Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Great Review!

Many thanks to Jason Berry for the great review of
New Orleans Preservation, Vol. 1 in this month's
New Orleans Magazine!

"...The first cut of this grand record, “Short Dressed Gal,” has reedman Maedgen singing the story of a country woman who has to get across a river, rents a horse for $5 and, because of her short dress, sets off a riverbank scandal as the farming folk stand around trying to get a peek at her drawers. How tame the standards of salacious material when compared to hardcore rap or Chaucer’s chapter on the “Wife of Bath.” The song was also popular in Cajun country far back in the mists of time (Alida Viator, gone to Austin since Hurricane Katrina, did a stellar version on Songs from the Canary Islands). Freddie Lonzo’s joco-swinging trombone lines serve as a solid foil to Maedgen’s vocals.

The range of styles in the canon of early jazz gets a good display. “Westlawn Dirge,” is a beautiful song, here in a slow tender rendition that echoes the Eureka Brass Band recording of 1951. “Westlawn Dirge” is a standard that somehow disappeared from the repertoire of street funerals as the years passed. Most of the young brass bands don’t play it because the musicians never heard it in school. There is no jazz education system in most of the public schools.

I know you don’t want a 30-second public service spot hammering home the message that The City Where Jazz Began doesn’t teach the story of America’s native art form to its young students, but it needs to be said. Dr. Michael White, among other exponents of New Orleans Style, has often remarked that music students in Japanese universities come to New Orleans with a better grounding in the jazz fundamentals form than most young players here. Teach the music and its history to students here and the homicide count will go down, and test scores go up..."

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