Full performer name: Norrie Cox & His New Orleans Stompers.
Personnel: Norrie Cox (clarinet); Charlie DeVore (cornet); Jim Klippert (trombone); Mike Carrell (banjo); Butch Thompson (piano); Bill Evans (bass); Donald "Doggie" Berg (drums).
Recorded live at the Glendora Ballroom, CHicago Ridge, Illinois on October 21, 2001. Includes liner notes by William Carter.
Personnel: Norrie Cox (clarinet); Mike Carrell (banjo); Charlie DeVore (cornet); Jim Klippert (trombone); Butch Thompson (piano); Donald "Doggie" Berg (drums).
Liner Note Author: William Carter.
Recording information: Glendora Ballroom, Chicago Ridge, IL (10/21/2001).
It's a safe assumption that when Buddy Bolden first started playing what listeners later came to call Dixieland, he didn't expect it to exist in three different centuries. The seminal cornetist wasn't thinking that far ahead; he was simply experimenting and playing something that felt good to him. But if Bolden was playing Dixieland as early as 1895, then Dixieland has indeed existed in three different centuries -- first the late 19th century, then the 20th century, and finally the 21st century. By the 21st century, no Dixieland artist expected to sell more CDs than Sheryl Crow or Eminem, but Dixieland still commands a small group of die-hard followers and probably always will. Those die-hard believers were the people whom the Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz (a Midwestern Dixieland organization) catered to when it held a Norrie Cox concert in Chicago Ridge, IL, on October 21, 2001. Thankfully, that concert was taped and is the focus of this CD, which Delmark released the following year. Although Live at the Illiana is an early-2000s recording, clarinetist Cox and his New Orleans Stompers are quite faithful to the spirit of '10s and '20s Dixieland. Some bands who bill themselves as trad jazz aren't necessarily hardcore Dixieland; trad jazz can, to some people, mean classic jazz or very early swing. But Cox's band offers an authentic New Orleans-style Dixieland approach on "Weary Blues," Jelly Roll Morton's "The Crave," and the gospel standard "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." Although Live at the Illiana is mostly instrumental, the band also offers a few vocal numbers -- and quite honestly, the singing isn't as strong as the musicianship. Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for Dixieland musicians who have limited vocal skills to go ahead and sing anyway (as opposed to hiring a pro like Banu Gibson for the job). But all things considered, this CD is an enjoyable, if imperfect, document of this 2001 concert. ~ Alex Henderson