Richard Scott is one of the freaks of the New Orleans trad-jazz scene.
He romps on the piano, is the trombonist with the Dukes of Dixieland, and is probably the most well-rounded accordionist in the city.
He also plays banjo, acoustic bass and God-knows-what-else.
His last album was the wide-ranging, accordion-heavy Late Lunch, a marvelous and sometimes eccentric collection of originals. Jambalaya Town, his third album as a bandleader, is more conventional, 95-percent New Orleans Dixieland. Its greatest strengths are the tunes, all Scott originals that inspire some of the city’s finest musicians, pieces that are clever without going outside the parameters of the style.
There are 16 sidemen here, some of them Dukes, but mostly Scott’s cohorts from his regular nights as pianist at Fritzel’s on Bourbon Street. Clarinetists Tom Fischer and Bruce Brackman are outstanding, as is Gerald French on vocals and drums. Vocalist Cristina Perez Edmunds is new to me and a very nice surprise. Anais St. John shows fine gospel feel on one tune, and Scott is appropriately rowdy throughout.
The album is testimony to the fact that there’s still some exciting trad-jazz playing and fresh-tune writing on Bourbon Street—you just need to go seven blocks into the French Quarter to find it.