The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3012: Brian Carrick's Heritage Jazz Quartet

Personnel:  Brian Carrick [cl], Mac Mac Donald [bn], Ken Matthews [sbs], Malc Murphy [dm].

Songs:  In the Sweet Bye & Bye, Bucket's Got A Hole in It, An Evening Prayer, New Orleans Hula, God Will Take Care of You, St. Phillip Street Breakdown, Nearer My God to Thee, Don't Go Way Nobody, My God Loves Me, High Society, Faraway Blues, Listen to the Mocking Bird, Dardanella, Burgundy Street Blues, Slow Drag's Boogie.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3012: Brian Carrick's Heritage Jazz Quartet

Mississippi Rag - U. S. A.

It is obvious from the first note of this disc that clarinetist Brian Carrick closely bases his style on that of George Lewis. Released on Big Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label, the set features Carrick, banjoist Mac MacDonald, bassist Ken Matthews and drummer Male Murphy on two separate occasions: six songs from a studio session that took place June 17, 1995, and (for the last nine songs) at a pair of concerts from April 23,1994. Because Brian Carrick (who plays in tune and displays plenty of energy) did not choose to emulate Lewis' faults as well as his virtues (a common fault of younger players who admire their idols a little too much!), his set is continually rewarding. Carrick is the major soloist throughout. Banjoist MacDonald is a fine accompanist although his own short solos actually differ little from the rhythmic patterns he plays behind Carrick. Both bassisr Matthews (who has strong technique) and the tasteful New Orleans-styled drumming of Murphy are excellent in support of Carrick.
But the main credit for this album's sweet charm and appeal rests with the clarinetist. The repertoire, which is straight from George Lewis, has many high points. A few that come to mind are the up tempo blues, "St. Phillip Street Breakdown," the melodic waltz "God Will Take Care Of You," the classic "Burgundy Street Blues" and the driving "Slow Drag's Boogie." Except for a slight echo and a bit of applause, the live session differs little in sound, style or mood from the studio portion of the CD. The live set has more mistakes, a few unintentional squeaks and squawks from Carrick and some hesitant playing by the rhythm section during the many themes of "High Society" while the studio session is generally much cleaner. Also, although it is listed, the quartet does not actually play "Bucket's Got A Hole In It"; I have not been able to identify the melody.
Those minor reservations aside, this is an easily recommended set, particularly for lovers of George Lewis' sound. Hopefully Brian Carrick will continue working on developing his own style rather than being content to remain in Lewis' dominant shadow. But for now, his interpretations of George Lewis' legacy are quite appealing.
- Scott Yanow


Gene Miller - Jazz Critic - U.S.A.

Found in the Jazz Crusade "Best of the Brits" series, this CD features a quartet that produces some of the most pleasant New Orleans-style jazz being heard in Great Britain these days. Brian Carrick plays a lyrical clarinet reminiscent of George Lewis. Of the 15
numbers, 6 were recorded for Jazz Crusade in a studio and the rest at a concert. A third of the cuts are hymns or spirituals; most of the rest are jazz standards, with one or two less familiar numbers. Surprisingly, there are no true 12-bar blues.
Carrick dominates the quartet not only because the clarinet is the lead instrument but also because the sound balance favors it and because it is heard through most of every number. His tone is clear and pure with seamless shifts from high to low register. Bent notes [except in "Nearer My God to Thee"] and "dirty1 tones [except in "St. Phillip Street Breakdown"] are few. His "Burgundy Street Blues" is stylistically close to George Lewis' classic version. The three man rhythm section plays tastefully, supporting and accenting the clarinet, never dominating it. The banjo and bass play nicely together, offering cheerful duets as in "New Orleans Hula" - - a number, incidently, that proves once again that almost any tune can sound fine when played well in the New Orleans style. Murphy's drums are especially effective in "Slow Drag's Boogie," propelling the number right along and making it, along with "High Society," the most spirited of the CD. The Best of the Brits, as they perform here, rank well up among the best anywhere.
- Gene Miller


Jazz Rag - New Zealand

This is an amazing recording with Brian Carrick on clarinet, Mac Mac Donald on banjo, Ken Matthews on on string bass and Male Murphy on drums. These musicians need little or no introduction and as one would expect, the end product is highly professional. There are 15 titles on this disc which has an emphasis on spirituals. The Quartet plays in a relaxed manner and I particularly enjoyed the New Orleans long roll style drumming of Male Murphy [ex-Colyer sideman]. The clarinet of Carrick is across the register, tastefully played, seemingly effortless, Brian sounds not unlike George Lewis however, he doesn't slavishly copy the latter's playing though he is undoubtedly influenced by the Lewis band.
- Terry Offord


IAJRC Journal - U. S. A.

Many British jazz musicians are obsessed with the early and even the recent jazz music of New Orleans, and Brian Car-rick's recording, according to Peter King's liner notes, is supposedly the music "coming from one of the many dockside bars along Decatur Street, New Orleans, or from one of the small dance halls dotted around the French Quarter in the 1940/50 era." The first of the quartet's two sessions was recorded for Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label, and the second session was recorded at a jazz festival at Pontin's, "a holiday camp" at Weston-Super-Mare, England. The quartet has been in existence for many years and its members come from diverse areas of England. According to King's notes, the music consists of spirituals, blues, ballads and a couple of breakdowns; however, the "spirituals" are more like hymns, and it is questionable as to whether any of the tunes are authentic ballads. Carrick plays the clarinet with a very wide vibrato which on the hymn-like tunes produces a feeling of melancholy. Bassist Ken Matthews, in the style of many British bassists, plucks the strings very loudly which leads one to believe the bass' strings are made of catgut. Since there are only four players, with the clarinet taking most of the solos and playing the melodic lead, drummer Male Murphy has to produce a great variety of rhythmic variations in the background to Carrick's improvisations and variations of the melodies. This keeps the music on this CD from becoming boring. The best performed tunes are "St. Phillip Street Breakdown," "God Will Take Care of You," in waltz time, "Nearer My God to Thee," "High Society" and "Burgundy Street Blues." More solos from the banjo and bass, a vocal or two, and even an added cornet would aid the listener in appreciating more this recording which is quite interesting for the listener who likes the New Orleans sound.
- George Borgman


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