Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Brian Carrick's Heritage Jazz Quartet - A Review by George A. Borgman

Many British jazz musicians are obsessed with the early and even the recent jazz music of New Orleans, and Brian Carrick's recording, according to Peter King's liner notes, is supposedly the music "coming from one of the many dockside bars along Decatur Street, New Orleans, or from one of the small dance halls dotted around the French Quarter in the 1940/50 era."
The first of the quartet's two sessions was recorded for Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label, and the second session was recorded at a jazz festival at Pontin's, "a holiday camp" at Weston-Super-Mare, England.
The quartet has been in existence for many years and its members come from diverse areas of England. According to King's notes, the music consists of spirituals, blues, ballads and a couple of breakdowns; however, the "spirituals" are more like hymns, and it is questionable as to whether any of the tunes are authentic ballads.
Carrick plays the clarinet with a very wide vibrato which on the hymn-like tunes produces a feeling of melancholy. Bassist Ken Matthews, in the style of many British bassists, plucks the strings very loudly which leads one to believe the bass' strings are made of catgut.
Since there are only four players, with the clarinet taking most of the solos and playing the melodic lead, drummer Male Murphy has to produce a great variety of rhythmic variations in the background to Carrick's improvisations and variations of the melodies. This keeps the music on this CD from becoming boring.
The best performed tunes are "St. Phillip Street Breakdown," "God Will Take Care of You," in waltz time, "Nearer My God to Thee," "High Society" and "Burgundy Street Blues." More solos from the banjo and bass, a vocal or two, and even an added cornet would aid the listener in appreciating more of this recording which is quite interesting for the listener who likes the New Orleans sound. - George A. Borgman, IAJRC Journal

Brian Carrick's Heritage Hall Stompers play at a festival, Exactly Like You, 2001.

The Heritage Hall Stompers Website.

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