On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their first double-disc album, this box of 5 CDs recounts the musical adventure of the P'tits Loups du Jazz troupe: choirs of children aged 6 to 14 accompanied by professional jazz musicians under the direction of Olivier Caillard, choir conductor, jazz pianist and pedagogue. Traditional and modern jazz, Caribbean or Brazilian music and original compositions, are the support for the creation of texts by children, who appropriate this repertoire alive and too rarely played for them. A 6th bonus CD, includes the instrumental parts of some songs of the Little Wolves whose great success "Mamadou had a toothache", as well as an unpublished Christmas song and several titles of the Olivier Caillard repertoire from the catalog of the Enfance label and Music. "A gift that will delight young and old!"
Perhaps the smartest move a non-singing guitar-playing virtuoso like Ronnie Earl could make was ditching the lame singers who permeate most of his earlier efforts and go with an all-instrumental program. On this outing, Grateful Heart: Blues and Ballads, he surrounds himself with an excellent quartet of players with David "Fathead" Newman on tenor sax, Per Hanson on drums, Rod Carey on bass, and Bruce Katz on keyboards, and the results are simply sublime. Instead of a bunch of Chicago retreads, we are treated to a heady mixture of blues, jazz, soul, swing, you name it, all of it infused with taste, tone and economy. When Earl burns, the results are jaw dropping; when he slows it down, his choice of notes is exquisite.
The Kansas City swing blues of the Sweet Baby Blues Band is very difficult not to enjoy. Jeannie Cheatham's exuberant vocals (propelled by her forcefully swinging piano) inspire the many soloists on the blues-oriented material, and there is plenty of variety in tempo and feeling to keep this set continually interesting. Among the main soloists are ageless trumpeter Snooky Young, tenorman Rickey Woodard (making his debut on clarinet on two cuts), and guest altoist Hank Crawford, who sits in on four songs.
This is the third and final volume in the complete recordings of Lil Green in chronological order as reissued by the Classics Blues & Rhythm Series. By 1947 Lil Green was beginning to sound more than a little like Ida Cox, even when handling songs from Tin Pan Alley rather than straight up out of the tried and true traditional blues repertoire. Comparisons could also be drawn between Lil Green and Nellie Lutcher or Julia Lee. While her "crossover" performances are worthwhile, there's nothing quite like hearing this woman savor the flavor of Bessie Smith hits like "Aggravatin' Papa," "Outside of That," and "You've Been a Good Old Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)." Green's own "Lonely Woman" has a powerful undercurrent running through it – there is even a remote possibility that Ornette Coleman was inspired by this record when conceiving his own composition of the same title in 1959. Even if the link is purely coincidental, these melodies have something wonderful in common. Green's final recordings for the Victor label are strengthened by the presence of tenor saxophonists Budd Johnson, Lem Johnson, and David Young.
Since joining the Stony Plain roster in 1993, Duke Robillard has released an average of one album per year with the Canadian roots and blues label, and his sixteenth is a little bit of a departure: where his previous efforts have focused mainly on jazz and blues, this one is a celebration of the jump blues and R&B of the '40s and '50s, and Robillard sounds just as natural and is clearly having just as good a time with this repertoire as he always has on his previous projects. Highlights include a wonderful jump blues instrumental arrangement of the traditional song "Frankie and Johnny"…