Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Dr. Michael White: Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Part 2

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Clarinetist Dr. Michael White’s second installment in a project designed to freshen traditional New Orleans material with newer tunes done in that same style has a certain charm; it certainly goes down easy. It’s also limited, and some of White’s choices-particularly a recasting of “Happy Together” that robs the Turtles’ original of its pop charm, and a “Me and Bobby McGee” that bleaches the pathos out of Janis Joplin’s classic-are questionable.

But above all, Adventures is accessible, like a souvenir. It evokes simpler times through simple rhythms, vintage instruments and beats that rarely vary or transcend mid-tempo. The version of “St. James Infirmary” is appropriately weepy, and “Midnight Special,” sparked by White’s smooth solo and the deferential banjo of Detroit Brooks, is endearingly loopy. There’s even occasional depth: Dr. Lonnie Smith’s dirge, the darkling and moving “And the World Weeps,” delivers welcome, surprising and too-rare gravity.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published