REALITY RCD 112 1991 16 tracks 56 min

Bye And Bye, I Had Someone Else Before I Had You*, Maple Leaf Rag, Red Wing, You've Been A Good Old Waggon*, Maryland#, I Can Do Most Anything For You, I Can't Quit That Man*, Snake Rag, Big Boy*, The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, Bugle Boy March#, Sorry, Over The Rainbow, While We Danced At the Mardi Gras

Never one for modesty the "World Champions of New Orleans Jazz, USA" claim to be one of the last fully professional traditional New Orleans Jazzbands in the UK. Personally I think that they have a "broad" rather than "strict" New Orleans style, but they never stray outside of Traditional Jazz. But, as those who know me are aware, I am comfortable with most Traditional Jazz styles, and lack the education to get involved in detailed arguments as to just what comprises a "New Orleans" style. Since first hearing the band some 25 years ago I have had a fascination for the way that they always seem to sound so much more relaxed than other bands, well certainly Max himself, on trombone, always sounds unhurried and his playing effortless. The overall effect is made more amazing by the fact that the relaxed ambience is able to encompass the, at times, punchy style of Phil Mason on cornet. At this point I would like to make the comment that Jonny Boston, the clarinet player, is a dead ringer for the man he replaced in the band - Jack Gilbert (the only man I know to have recorded with Ken Colyer playing alto sax instead of clarinet). An interesting technique the band use on Maple Leaf Rag and Sorry is a break with the front-line only playing. This is not a one off gimmick as I have heard them do it many times before, and it is startlingly effective. On this album the band are joined by American blues singer, Marilyn Middleton Pollock*, and it is a good match with both her and the band feeding off of each other. On two 2 of the track we get to hear the band within the band, The Saints Marching Band#. Not my favourite style of Traditional Jazz, but yes, they are good.

There is nothing exceptional on this CD, nothing bad either, just consistently good jazz by a consistently professional band. There are a variety of tracks, most well known but some rare, played in a variety of traditional styles, but most certainly there are no duds. It is well worth listening to.