Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Leroy Jones' Fond Memories of the Fairview & Hurricane Band

One of the pleasures for this writer at this year’s French Quarter Festival was to see and hear Leroy Jones and the Original Hurricane Brass Band. What was notable was they played more of a traditional Brass Band repertoire and what was notable was their clean intonation as well as the performance eschewed the funky style of most contemporary New Orleans Brass Band. But to hear a band that handles some of the traditional repertoire in the manner of the legendary bands like the Inward, Eureka, Olympia, Excelsior and Doc Paulin’s Band was a true delight, not to mention Jones own playing along with the others including trombonist Freddie Lonzo.

Back in 2005 Jones issued on his own label New Orleans Brass Band Music: Memories of the Fairview & Hurricane Band. In his notes he mentions his fond memories of the Fairview and Hurricane Brass bands. The former was under the leadership of Reverend Andrew Darby, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church as well as church member and New Orleans legend, Danny Barker. Later the Hurricane Band came into existence and some of its members would form the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Anyway, Jones put together this recording to evoke the older bands with a fresh twist and flavor. He did the arrangements on familiar numbers and assembled a band that included Calvin Klein on trombone, Alonzo Bowens on tenor saxophone and clarinet; Ron Espino on sousaphone; Kerry ‘Fat Man’ Hunter on snare drum and Cayetano “Tanio’ Hingle on bass drum. On one selection, Jones wife, Katja Toivola handles the trombone solo.

This is a delightful recording which exhibits the same swinging grooves and clean, but spirited ensembles and solos that were exhibited at the festival. Most of the performances will be familiar from the opening Lily of the Valley, the slow drag tempo used for Just a Little Walk With You, the peppy Lord, Lord, Lord, Muskrat Ramble, and South Rampart Street Parade. They standard out with the relaxation in the performances and the lack of frenzy. Dixieland favorites like When the Saints Go Marching In and Back Home In Indiana, also share these virtues as the two drummers set forth the rhythm and then the band kicks in. Furthermore, all three horns are excellent soloists. I was most familiar with Jones playing on a variety of sources but Bowens saxophone also constantly impressed while Espino also proves his capabilities on the cumbersome sousaphone on Indiana.

This is available from the Louisiana Music factory, www.louisianamusicfactory.com. Leroy Jones own website is http://www.satchmo.com/leroyjones/main.html.

I purchased this CD. Here is part of their French Quarter Festival performance.

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