edited review by Seva Benet (http://sevavenet.com):
The Storyville Stringband of New Orleans: My Bayou Home (cdbaby.com)
When one thinks of a string band performing jazz what will readily come to mind will probably be an ensemble modeled after a Django Reinhardt band. There is, however, an exciting string jazz ensemble that predates the Hot-clubs: the New Orleans string bands that were swinging hot when Louis Armstrong was still in short pants.
Edmond “Doc” Souchon’s band, the 6 7/8 string band of New Orleans. formed around 1911 and modeled itself after the string bands the members heard around New Orleans, especially around the Storyville district where Armstrong delivered coal, sold papers and got his first professional gig subbing for Joe “King” Oliver.
The Storyville Stringband has been picking its way into the 21st century carrying a torch that was reduced to embers after the passing of Souchon in the late 1960’s. On their 2nd CD “My Bayou Home”, the Storyville Stringband plays all acoustic mostly vintage string instruments including a 1929 National triolian steel guitar, a 1937 Gibson L7, a 2011 Deering V-6 Senator 6 string banjo, a 1927 Vega Little wonder banjo mandolin, a 1930 Martin, 1937 National triolian tenor guitar, violin, mandolin, and upright bass.
The CD was recorded live in two sessions featuring different configurations of the above instrumentation with half the songs featuring a four piece combo of bass, rhythm guitar, mandolin or violin, and lead acoustic guitar or “Hawaiian” style slide. The other half of the CD features, instead of mandolin and violin, a mandolin banjo and/or a tenor guitar. Also, the 6 string banjo is featured on two songs.
“My Bayou Home” is a collection of mostly original tunes that delve deep into New Orleans traditional roots music. Though any one of these songs would be perfect for a complete jazz ensemble, they are presented here in two configurations of string ensembles loosely modeled after the early string bands of New Orleans (most notably the exciting 6 7/8 string band).
“My Bayou Home” includes instrumental and vocal songs tastefully influenced by Jelly Roll Morton, Ragtime (there are three rags here), traditional spiritual hymns (the George Lewis inspired title track), New Orleans string bands (with a vocal feature by the rhythm guitarist John Parker whose grandfather was the leader and founder of the 6 7/8 string band), a celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans (aptly titled “Celebrate!” and building on the popular latin cinquillo rhythm) as well as two Hawaiian numbers, including the popular Louis Armstrong hit “Song of the Islands.”