The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3049: Paul Barbarin's Onward Brass Band--in Concert

Personnel: Paul Barbarin [bdm], Ernie Cagnolotti, Alvin Alcorn [tp], Louis Cotrell [cl], Wendell Eugene, Clement Tervalon [tb], Danny Barker [bn], Jerry Green [bbs], Freddie Kohlman [sdm]

Songs: The Second Line, Maryland My Maryland, Just A Closer Walk with Thee, Original Dixie Jass Band One-step, Bye & Bye,Tin Roof Blues,Muscat Ramble, Basin Street Blues, Victory Walk, What A Friend We Have in Jesus, Just A Little While to Stay Here.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3049: Paul Barbarin's Onward Brass Band--in Concert

Just Jazz—British Jazz Magazine

If you have not already heard this CD - stand by for what on the surface sounds like a chaotic experience! It's a genuine New Orleans marching band having a ball in a jazz club and letting it all hang out. Standouts here are the quite amazing 'street beat' generated by Barbarin and snare drummer Freddie Kohlman, the wonderful parade-style trumpets of Ernest Cagnolatti and Alvin Alcorn, the amazingly uninhibited trombones of Wendell Eugene and Clement Tervalon, and the often drowned out clarinet of Louis Cottrell, to say nothing of Danny Barker's highly infectious banjo work. This is one of the most exciting CDs I have ever heard - quite amazing... a real classic - bravo Jazz Crusade.
- Brian Harvey


Jazz Gazette - Belgium

"This is an extremely interesting release for several reasons. First of all it could be the start of a series of concerts recorded by the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club and this is a mouth watering thought. Judging from the couple of tracks by several New Orleans bands found on LP's released a long time ago this is a series to look forward to. A second reason is that the sound quality, thanks to today's technology, is better than on the LP's although they weren't bad at all either.
The most important reason however is that this old and important New Orleans marching band was only on record a couple of times. In 1965 two LP's were released on the Nobility label (LP 708-709) with the recording of Lester Santiago's funeral. Four tracks of the present session were released on the annual Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club LP (CTJC SLP-5). For the hardcore collector, who wants everything, I have to mention Paul Simon's recording of "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" where the Onward appears for a short but electrifying moment at the end of the number. This memorable little piece of music always gives me goose pimples!
I have heard the Onward several times in New Orleans in the period 1977-1992. The band was then under the leadership of Placide Adams, who took it over from Louis Cottrell, who, in his turn, had followed Paul Barbarin. Every time I heard the band only play for concerts, I never heard them on a parade or funeral. To me they sounded like a big band with a brass band rhythm section rather than as a real marching band, with a lot of solo's and very little traditional ensemble playing. I always thought that this evolution was due to Placide Adams, who always
had a penchant to modernize the New Orleans sound. This CD proves that this tendency was already present under Paul Barbarin himself. On most numbers there are solo's by the horns and even by the banjo. The presence of a banjo might seem strange too, especially to New Orleans brass band purists, but I have to mention that I saw Manny Sayles actually marching with the Olympia too. Nevertheless this is a CD no serious New Orleans collector can afford to miss because it offers the opportunity to listen again to some fine solo and ensemble work by well known favorites like Louis Cottrell, Alvin Alcorn and Cagnolatti and lesser known musicians like Wendell Eugene and Clem Tervalon.
Regardless of what I said before there is some real excellent brass band playing too. "Maryland" (with the well known "Oh Tannenbaum" melody) is ensemble all the way. Both "Just A Closer walk" and "What A Friend" are played like dirges on a funeral and prove that the Onward COULD play the functional music as well as the more flamboyant concert stuff. "Just A Closer Walk" has great Alvin Alcorn playing at the end, with beautiful clarinet obbligati from Cottrell, and the last part of the number is played again as an encore. "What A Friend" was Cottrell's favorite hymn and he leads the ensemble all through the number. Both these hymns make the acquisition of this CD a must.
Cottrell's beautiful, fluent Creole clarinet is heard to advantage on every number. Wendell Eugene is the better trombonist. I never was too fond of Clem Tervalon with his tendency for playing for the gallery, but I have to say that I never heard him play better than on this record. I must admit I have an allergy for his singing (he shares that honor with Sam Lee!) which, fortunately, is only heard on one number. An interesting aspect of this CD is the contrast between the trumpet styles of Alvin and Cag, the first lyrical and sweet, the latter more straightforward and powerful. In my opinion Alvin, who was already a fine trumpet player in his Ory days, developed a very personal and attaching style later on. His work on another Jazz Crusade session (released on GHB 238-239) offers even more proof of that. It is ironic that this sweet man was chosen for the part of a killer in the James Bond movie "Live And Let Die"!
Danny Barker fits in well with the band playing a percussive banjo part in the ensembles - he almost sounds like a second snare drum! - and some great mandolin like solo's, contrasted with rough strokes, like when he projects the final ensemble on "Bye And Bye". The rhythm section is a powerhouse. Freddie Kohlman, in the absence of cymbals, proves he was a master of the traditional drum style and the short drum duets with the great Paul Barbarin are effective and exciting as well. It's good to have an excellent example of Jerry Greene's tasteful sousaphone playing. In addition to the hymns mentioned above, I have a special liking for "Bye And Bye" and for "Tin Roof Blues" with great low register clarinet incorporating the "West End Blues" line in his solo.
With a playing time of more than 73 minutes this CD should be on every New Orleans collector's want list and hopefully it is the start of a whole series of ConTrad concerts in the near future.
- Marcel Joly


Jazz Rag - England

This is a march on the wild side of New Orleans jazz. Louis Cotrell was a smooth, well-schooled clarinetist and there are some solemn hymns, but this was clearly a session to raise the roof of the Holiday Inn, Meridan, Connecticut in 1968. The flamboyant trombone duo of Wendell Eugene and Clement Tervalon shows a welcome disregard for good taste [all smears and slurs and upper register effects] and the balance of the recording favors the powerful drumming of Barbarin and Freddie Kohlman. With trumpet pyrotechnics from Alvin Alcorn and Ernest Cagnolatti, this is definitely the fun end of New Orleans brass Band music.
- Ron Simpson


Boxell's Jazz Website-New Zealand

Before I say anything else, let me remind you that I am not a fan of marching bands. So why did I get the CD? Well, when a band that is still playing in 2000 has a history dating back to the Spanish American war in the late 1800s, you have to find out why. The answer is: excitement!
This 1968 recording has the band in a concert setting rather than marching (try recording a marching band on the go and you will see why they waited until the band sat down to tape them). The recording standards are quite good for a live session of the period, though the vocals and banjo are off mike. This band is a lot smoother than most I have heard, and I actually listened to the whole CD in one session, rather than in short segments of no more than three tracks, which is my usual method of listening to marching bands. The reason has to be that the musicians play around each other, rather than tripping over each other, which happens so often amongst jazz's podiatritsicly mobile fraternity. No, good fun and well worth listening too.
- Geoff Boxell


Jazzreview.com U.S.A.

Brass bands are a time-honored tradition in New Orleans and this is second only to the Excelsior Band in age. The group was assembled in 1885 and was active until 1930. Manuel Perez led the band from 1903 and it usually included a dozen musicians. The second edition of the Onward Brass Band was led by Paul Barbarin, whose father had been a member of the original organization. Paul led the group from 1960 until his death. Paul actually died while leading the band at a carnival parade in 1969.
The new band seldom played the funeral dirges which were common to other brass bands of the time. Instead, they relied heavily on marches, spirituals and jazz pieces. Included on this CD are some of the tunes closely associated with the new group including "Just a Little While to Stay Here", "Maryland, My Maryland", "The Second Line", "Just a Closer Walk With Thee", "Basin Street Blues" and "Victory Walk" also known as "Joe Avery's Piece". There are eleven generous tracks in total.
This session was recorded by the Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club who imported several bands from the Crescent City during the 1960s and 70s. Paul Barbarin was 69 years old at the time of this recording and most of the other players were of similar vintage. Don't expect a highly polished performance on this record as this is a rough and ready bunch of old timers. Not all had extensive formal training. If, however, you want to hear some very authentic New Orleans fare, "dis is de place". I was thrilled to hear Louis Cottrell, one of the most underrated clarinetists in New Orleans at the time. He positively shines on these tunes, especially "Tin Roof Blues". If you ever see a copy on vinyl of his great trio recordings, don't pass it by.
Cagnalotti and Alcorn are sometimes out of tune and show their age. The two trombonists, Tervalon and Eugene are cousins and have similar styles. I can't distinguish one from the other. Both, however are strong and competent players. It was a great pleasure to hear Danny Barker's fine banjo work in this session. It can be difficult to hear a single banjo when two strong drummers are playing but Barker came through very nicely. The stars of the
Onward Brass Band are, of course, Paul Barbarin and Freddie Kohlman. The drummers play their hearts out and make this a memorable session. If you are already a fan of jazz roots or a novice listener who would like to hear where the joyful noise began, this CD is worthy of your attention.
- Richard Bourcier


Cadence Magazine - U.S.A. - July 2000

Barbarin's group was labeled a brass band, but it included reeds, strings and percussion as well as brass. The Onward band was formed by Barbarin in 1960 as the namesake of the band his father led at the turn of the last century. Born in 1899, Barbarin had been playing since he was a teenager. He presented this 1968 concert for the enthusiastic Connecticut Traditional Jazz Club and appears to have received rousing response from the crowd. The band played a rollicking form of New Orleans music with all the fanfare needed to get the audience into the session. Percussion heavily dominates the music, typically in the form of march rhythms from Barbarin and Kohlman. Although this was a concert performance, the listener gets the feeling that the band was performing in a parade. This, of course, was a trademark of Barbarin, who had honed his drumming skills playing in the streets of New Orleans. The music is alternatively lively or snail-paced while the bass drum of Barbarin pounds out a steady beat or Kohlman executes in parade style on snare drum. The brass players are significently featured, although banjo player Barker plays a major role in defining the sound of the band.
The group romps through familiar, crowd-pleasing New Orleans material, which apparentely was their regular routine, it was labeled a commercial unit, and it instilled fun into a performance. The brass players produce music that has raw character devoid of the polish found in studio bands. They appear to be a fun-loving group out to have a good time, with the party atmosphere dominating the music. Much of Barbarin's recording career as a leader was cenetered in New Orleans, although he did make a few New York recordings. His most famous composition was Bourbon Street Parade. This New England concert was given a year before he died in 1969, and it is typical of his music that relied so heavily on the marching parade beat he loved.
- Frank Rubolino


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