Norbert Susemihl has been playing New Orleans music since the tender age of 14, when he co-founded Papa Tom’s Lamentation Jazz Band in Hamburg, Germany. He’s been a fixture of the European traditional New Orleans jazz scene ever since. He began splitting his time between Europe and New Orleans in 1978 and has been a devout student of all facets of New Orleans’ music and culture. On his newest album, Norbert Susemihl’s Joyful Gumbo, he has joined members of his Scandinavian-based band with special guests Jason Marsalis on drums and Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and vocals. Norbert plays trumpet, flugelhorn, and sings on the album, which was recorded live on tour in Denmark and Sweden.
The song selection isn’t slavish to the traditional New Orleans jazz repertoire—there are a few surprise choices in the mix. Many of the classic tunes are deftly rendered, such as “Climax Rag,” “My Indian Red” and “Don’t You Leave Me Here.” Chloe’s vocals on a moody rendition of “Comes Love” are a standout. There is also the Fats Domino favorite “I’m Walking,” Brazilian composer Pixinguinha’s choro tune “Um A Zero,” and Ellington’s calypso-swing “Limbo Jazz.” Be sure to listen for Norbert’s hip-hop scat solo on “Diga Diga Doo.” Yes, you read that right. The band smoothly navigates the variance in styles, bringing us a broad-spectrum view of what the New Orleans jazz scene is today.