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Bert's Bits -- CD Review:  New Orleans Rhythm
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
by Bert Thompson

“WILLIE THE WEEPER” (New Orleans North CD-008).  Playing time:  67 mins. 09 secs.

Willie the Weeper†; I Can’t Escape from You; Undecidedº; Confessing†; It’s a Long
Way to Tipperary; Love in Bloomº; Bad Moon Rising*º; Moonlight and Roses†; My
Pussin*; Trombonium; Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Roundº; Singing in My Soul*;
Martha; Bright Star; Sly Mongoose*; God Will Take Care of You.

Recorded at New Orleans North Studio, Toronto, Canada, Feb. 12-13, 2007.
Personnel: Patrick Tevlin, trumpet, vocal*; Brian Carrick, clarinet, vocal†; Roberta
Hunt, piano, vocalº; Colin Bray, string bass.

In February 2007, Brian Carrick, reed player and bandleader from the U.K., came over
to Canada to participate in the yearly Mardi Gras/Kid Bastien Memorial celebration
put on there by the Happy Pals Jazz Band.  A recording from that year’s party at
Grossman’s Tavern in Toronto was issued (Happy Pals with Brian Carrick CD [New
Orleans North CD-007], which I reviewed here).  While in Toronto, Carrick also joined
the other three Canadian musicians for a separate recording session, the result being
this CD.

A glance at the tune list shows it to be quite a mélange, with pop songs, spirituals,
standards, Caribbean tunes, even rock and roll and some double entendre—
something for everyone.  Musicians well-versed in the New Orleans style, which this
group is, have always been able to take on almost any tune and give it a jazz reading,
whether it be an inane pop song such as Mairzy Doats or a “classical” piece such as
Brahms’ Lullaby.  So, here, this broad spectrum does not daunt the quartet: all tunes
are tackled with considerable success.  Tevlin’s attempt at a Caribbean accent in his
vocals is just a little shaky, perhaps, but full marks for being brave enough to attempt
it.  Some selections may be relatively unfamiliar to most readers.  One of them,
Trombonium, is usually a feature for trombone (and brass band), as the title would
suggest, but here it comes off very well—in a trombone-less group, no less—the
glisses being taken by the piano.

I particularly liked Tevlin’s trumpet work with its Kid Thomas touches and the slight
roughness, whether soloing or backing, that the best of the New Orleans musicians
display.  He is always sympathetic to the others, being judicious in his use of mutes
and the volume he chooses.  Similarly, Carrick always plays for the band.  I especially
liked his low register rendition of God Will Take Care of You.  Bray’s chords are
always spot on and his bowing very tasteful.  Hunt plays with her usual verve,
revisiting here her vocal on Love in Bloom from the Happy Pals CD (New Orleans
North CD-007).  (In addition to Love in Bloom, Bright Star and Undecided are also to
be found on CD-007—different versions, of course.)

A few words about the packaging: Tevlin has opted for a simple sleeve, much like the
cover one found on an LP, rather than the usual plastic jewel case.  Since the sleeve is
so small, there are no liner notes, but the tune list and personnel are provided on the
back.  As he told me, such packaging makes transporting the album to gigs and
festivals much easier, especially where air travel is involved.  Like the digipak, it will
also obviate the incidence of cracked plastic boxes.   

While I must admit to a general preference for full band over smaller combo, this
recording by the New Orleans Rhythm quartet was, for me, a most enjoyable
diversion.  Obviously more of a burden is placed upon the individual players in a
“smaller” group, but all here are well up to the task.  They provide the listener with a
pleasing 60+ minutes of music—a pleasure that increases with each playing of the CD.

For ordering information, contact Patrick Tevlin by e-mail at <Patrick@tevlin.ca> or by
phone at 1-647-869-3831 and he will supply the details.