Matt Lemmler, The Music of New Orleans (Independent)

Matt Lemmler the Music of New Orleans

Although the idea of doing modern versions of traditional New Orleans classics is not a new one, it is always a welcome one. For the old stalwarts to live and not be museum pieces, an update is in order. Pianist Matt Lemmler has given some of these tunes a modern piano trio twist that, although not radical, is still a new approach. [iframe class="spotify-right" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:3BDvTDEEDvsv1DSu3a7UHF" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"]Buy on AmazonBuy on iTunesLemmler, bassist Mark Brooks, and drummer Joe Ferreira lend a jaunty, swinging, in-the-pocket feel to the songs. Most of the standards go the straight-ahead route, but Lemmler adds some unexpected twists: a quick tag on the end of “After You’re Gone” or, several times mid-solo, he’ll play that same thing in both hands at the same time. His solo start on “St. James Infirmary Blues” is one of the saddest, most mournful ones you may hear until he blasts off midway through in a defiant run of stabbed chords mixed with dissonant clusters for balance. Along with his version of the rare “Original Dixieland One-Step,” it is great to hear these warhorses, but his takes on “What A Wonderful World” and “Sweet Lorraine” are too similar to many other versions. It might be a better idea to try material other than the same 10-20 songs performed by every New Orleans musician. That being said, Lemmler and his band have put out a good record of updated classics that will please even the discriminating listener.