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.
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.
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
- Geoff Boxell
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
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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