Stomp Off, Let's Go!

by Riverside Jazz Collective

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about

In the old days, when one could see the liner notes on the back of the “record,” or the “lp,” those paragraphs served a commercial purpose: to make the undecided purchaser head to the cash register at a trot, clutching the record. Today, the purchaser might read the notes after buying the CD (or perhaps not at all): so I write to share my enthusiasm. And there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about the Riverside Jazz Collective.

Musicians I know speak of “playing tunes,” as in “Oh, we played some tunes,” which suggests that on those occasions there is little written music but much collective joy that comes out of well-earned knowledge of the music. The RJC knows the original records and they may have “roadmaps” as in “Second chorus is stop-time for cornet and piano only,” but they aren’t trying to create imitations of the classics in the best sound. And they have the comfortable ease and friendliness – to us, to each other – of A Working Band, something delicious and rare.

The RJC is interested in “old” songs that are melodically and emotionally durable – from joyous stomps to love songs to one Chicago lament that says, “You know what? I’m going to kill myself,” even if the lyrics are too witty for that to be a real threat. Their repertoire is often “New Orleans jazz,” however you might define it, as it surfaced in other cities, notably Chicago. And one can point to a good number of Ancestors here, from Tony Jackson to Louis Armstrong to Oliver, Morton, Keppard, Bunk, and Ory.

This band also enacts a neat balance between collective improvisation and solos, but they bring a little twenty-first century energy, elegance, and intelligence to their hot reverence. Enthusiasm is the driving force here, not cautious antiquarianism. This band has also heard jazz created after 1927, and that awareness gives these performances a happy elasticity, an optimistic bounce. Hear HERE COMES THE TAMALE MAN for a brilliant example of sonic joy-spreading. I could explain more, but it would cost extra.

It feels good, and it feels real. You know there are mountains of what I’d call “tofu music” being marketed as genuine, but your ears, your feet, and your heart tell you when the jazz has been manufactured in a lab by chemists. I greet the Riverside Jazz Collective at the start of what I hope is their brilliant career. My words are written in a time of ice and snow, but the music warms and embraces. And now IT BELONGS TO YOU.

Michael Steinman
JAZZ LIVES
www.jazzlives.wordpress.com

credits

released March 16, 2018

This album was recorded at the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music and funded by a generous donation from the Perkin Fund.

Produced by Benny Amon, Alex Belhaj and Kris Tokarski

Recording and Mixing Engineer: Daryl Dickerson (Ellis Marsalis Center For Music)

Mastering: David Farrell

Graphic Design and Layout: Nathan duToit

Musicians:

Benny Amon - Drums
Alex Belhaj - Guitar & Vocal (6, 10)
Kris Tokarski - Piano
Tyler Thomson - String Bass (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 12, 13)
Ben Polcer - Trumpet (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 12, 13) & Vocal (12)
Andy Reid - String Bass (2, 5, 10, 11, 14, 15)
Alex Owen - Cornet (2, 5, 10, 11, 14, 15) & Vocal (2)
Charlie Halloran - Trombone
Chloe Feoranzo - Clarinet & Vocal (15)

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about

Riverside Jazz Collective New Orleans, Louisiana

The Riverside Jazz Collective is a seven-piece traditional jazz band based in New Orleans, LA.

Comprised of some of the city's finest young musicians, the RJC strives to play the beautiful traditional jazz music of the Crescent City.

From struts, stomps and spirituals, to ragtime, popular songs and the blues the RJC interprets classic and obscure jazz music of the early 20th century.
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