“Rollicking” best describes the music on this self-titled release by trombonist and leader Charlie Halloran. Since arriving on the New Orleans scene from his St. Louis home in 2008, Halloran has turned up blowing with a number of like-minded, traditional jazz groups as a denizen of Frenchmen Street.
Here he heads his own band filled with well-known artists including trumpeter Charlie Fardella, clarinetist Tim Laughlin, pianist Steve Pistorius, bassist Tom Saunders and drummer Walter Harris with Jimbo Mathus stepping in on vocals. If these guys’ music is familiar, it’s possible to have a good idea of the style—and good-time vibe—they create when they merge as the “Quality 6.” For one, there’s a lot of old-school flavor in the horn players’ approach to the music. Halloran doesn’t forget that the trombone in particular holds what seems to be an innate quality to be humorous, with its low groans and slippery notes. The trombonist takes advantage of those personality traits throughout the album and it jumps out on the frisky “The Ramble.”
Halloran and Pistorius go head to head on “Weather Bird,” as the composers—trumpeter Louis Armstrong and pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines—once did long ago. It’s a good selection on an album full of classics that are thankfully not the most familiar chestnuts in the traditional jazz songbook.