Earl Bonie, clarinet; Kevin Clark, trumpet; Everett Link, bass; Tom McDermott, piano; Ben Smith, Trombone; Richard Taylor, drums; Guest Artists: Rick Allen, organ; Bruce O'Neill, banjo; Moses Hogan, piano; New Orleans Gospel Choir.
Dixieland bands and Gospel choirs fuse very well together: swopping vibratos and coloring each other's solo performances. The Dukes of Dixieland combine with the New Orleans Gospel Choir in a performance that won them a Grammy Nomination. The inventive arrangements are all done by band members - half by trumpeter Kevin Clark, two by pianist Tom McDermott and one each by Ben Smith, Everett Link and Richard Taylor - and make sure that you never nod off or feel an uneasy sense of monotony. Always swinging, very fresh and with a unique dynamic of their own. I considered Amazing Grace quite the best version I have ever heard - heart-embracing harmonic singing, and Kevin Clark's trumpet moving it away from the trap this number often falls into of dirge-like muddiness. Fine solo playing from the front line and a solidly dependable second line came across in numbers such as Raise the Spirit, creating an exciting tension with its snappy interplay, the whole supported by some cool drumming. It seems clear that every Gospel choir should keep a Jazz band in its cupboard. This is one that should definitely go into the shopping basket.
by Ferdinand Maylin
Editor: The Dukes of Dixieland will be appearing at the Elkhart Jazz Festival in Elkhart Indiana June 21-23, 2002
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