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MILTON BATISTE

THE GENTLE GIANT with Kid Adam’s La Vida New Orleans Jazz Band

Jazz Crusade JCCD-3094 2004 12 tracks 74 min

NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN, BOGALUSA STRUT, BLUEBERRY HILL, MARDI GRAS IN NEW ORLEANS, ROCK ME, GEORGIA ON MY MIND, WEARY BLUES (BREAK IT; SHAKE IT), ST. JAMES INFIRMARY BLUES, ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET, WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD, WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN, ST. LOUIS BLUES

‘Kid’ Adam has been involved with the renowned, but unfortunately now deceased, Milton Batiste since 1977 when he started booking the Olympia Brass Band for tours in Europe. However, it was not until 1993 that he got the trumpeter to come over on his own to play with Adam’s La Vida New Orleans Jazz Band. This recording is from their second gig together on that tour. There were no rehearsals or discussions about what tunes were to be played. Batiste’s attitude, apparently, was ‘Let’s see what happens.’ The result is this CD is very ‘live’; as such it is very exciting with much spontaneity. Whilst the ‘live’ bit works well for the performance, it is a drawback in sound quality. I am not sure how many microphones they were using, but I suspect just two, and even that a ‘left/right in the same hood, as the stereo effect moves around in a rather disconcerting way at times with little instrument separation.

The music is an eclectic mix of street parade, jazz, blues and R&B, with ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Rock Me’ very R&B: ‘Blueberry Hill’ gives Fat’s Domino more than a nod and ‘Rock Me’ comes complete with calling to the audience for responses. Indeed this whole album just rocks and I would imagine even the conservative Calvinistic Dutch were unable to refrain themselves from dancing. Buy this CD and play it and I defy you NOT to dance whilst listening to it! In fact the CD cover should carry the warning: ‘Do not play this CD whilst on your own. The prospect of being caught doing a solo skip jive to ‘Brake It, Shake It’, or solo creep to ‘St James Infirmary Blues’ is too embarrassing to contemplate.

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