13 Tracks; 56:25 running time
Dr. John has been doing his musical thing since 1968 and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as of 2011. He is also a six-time Grammy winner and quite possibly the most prominent living musical icon from New Orleans. His latest release pays respects to the one and only jazz great, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. It is a little known fact that Armstrong grew up in the same neighborhood as Dr. John albeit decades apart. The artist quotes Armstrong as “the United States’ ambassador to the world.” This album is fantastic and does a fine job stabilizing the traditional New Orleans style Dr. John is well known for. There are also many note worthy musicians that are key players on this CD including Terence Blanchard, Bonnie Raitt, and Shemekia Copeland. To say this disc isn’t lacking with talent and potential would be an understatement.
There are several classics and notable tracks on the CD including “What a Wonderful World” featuring Nicholas Payton & the Blind Boys of Alabama, “Mack The Knife” which features Terence Blanchard and Mike Ladd, & finally “When You’re Smiling” featuring the amazing Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
“What A Wonderful World” provides happiness, and amazing harmonizing to please the listener. “Mack The Knife” has unique drum work as well as a mid-song rap. The rap provides a special feel for the track and surely will get the fan thinking of various forms and interesting ways to hear a song. Lastly, how can one not feel great hearing “When You Are Smiling”? This tune is timeless as it should be. Every bad mood turns good when hearing this song and positive words!
An overall jazzy feel and wide variety of musicians, music, & instruments make this and enjoyable music experience. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band does an astounding job throughout the record. Horns, rhythms and funkiness bring so much to the table in terms of talent and flow of the music. Other songs on the disc provide the meat and potatoes with jazzy notes, eclectic tunes, and a varying range of interesting vocals to hold the listeners attention. The title proves true as there is plenty of sprit and soul bursting through the tunes.
This record succeeded in getting this blues gal hip to some jazz. Listening to this music jolted me straight out of my comfort zone and helped to broaden my musical tastes. You can’t lose with Louis Armstrong, piano, horns, and a gang of gifted musicians. Dr. John is a staple in the blues, jazz, and piano music world. Like many other legends and icons, he will not be around forever. Be sure to give him a listen and catch him while you can.