Recorded May 3, 1986 at Confectioners' Hall, New Orleans, LA
This is a recording of a dance, not folks dancing to a recording session.
I have played many such dances in New Orleans over the years. They are all following a pattern. You play for the people at all times, whatever they want. Foxtrots, Quicksteps, Waltzes, Rhumbas, Tangos - whatever the people want. There are hardly ever any announcements from the orchestra. Generally one of the horns plays a bar or so of the request and holds up two fingers (denoting Bb) or four fingers (Ab) and so on. Within a minute the horn player just start to play the song. Most times the first accompanist (almost always the drums) gets in behind the horn, then the guitar, piano, or banjo comes in within a couple of beat. It's like a special code. Most times you play three songs then rest for maybe a minute then play three more, all down the line all night.
That was the case here at this dance at Confectioners' Hall on Saturday May 3rd 1996. There were mostly locals comprising the crowd, interspersed with international jazz fans here for the French Quarter Festival. A motley crew indeed!
We had played the same dance at the same hall the year before on Friday May 3, 1985. This CD has the same band with the exception of the trumpet. Percy Humphrey played the first year and his nephew, Emery Thompson, was the trumpetist on this CD. We always had food - the first year the caterer was chef Jacques Gauthe, but 1986's chef was Austin Leslie from Chez Helene.
This recording was made by Alden Ashforth, assisted by Steve Teeter on a single source stereo-field Sony microphone hung about 2 feet in front of the orchestra. It was suspended from the ceiling.
The band had no mics, so whoever had the loudest voice (yours truly) sang.
This recording comprises the entire middle set. There has been no editing whatsoever. What you hear is what the dancers heard. The songs were recorded in the same order they were played. The place was packed as it was for the previous year.
I had been back in New Orleans for about two years after spending nine years in Los Angeles. It was good to be back after years of international touring.
The band needs no introduction; they are all the top men for such a job. I must say that the rhythm section of Justin and Chester is one, if not the best I have ever played with. We sound as one man, and isn't that how it's supposed to be?
Sit back and enjoy the music, or better still, get up and dance!
New Orleans, May 3rd 2016
(30 years after this dance was recorded)
released May 3, 2016
Emery Thompson - trumpet
Louis Nelson - trombone
Chris Burke - clarinet
Justin Adam - guitar
Chester Zardis - bass
Barry Martyn - drums
Recorded by: Alden Ashforth
Mastered by: Richard Bird