EARLYJAS
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Bert's Bits -- CD Review:  New Orleans Delight NODCD 902
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
EARLYJAS
NEW ORLEANS DELIGHT—THE SAME OLD LOVE—LIVE RECORDINGS
FROM “GILLELEJE JAZZKLUB” FEATURING SARAH SPENCER & DEREK
WINTERS (OWN LABEL: NODCD 902).  Playing time:  73 m. 41 s.
Beautiful Ohio; Blues at Sunrise*°; Move the Body Over*; Same Old Love†°;
Begonia; Faraway Blues*°; Georgia Grind*; What a Friend We Have in Jesus; Take
Her to Jamaica†; Collegiate; Every Woman’s Blues*°; When My Dreamboat Comes
Home; Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight?* †

Recorded at Gilleleje Jazzklub, Gillelejehallerne, Gilleleje, Denmark, Nov. 1, 2008.

Personnel: Kjeld Brandt, clarinet; Derek Winters, trumpet, vocal†; Bengt Hansson,
trombone; Hans Pedersen, piano; Sarah Spencer, tenor sax, vocal*; Erling Lindhardt,
banjo, tenor guitar°; Stefan Kärfve, string bass; Claus Lindhardt, drums.

“New Orleans Delight” is a name that is surely by now familiar to most lovers of
traditional jazz.  The Danish/Swedish band is a six-piece group that often, for their
frequent festival appearances and tours, invites a guest trumpet player to join them.  
Derek Winters, trumpet player from the U.K, who appears on this recording, often
gets the nod in this regard.  While they occasionally invite a second guest, they do
so more rarely.  In 2008 they also invited tenor sax player Sarah Spencer, originally
from the U.K, now domiciled in the U.S., and a very good sax player.  The recording
took place in Gilleleje, a small town on the northernmost tip of the island Zealand,
Denmark, about 35 miles north of Copenhagen, during a tour that year.

Most of the tune list will be familiar, except perhaps for Blues at Sunrise, Same Old
Love, Take Her to Jamaica (with its interesting breaks and piano solo where
Pedersen manages to make the piano sound like the steel drums so common in the
Caribbean), Every Woman’s Blues, and Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Lady
(which is a reworking of Red River Valley or We Shall Walk Through the Streets of
the City—the title is your choice—at a very slow tempo).

The band plays at its customary high level of proficiency, and the two guests fit in
very well, making for a much larger sound with the additional harmonies the two
extra instruments provide.  And Ms. Spencer boots the band along with hard
driving choruses on sax, for the like of which one has to go back to someone like
Capt. John Handy, undoubtedly one of her inspirations.  The opening number,
Beautiful Ohio, serves as a nice “introduction” to the guests as it opens with the six-
piece instrumentation, and on the second chorus the two others join in.  While
speaking of intros, mention must also be made of Pedersen’s beautiful opening on
piano of Blues at Sunrise, and Lindhardt’s drum lead-in to When My Dreamboat
Comes Home, a kind of funky beat akin to that of the modern street bands in New
Orleans, setting a most appropriate laid back tempo and preparing us well for the
drum solo which comes later towards the coda.  But ensemble work plays a
prominent part in almost every tune, and I found it particularly striking in the
romping Collegiate where the excitement builds with each chorus, the two guests
contributing mightily to this.

However, I was not as enamored of Ms. Spencer’s vocal efforts as was Derek
Winters, according to his liner notes; but I know that others have also held her
vocals in high esteem.  Nevertheless I’m afraid I don’t share in such enthusiasm.  
She attempts to sound like a black blues singer in the vein of Bessie Smith, Ma
Rainey, et al., but she is not black or of that culture, and I just don’t find it
convincing.  So for me Ms. Spencer’s vocals fall short and come close to being a
little too raucous now and again.  I was also rather puzzled as to why she would
choose Every Woman’s Blues and then leave in the identification with Billie Pierce
in the lyric, and why she would take Faraway Blues (this is the first time I have
heard lyrics for this blues) and give it such a strident vocal treatment.  

But other than the vocals, this CD provides some great listening pleasure.  Ordering
information can be obtained by contacting neworle@nsdelight.dk (e-mail) or
visiting www.new-orleans-delight.dk (web site).  I know of no other distribution
plans.
Bert Thompson