Parts outshine New Orleans' jazz ensemble's conventional whole
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#1 Apr 15, 2008
This critic is just that, a critic. There's a vernacular to this form of Jazz that requires a more highly experienced ear than that displayed by this writer. By analogy: imagine being in a juke joint in Leland, Mississippi. The guitar may be out of tune and the drummer stepping in and out of time. This critic would say something like, "well, this band isn't as good as Eric Clapton." In short, there's a difference between Jazz players and the culture of Jazz. NOJO comes from the culture where music is literally made on the streets. You probably saw a performance that was a toned down version of this culture: made palatable to a less adventurous audience.
#2 Apr 21, 2008
It is great to see some honest reviewing for a change!!! Irvin is definitely the weak link in his band, and his writing is reminiscent of High School pep band compositions. He is smart to surround himself with such amazing soloists. Other impressive players were Barney Floyd (lead trumpet) and Derek Douget (saxophone).
#3 Apr 27, 2008
Amen! I have had the frustrating pleasure/pain of hearing NOJO perform on several occasions. And I've been discounted for identifying the same strengths and weaknesses as Mr. Reich and John Galt (above). Mr. Irvin breathed life into the musical culture of a suffering city when this orchestra was organized, but he is neither a gifted nor original composer. Each piece he writes seems so repetitive that, as I leave the auditorium, I often feel as though I'm walking in a strange cadence--one geared to his repetitious rhythms.
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