Roll Morton - it brings out a soulfulness not previously much apparent in this obviously highly talented musician's work.
Finally, for those seeking something a little quieter, there is Jeffrey Smith, a young singer in the Johnny Hartman mould who, on the album A Little Sweeter (Gitanes/Verve), puts a distinctive take on such well-known songs as "Eleanor Rigby" and "Love for Sale". A distinctly classy affair.
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