Louis Armstrong – Mardi Gras: Dixieland Jazz of New Orleans – Album Review

Louis Armstrong – Mardi Gras: Dixieland Jazz of New Orleans – Album Review

Review by Nick Ellman, of Naughty Professor


Jimmie Noone is another one of the three forefathers of the clarinet in swing music. Between Jimmie Noone and Johnny Dodds, I prefer Jimmie Noone’s playing. This album with all the heavy hitters involved is excellent and highlights Noone’s abilities throughout. 

Around that time in the early twentieth century, it was common for most clarinet players in jazz to use a wide vibrato. Jimmie Noone’s use of vibrato is similar to Sidney Bechet’s in that it sounds more operatic when they hold longer notes. However, Noone uses it in a way that seems more intentional. It’s not on every note of his phrases but usually towards the end of each phrase. 

The standout track on this album for Jimmie Noone is, you guessed it, “Jimmie’s Blues.” The band sets up a groove that leaves enough space and volume for the clarinet to really shine. Jimmie Noone has a way of ripping up to high notes that will give you chills. He starts his solo by holding a note with not quite a vibrato but more like a shaky embouchure. It’s a little odd but I feel the emotion in it and that can be so much more meaningful than anything else. Then there is a great call and response section between clarinet and trombone with very emotive playing from both musicians. They end the song with one chorus of a repetitive descending line followed by one chorus of a drone like dirge out. They really make you feel the blues on this one and Jimmie Noone is handily delivering.

TRACK LIST:

  1. When The Saints Go Marchin’ In
  2. High Society
  3. China Boy
  4. Buddy Bolden’s Blues
  5. Sister Kate
  6. Jazz Me Blues
  7. Jimmie’s Blues
  8. Dipsy Blues
  9. Savoy Blues
  10. Weary Blues
  11. Maple Leaf Rag
  12. Panama Rag
  13. Creole Song
  14. Burgundy Street Blues
  15. Ice Cream
  16. Lou-Easy-An-I-A (Louisiana)

 

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