HOLLYWOOD (Perfect Music Today) 12/15/20/–“Who’s in the band?” is often the first question asked by ardent music enthusiasts. When it comes to the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the answer is “All ace players on the Crescent City’s jazz and brass band scene.”
Driving the ensemble on its Grammy-nominated release, Atmosphere, is the solid rhythm section with the mighty team of bass drummer Caytanio Hingle and snare man Kerry “Fatman” Hunter of the New Birth Brass Band plus the spectacularly lowdown sousaphonist Matt Perrine. They immediately get goin’ on the opener, “Gentilly Groove,” written by tenor saxophonist Brent Rose. Like many of the selections, it successfully incorporates the street beats that are core to brass band music and sophisticated modern jazz improvisation as heard here on Rose’s creative solo.
Impressively, several of the members of the band contribute original material with other tracks boasting New Orleans connections that stylistically go with the flow. For instance, trombonist Craig Klein vocally takes on Lee Dorsey’s rhythm and blues classic “Great Googa Mooga.” The ‘Crawlers show that they’ve done their essential homework in the traditions performing an oh-so-slow dirge, “Tomb Tune,” written by Klein, Jimmy Carpenter and the late great Wardell Quezergue. It includes some lovely clarinet from Jason Mingledorff that smartly leads right into his uptempo “Ursuline Second Line.”
Fans of the sousaphone should dig the appropriately titled “Big Bottom” that has Perrine joined by Klein and Wes Anderson Jr., known best as trombonists, on the jumbo horn. Emphasizing the lower end on this fun tune is guest, baritone saxophonist Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs.
The New Orleans Nightcrawlers fillAtmosphere with jumpin’ good-times, fine musicianship and a welcoming sense to join these old friends in the joy of music.