Wardell Quezergue, Music for Children Ages 3 to 103 (Jazz Foundation of America)

quezergueThey don’t call this guy “the Creole Beethoven” for nothing. Despite its title, this isn’t just a kids’ CD. Some of the material has rather simple nursery rhythms and arrangements—hence the album title—but Quezergue and company cover a lot of ground here. The opener, “Jack and Jill,” has a pop/funk arrangement, quite similar to the classic Pointer Sisters sound. Luther Kent gets into the act on “Swamp Stompin’.” While he does a creditable job, the song might well have served Dr. John better. Speaking of Dr. John, his cameo on “Take Care of Yourself,” is a cracker that sounds like it was an unreleased track for the “Right Place, Wrong Time” session.

There are a couple of superlative Leslie Smith ballads here delivered torch-style by Shannon McNally, and Quezergue’s approach to his son’s otherwise simple song, “La, La, La,” is to give it a Latin arrangement not too far removed from what Sergio Mendes does. Can’t say there is a best song on this set, as from beginning-to-end Quezergue works his magic through others just as he has always done. This one will grow on listeners as well as appeal to the kid in all of us.