Various ‘Meet me at the Mardi Gras’ (Rounder) 3/5

The music of New Orleans continues to occupy the public’s consciousness and so a compilation of old and new sounds is always a welcome addition. This latest contribution cuts across several boundaries, yet still has the common roots of the city’s music scene underpinning it. A classically constructed song and by far the CDs most pleasant new discovery is Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers ‘Goin’ back to New Orleans’ with some old school jazz vocals and a combination of baritone saxophone and clarinet that only the Cresecent City could conjur up. Professor Longhair is one of the most influential of New Orleans pianists and ‘Go the Mardi Gras’ typifies his genius with the distinctive piano rolls and his inimitable whistling. Brass bands are a regular feature of the music of the city and in the Re-Birth Brass Band one of New Orleans most proficient exponents so the funky ditty ‘Do watcha wanna Pt.3’ is a fine example of just how groovy the sounds of collective brass can be. The reprise of ‘Tipitiana’, a ‘Fess Longhair standard, by Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias is at once percussive and brassy and almost as appealing as the original. At forty-five minutes, this compliation is a tad stingy in its timing and with such a rich diversity of old and new sounds from New Orleans from which to select, the range could have been a good deal more generous. No doubting the quality on offer, however. Tim Stenhouse

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