July 2013 CD of the Month

Jan 23, 2014

Wycliffe Gordon  Dreams Of New Orleans  Chesky Records

Since exploding onto the jazz scene in 1989, Wycliffe Gordon has become a powerhouse, dominating the yearly polls for best trombonist.  Wycliffe is from the Augusta, Georgia suburb of Waynesboro and was raised listening to gospel music until the age of 13 when he heard Louis Armstrong and since then, has been a passionate player of jazz in all of its many splendid varieties. Wy is a multi-instrumentalist, not only playing several types of trombones, he also plays trumpet, piano, tuba, the didgeridoo, sings and is a  superb composer, arranger and educator as well. Here in Colorado, Gordon is held in high esteem with a strong following due to his yearly participation in the Annual Vail Jazz Party every Labor Day Weekend where he always wows the crowd with his growling ‘bone licks and inspired singing. Every Labor Day Weekend Sunday, Wycliffe returns to his childhood roots and plays in Vail’s  Gospel Tent. 

Due to his admiration for Louis “Pops” Armstrong whom Wycliffe considers his musical hero and main mentor, he has always had a soft spot in his heart for traditional New Orleans music, yet Gordon is a modernist able to swing and bop at the highest caliber. For his newest outing, Dreams of New Orleans for the audiophile Chesky Records label, Wy chose 15 songs from the NOLA songbook and re-energized them with his refreshing approach to the beloved evergreens such as Panama, Royal Garden Blues, Darktown Strutters’ Ball among others. Naturally, no homage to the Crescent City would be complete without When The Saints Go Marching In and Down By The Riverside.  Gordon chose his accompanists wisely, he opted for the tuba instead of a bass played by the capable Ibanda Ruhumbika, trumpet by the veteran Jon Erik-Kelso, Adrian Cunningham is on clarinet and soprano sax while Matt Munisteri alternates between guitar and banjo. Closing out the ensemble are, Marion Felder on drums and a former student of Wycliffe, Michael Dease who chimes in with the trombone, tenor and baritone saxes plus trumpet! After you listen to Dreams of New Orleans don’t blame Wycliffe if you have an urge for some red beans' n rice, a muffuletta and pralines.