Adventures In New Orleans Jazz Part 2

Dr. Michael White

Basin Street Records, 2012

http://www.basinstreetrecords.com/artists/dr-michael-white

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/22/2012

How many people can say they've built a career around playing the clarinet? Probably not too many, and certainly very few with the accolades of Dr. Michael White, a classically trained musician who began his jazz obsession in the '70s. Since then, he's contributed on many classic jazz albums as well as penning his own since the late '80s. More recently, he's played on albums by Clapton, Paul Simon, and Marianne Faithfull. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though part one of this series saw White reworking a lot of more international songs, this second part focuses more on staples emanating from the States. Starting off with the Hank Williams hit “Jambalaya,” White runs it through an upbeat jazz filter bringing a classic some new life. “Midnight Special” follows, White taking a stripped down approach to a timeless tune, emitting some solos and folk nods.

White contributes a couple of originals here, too, even a well-crafted love song titled “I Love You Too Much To Ever Leave You,” which is sung by Gregory Stafford and has a laidback feel. However, White shines the most when he puts his own spin on legendary work. His rendition of “Me And Bobby McGee” by Joplin is a full band effort that radiates with instrumental precision, and “Happy Together,” a hit by The Turtles, employs a brass band giving the song a larger than life sound.

This is an aptly titled disc, with White's New Orleans style interpretations and his own lush and expressive originals making this a listen full of adventurous fun. While one might think this is an album designed strictly for jazz enthusiasts, the back to basics rhythms, universally pleasing beats, and vintage instruments make this something that anyone will enjoy. Though White lost most of his possessions and prized record collection in Katrina, his meticulous and cultured song craft will always remain intact, as illustrated yet again with another fantastic disc.

Rating: B

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