Friday, January 20, 2017

Jelly Roll Morton 1928-29 (featuring Russell Procope, George Baquet, Albert Nicholas, & Barney Bigard) * CD 322 from JSPCD Jazzbox903 * Remastered by John R.T. Davies

When starting this blog over six years ago, I knew it would take a while before addressing recordings like these. The repertoire is important, because many of the tunes are great and the composer/bandleader was a giant of jazz, but the clarinet playing is generally bad and sometimes awful. My goal for this blog was (and remains) to build a substantial body of reviews demonstrating true greatness of clarinetists throughout the various eras. Unfortunately, the overall recorded catalog of music that was created in the 1920s and 30s, which is arguably the most important era for the clarinet, was a bit indiscriminate as to the quality of players. Many of the greatest virtuosi (Jimmie Noone, Benny Goodman) were recorded right alongside some of the worst clarinetists ever documented in the studio. The poor players are almost universally flat, can't handle high notes especially, their tone is overwraught and weak from overblowing,  they break notes, their tonguing his ham fisted, their rhythm is bad, and unfortunately, they are too often copied as "authentic" by amateurs and doubling professionals alike.

While blues grittiness and pitch inflection are an essential part of playing jazz clarinet, an overall flat and flabby tone is not competent playing, no matter who is doing it. Neither Sidney Bechet nor Jimmie Noone played this way--their styles, while far apart in terms of timbre and instrumental approach, are worthy models of imitation. The same can be said of many Johnny Dodds recordings, such as the sides he cut with King Oliver. But Dodds, like many others, struggled at times with his pitch, and we should be honest about those moments. Now a word of caution: we shouldn't take this too far as no one plays spot on in tune, in a mechanical sense, every time. You can find plenty of examples of variable intonation, especially if you're tracking note to note, in any of the great players--including classical virtuosi who work within even more limited intonational parameters. But as a rule, the great players aren't sagging consistently below pitch, or riding a quarter tone sharp either.

This collection demonstrates the big step down in clarinetistry in Jelly Roll Morton's bands after the initial recordings with Omer Simeon and Johnny Dodds. A young Russell Procope (who had improved somewhat by the time he played with Ellington) plays flat on December 6, 1928's "Red Hot Pepper" and his solo on "Deep Creek Blues" is a real disappointment for such a beautiful tune. We can only imagine what a player like Noone or Bechet would have done.

By July 9, 1929, Procope had been replaced by George Baquet, who isn't any better. His clarinet is particularly bad on the out chorus of "Burnin' the Iceberg" and haunts "Courthouse Bump" and "Pretty Lil" from the same date as well. His intonation is so bad it sounds almost like a drunken parody at times. His low level playing continues on the next day's session, flabbing his way through a solo on "Sweet Aneta Mine" and sticking out horribly for his flatness on "New Orleans Bump (Monrovia)."

The torture continues on July 12, 1929, when Baquet rasps, flabs, and squeaks his way through "Down My Way", "Try Me Out", and "Tank Town Bump." I can't stress it enough: This is not 'authentic' jazz clarinet playing; it's just incompetent. Frankly, this sort of playing is unlistenable for any serious clarinetist, revealing that the standards for our very difficult instrument were sometimes poorly maintained on recordings, even by the most important band leaders. The clarinet playing is so bad the recordings would have better without a clarinet--and unfortunately, perhaps in part because of hideous performances like these, many bandleaders started deciding exactly that.

By November 13, 1929, Jelly Roll had replaced his clarinetist again, this time for a Red Hot Peppers session featuring Albert Nicholas, the childhood friend of Sidney Bechet who was to record successfully with him later in life. These recordings are not Nicholas's greatest recorded work by a long shot--he tends to be on the flat side, and his solos aren't great-- but he's at least a step up from the truly abysmal playing of Baquet.

Even Barney Bigard can't rescue this album, though his clarinet playing is better than most on the disc. The final four tunes, recorded on December 17, 1929, feature the Jelly Roll Morton Trio with Bigard on clarinet and Zutty Singleton on drums. Bigard struggles with his high clarion, altissimo intonation, and his attacks. Even though his ideas tend to be decent (he was a far more competent clarinetist at this point than anyone else on the Jelly Roll Morton sessions from these years) that really isn't saying much. His playing is excruciatingly out of tune on tunes like "Turtle Twist" and "My Little Dixie Home." This isn't good's actually embarrassingly bad for someone who was to play better (if inconsistently) in the future.

So why bother writing a review like this? Well, there are a couple of reasons. One of them is to say there have to be professional standards. If  a player can't handle the instrument on a basic level of musicianship, they can do real damage to the estimation of the instrument overall. Players like Buddy DeFranco and Artie Shaw routinely dismissed or disparaged the early New Orleans players, implying or openly saying they weren't important to the history of the instrument in jazz. If all anyone had heard were these Jelly Roll Morton sides, or some of the Hot Fives session where Johnny Dodds struggled with his intonation, this could be understood as an act of professional self preservation as much as anything else. This disc features such bad clarinet playing, it makes you want to go back in time with a saw and savagely adjust their barrels. But to dismiss all of New Orleans clarinet because of this would be terribly wrong. All one has to do (and should do) is listen to some Jimmie Noone as an antidote.

This disc earns a broken reed for clarinetists.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jimmie Noone with Kid Ory * 1944 * Essential Media Group CD (not numbered) * 2011 reissue

Last year, I stumbled across YouTube recordings of some of the very last performances of Jimmie Noone, from just weeks before he died in 1944, after joining Kid Ory's band on the Orson Welles Radio Show. Today, I'm happy to report that this CD reissue, with no liner notes or mention of the historical importance of the contents, appears to be a remastered collection of air checks dating from the last days of Jimmie Noone.

Jimmie's unique staccato technique and soaring altissimo are immediately identifiable on "High Society", though as I mentioned last spring, his playing of the 'test solo' suggests he might have been having trouble breathing at the time.

Though the cover says this is Noone with Kid Ory, I don't believe for a second that all of the tracks feature Jimmie on clarinet. The second track, "Sugar Foot Stomp" features a clarinetist who can only be considered incompetent compared to a master like Noone. The mystery clarinetist has a rough tone, plays out of tune, and is rhythmically far sloppier than Noone.  

Tracks 3, 4, and 5 feature Noone again on "Muskrat Ramble", "That's A Plenty" and "Panama Rag"--the only recordings of Noone on these standards, so far as I know. The lilting staccato, lightness of touch and velvety roundness of tone without sacrificing power are all there--that unique inimitable quality of Noone's distinctive Creole style. He doesn't take a 'solo chorus' on any of these, Ory opting for the band to remain with a polyphonic approach throughout. True lovers of this style will recognize that Jimmie is actually soloing the entire time, and while the rest of the band has its roughness (the lead trumpet is at times pretty poor), Jimmie is uniformly brilliant--showing an entirely different approach to this music than we often hear.

Track 6 is entitled "Jimmy's Blues" and is actually a version of "Tin Roof Blues. Noone isn't the clarinetist. Whoever it is, he was nowhere near the virtuoso of Noone. His tone is rougher, has none of the distinctive Noone style, and he plays flat. This is likely the clarinetist from "Sugar Foot Stomp." My guess is this was played as an homage to Noone after his passing.

Yet another clarinetist seems to be present on "Savoy Blues." The clarinetist's tone has more of that velvety quality we associate with Creole clarinet, including his altissimo and high clarion notes, but his technical figurations sound less like standard Jimmie Noone and in fact very much like Barney Bigard. Likewise with "Weary Blues." The soloing is very good, but if this is Noone, the soloing style is very different than any other recordings of his.

With "C'est L'Autre Can Can", we're perhaps back in the hands of a mystery clarinetist, but I wouldn't try to guess who. "Blues" sounds like it might indeed be Noone again...but perhaps not.

The transfers on this disc aren't the best quality, and the lack of notes and/or clarity about the personnel make this it bit frustrating, but to have several of the very last performances of Jimmie Noone commercially available at all makes up for most of the frustrations. The search for an audiophile level remaster of these (and more if they exist), with good historical information on the performances remains, but until those are available, Jimmie Noone fans will definitely want this disc.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Johnny Dodds by G.E. Lambert * A.S. Barnes & Co. * 1961

That this slim paperback volume, only 88 pages total, put out as part of Barnes & Co's Perpetua "Kings of Jazz" series in 1961, is the only book length study we have of Johnny Dodds, might seem monumentally depressing if not for a couple of facts: First, sad as it might be to say, it's more than we have for Jimmie Noone. Second, while its brevity is disappointing, the content is solid and interesting.

Chapter One give a brief seventeen page outline of Dodds's life and career. Lambert discusses the racial divide in the New Orleans of Dodds's youth, with two distinct musical styles developing: one Uptown, where the black [ or "Negro"] community developed a more blues-based music, the other Downtown which favored more refined Creole orchestras. [pg 4]. Dodds operated between the two communities. As Lambert put it "Dodds himself was a Negro...but by this time a degree of mixing was standard in New Orleans bands. For example, when Johnny took his first full time professional engagement, it was with Kid Ory's band; Ory is [sic] a Creole from La Place, a small town ear New Orleans, who first brought his band into the city in 1913."

In 1920, Dodds replaced Jimmie Noone in King Oliver's Creole Orchestra in Chicago, where he entered the most noted part of his career. The roaring '20s were to be the decade in which Johnny made his mark, recording classics with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton. And while some of his work from the 1930s, when he was leading bands himself, might feature even more definitive solos for clarinetists to study, it's his work from the '20s that will undoubtedly remain the most famous.

Dodds remained in Chicago even after the center of gravity for jazz shifted to New York in the 1930s, and like so many of his generation of New Orleans style players, his contribution was too quickly neglected. Unlike some of his contemporaries, such as Sidney Bechet, Edmond Hall, Louis Armstrong, and Barney Bigard, he didn't live long enough to get a second wind with the New Orleans revival starting in the 1940s. As Lambert puts it:

"The biography of Johnny Dodds is a tragic one, rising through his quick success in New Orleans, on to the triumphant years in Chicago with the Oliver band, and the many fine recordings he made while leading his own group at Kelly's Stables, only to fade suddenly into the twilight obscurity of the last ten years of his life. He was admired by all the musicians who heard him in the early days--even Benny Goodman, a musicians far removed in style and temperament, has said that he never heard anyone get a finer tone out of the clarinet than Johnny Dodds--while the majority of his 1920 recordings are numbered among the ageless classics of jazz." [pg 16]

Lambert's analysis of Dodds's playing is keen and sensitive to fluxuations and changes throughout Chapter Two, which deals with the recordings.

In the third and final Chapter, the author offers his assessment of Dodds's contribution to jazz, and some of the points he makes are so profound, it's surprising and gratifying that anyone was publishing them in 1961. For example, when discussing the solo breaks Dodds made on the King Oliver recordings, Lambert points out:

"Almost any of the breaks by Oliver or by Dodds on these records are as perfected rhythmically as anything in later jazz, but the emphasis and the style were different, and unless we realize this we cannot help but fall into the error of constantly undervaluing the work of the New Orleans musicians. They were not simply pioneers whose place in jazz history was to pave the way for Louis Armstrong and his successors, but men with a fully developed and valid way of playing. It is true that an approach to this sort of jazz can be made neither with the techniques of the European academy, nor if one wishes to find in jazz a pleasant appendage to European culture." [pg 66-67]  

These observations are no less relevant today then when they were first published. Although it is a very slim volume, it's filled with such insights, pointing towards a reconsideration of this remarkable musician and his playing.

Fortunately for us, it will continue to be available for the foreseeable future, as Amazon now offers it in Kindle format.

Sidney Bechet with Noble Sissle 1931-1938

After the brilliance of Sidney Bechet's playing on the recordings with the Clarence Williams Blue 5, his releases with Noble Sissle and His Orchestra in 1931 are a disappointment. Relegated mostly to section playing on baritone sax, there is little to hear beyond the occasional eight or twelve bar solo during competent (but decent) commercial dance arrangements.

Despite this, the increasing public demand for big bands must have made the stability of such gigs attractive, and Bechet returned to the studio with Noble Sissle and His International Orchestra in 1934. There's nothing bad about the arrangements; the band sounds good enough, especially when compared to similar outfits from the early '30s, but Bechet was a bad fit in this sort of music, and for the most part seems disinterested even in the brief solo passages he's given. An artist like Bechet was just never meant to be used as filler between a vocalist and an arrangement. If he was a basketball player, he'd be described as a "volume shooter" or one "needing the ball in his hands." Musically he was a point guard, rather than a center. On this set, even his more inspired playing on "Polka Dot Rag" seems out of place. This didn't stop him from continuing, however, fully into the Swing Era, and it didn't stop Sissle from featuring him on numbers. 

Considering the great success of Benny Goodman after 1935, it is somewhat surprising to hear Bechet still on soprano sax for his solos on tunes such as 1936's "You Can't Live in Harlem." With all of the band's forces at work, the soprano has difficulty distinguishing itself timbrally, and however good Bechet's solo, he doesn't soar the way Benny could in an eight bar break, or how he himself could in a small ensemble context. If nothing else, recordings like these can help us recognize the comparative brilliance of Goodman in similar orchestral circumstances, demonstrating how difficult it is to musically succeed in them. The one occasion Bechet seems properly used comes on their final orchestral recording with him on "Dear Old Southland" where he's given a bravura introduction and multiple choruses. Working within an arrangement that fits his playing better, we're given us a tantalizing glimpse of what could of been, had his talents been better showcased in this large ensemble setting. 

Perhaps inspired by the success of combos such as the Goodman Quartet, by 1937 Noble Sissle seems to have realized small group work would be worth pursuing with Bechet, and the results were far more interesting. Of the six sides that were recorded by "Noble Sissle's Swingsters" and "Sidney "Pops" Bechet with Noble Sissles Swingsters" in 1937 and '38, five were written or co-written by Bechet, and several of them are important examples of Bechet's work as a player and composer. "Okey Doke" and "Characteristic Blues" are chock full of clarinet blues techniques and, on the latter, even a High Society 'test solo' quote, rounded off with a glissando. Sidney seems far more relaxed and in his element, able to stretch and give fuller range to his musical thought. Likewise, "Viper Mad", "Blackstick", and "When the Sun Sets Down South (Southern Sunset)" are good examples of his work from this era.    
So what are we to make of the Noble Sissle era? We can be grateful that the bandleader kept Bechet employed and active in music, documented on recordings, and that he eventually decided to record to his great soloist's strengths. While the lion's share of the recordings with Sissle aren't representative of Bechet's importance or brilliance, there are few, especially from the last sessions, which no student of Bechet would want to miss.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers (featuring Omer Simeon and Johnny Dodds) 1926-27 * CD 321 from JSPCD Jazzbox903 * Remastered by John R.T. Davies

[This review covers the first disc of the five CD JSP boxed set of Jelly Roll Morton remasters by John R.T. Davies.]

If you've listened to a lot of early jazz before checking this out, the first thing you recognize is just how good the band is. In terms of ensemble playing, the colors of the instruments and how they are used by Morton are just as good as it gets. The Red Hot Peppers are as hot as the best King Oliver and Louis Armstrong recordings, while the colors and subtlety of tone are as good as the bands of Bix and Tram. The compositions are second to none, being the work of one off the greatest composers of any genre in the first half of the 20th century. The featured clarinetists are Omer Simeon and Johnny Dodds (with some help from Barney Bigard).

Omer Simeon, who was once called the "unsung hero" of the jazz clarinet by Barney Bigard, takes the clarinet part for the very first set, recorded in Chicago on September 15, 1926, demonstrating his excellent control of the horn and music on "Black Bottom Stomp", "Smoke-House Blues", and "The Chant." These tunes really show a depth of orchestrational ideas, ensemble sensitivity,  and formal innovation not often matched in jazz, and Simeon is a perfect fit.

Someday Sweetheart has one of the earliest (if not the first) jazz bass clarinet solo, also by Omer Simeon. Omer's tone is much more beautiful than many post-bop bass clarinet solos we hear these days. Those who play this instrument ought to have an honest sound concept--strong, balanced, rich-- and this Simeon solo is a great place to start.

Simeon's playing is also on display in his breaks to open "Doctor Jazz": he then adds a clever solo made memorable by his four bar whole notes. When it comes time to trade licks the blow over the ride out chorus and breaks, Simeon shows himself once again to be one of the top clarinetists of the '20s.

"Cannon Ball Blues" is a great example of ensemble color and balance once again, the group communally composing and highlighting the well directed arrangement. There is something natural about this band--it doesn't strain at the music or at expression, but simply goes about its business creating a thoroughly satisfying blues, like late afternoon sunlight on a front porch. Sometimes it's important to just be in the music, rather than trying to say anything. Recordings like these are a perfect antidote for the cult of overwrought self expression.

The first of the Red Hot Peppers recordings featuring Johnny Dodds is called "Hyena Stomp", and the difference in the band is immediately felt. Less genteel than Simeon, more aggressive in his overall sound concept, a tune featuring rhythmic guffawing seems a great way to introduce him. Yet even with all of that, Dodds seems much more at home and relaxed in the Red Hot Peppers than in the Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Sevens. In fact, perhaps because of Jelly Roll's dictum that an ideal jazz performance should be "sweet, soft, plenty of rhythm", Dodds is able to show a wider range of artistry and emotion. And for all their entertaining novelty qualities, none of Jelly Roll's numbers really descend into typical novelty shallowness. Instead, they seem like emotional or biographical vignettes. "Billy Goat Stomp" is another perfect example. There is actually something beautiful in this minor key tune and the subtle colorations of the band, amidst the bleating effects!

Of all the tunes he recorded, few are as closely associated with Johnny Dodds as "Wild Man Blues." He cut it no less than three times--the first on May 7, 1927 with the Louis Armstrong Hot Seven, the second just a few weeks later with Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers on June 4, 1927, and the third over a decade later, with himself as leader of Johnny Dodds and his Chicago Boys, paradoxically recorded in New York City on January 21, 1938. To compare and contrast the three is instructive. My favorite is last one, as he gives himself the melody and shows his range of soulful talking style on it. Of the two earlier recordings from 1927, I prefer the Red Hot Peppers to the Hot Sevens, but any way you cut it, it's a a special treat to hear the same man playing the clarinet parts in two important ensembles, just weeks apart.

"Jungle Blues" is another tune that uses effects but entirely avoids 'novelty' or faux-exoticism.  Thanks to the gentle balance of Morton's rhythm section, Johnny is really allowed to sing, giving us the beauty of his tone shining through all his soulful figurations.

The grittier, rougher Dodds chalumeau is on display for "Beale Street Blues," and his section playing is lively and confident on that remarkable, complicated tune, "The Pearls."
The last two  tracks on this album--"Wolverine Blues" and "Mr Jelly Lord"-- are taken from a session recorded in Chicago on June 10, 1927, and are of particular importance to jazz clarinetists, as they present the Dodds brothers as a trio with Jelly Roll Morton. Aside from their own musical qualities, they set precedent for the Benny Goodman trio eight years later, which was to blossom into the Goodman Quartet and Sextet; perhaps the most important work of Benny's career. Dodds is impressive throughout, grooving grittily but fleetly through "Wolverine Blues" and with that special sense of laid back, in the pocket rhythm he had on "Mr. Jelly Lord." The relaxed, perfect counterpoint between Morton and Dodds is a fitting way to end this collection, which moves from surprise to surprise and strength to strength.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sidney Bechet & The Clarence Williams Blue Five * 1923-1925

Accidents of history are a strange thing, but sometimes all we know hinges on them. Had Sidney Bechet not gotten deported from England in 1922, for instance, we might legitimately wonder how long it might have taken for him to make studio recordings, and whether his influence on the likes of a young Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong would ever have taken place. Shortly after his deportation, he was hired by pianist and composer Donald Heywood as part of a traveling show called How Come. It was while on tour with this show that the young Duke Ellington heard him in Washington D.C., an experience that Duke recalled for the rest of his life.

"I have never forgotten the power and imagination with which he played," Duke said of the experience. [Chilton, pg.56] In 1962, Ellington was to expand upon this, saying:

"Yes, there were some very good Lester Young imitators. Lester was one of the very potent influences. Charlie Parker had plenty of imitators. Johnny Hodges too. And there was a time when there was hardly a tenor player in the world who didn't try to sound like Coleman Hawkins. But we mustn't leave out the greatest--Bechet! The greatest of all the originators, Bechet, the symbol of jazz! [...] I consider Bechet the foundation. His things were all soul, all from the inside. It was very, very difficult to find anyone who could really keep up with him. He'd get something organized in his mind while someone else wass playing, and then he'd play one or two choruses--or more--that would be just too much."  [Stanley Dance, The World of Duke Ellington, 10]  

Listening to the first recordings of Sidney Bechet immediately after hearing the King Oliver Creole Jazz Band recordings of 1923 or Louis Armstrong's Hot Fives and Sevens, while paying attention to the timeline, is a revolutionary experience for anyone raised on standard histories. Many year ago, when I finally discovered Bechet for myself, my reaction as a clarinetist and soprano sax player, was simply that trumpet and cornet players must have had the greatest PR agencies on earth working for them to lay any claim to originating jazz solo style! I mean no disrespect to the great Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, or the others, but I can't hear how much any of what that they did, conceptually, hadn't been mastered by Bechet long before they added to it.

I don't really have the time to do an analysis of these important recordings, so will refer readers interested in further analysis to John Chilton's important study: Sidney Bechet: The Wizard of Jazz. Oxford University Press. NY: 1987. Here let me just mention some highlights as I see them:

There is a pride of place to "Wild Cat Blues", as it's our first Bechet recording and the first great jazz saxophone on record.

"Kansas City Man" shows a fully formed blues soloist: we don't need to hear him grow into the music or go through and apprenticeship phase.

"Achin' Heart Blues" documents a clarinet soloist more advanced than either Johnny Dodds or Leon Roppolo.

"Shreveport Blues" is not only a demonstration of Bechet's mastery of lyric playing, but his double time figurations behind the cornet aren't the sort we hear other players struggling to master: he already has the music entirely within his scope and is comfortably throwing down exactly what he wants.

His lightening runs behind the melody in "Old Fashioned Love" are all musically substantial and emotionally relevant -- in this way he stands out in contrast to other flashy players, including Frankie Trumbauer and Jimmie Noone on some of their virtuosic choruses.

On "House Rent Blues" he builds perfectly balanced solo through interconnected triplet breaks. On "Mean Blues" he shows his lyrical ability to create a counter melody more interesting than the original. I can't stress enough how superior he seems to compared to everyone else out there at the time these were made. The listener remains glued to his lines no matter who is playing the lead at the time. Perfect variation after variation unfolds until the end.

"Texas Moaner Blues" features his first work with a young Louis Armstrong, this time on clarinet and soprano sax. His solo concept is clearly far in advance of Armstrong at this point, and Satch seems to have learned a lot, when we check out later recordings.  

Bechet's next recording was backing blues singer Sippie Wallace on "Off and On Blues." His clarinet is rich,  powerful, and his blues fills and choruses are perfectly conceived.

On "Mandy Make Up Your Mind" we get a little soprano sax work comping, but the big solo is taken by Bechet on sarrusophone! And it sounds great!

On the last of the early Armstrong/Bechet sessions, "I'm a Little Blackbird Looking for a Bluebird", it is once again Bechet who is the true soloist in the band, building a commentary of baroque ornamentation around Armstrong's statements of the theme, and motivic response to the vocal chorus.

According to Fabrice Zammarchi's notes to  The Complete American Masters of Sidney Bechet, the last two Clarence Williams Blue Five sessions were behind vocalists on January 8, 1925. They feature typical accompaniment by Bechet and tasteful solos.

Shortly after this era, Bechet returned to Europe and wasn't documented again on American records for several years of the important roarin' '20s, which fixed the canon in many jazz fans' minds. We can be grateful that Clarence Williams took the opportunity to showcase his talents between 1923-1925, or history might have lost perspective on the man Ellington considered the foundation and eptiome of jazz itself.

Victor Goines * Untamed Elegance Suite * 2016

The history of jazz is shockingly compressed: while it took European 'classical' music centuries to move from baroque polyphony through gallant and romantic styles to modernism, jazz compressed it all into a big bang of a couple of decades. Because of that, if instead of always searching for the next "new thing", we go back and re-investigate these styles, we'll paradoxically find there is much more "new" work to be done, with plenty left to reach audiences.
Victor Goines' new Untamed Elegance Suite is a great example. Here's a movement entitled "Laboratories of Ideas." The tune sounds like vintage Jelly Roll Morton era writing, with a catchy melody and section parts, but it's original. The solos, while fitting into the context of the style, also make use of language developed through the bop era--so we're not talking about "historical performance" or getting back to a recreation of early jazz, but contribution to a living tradition. This is the sort of thing I've been working on in my own compositions and soloing style for several years, although on a small group level. So far, I have preferred as much ensemble improvisation as possible, deriving directly from the New Orleans polyphonic concept and going up through modern contexts, but Goines' work suggests a great way forward in larger contexts as well.

I encourage people to check out this exciting new work.