Adonis Rose and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra with Cyrille Aimée: Petite Fleur

When Adonis Rose was a teenager he played drums in the Ellis Marsalis quintet and toured with Terence Blanchard. He then worked with Betty Carter and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. In 2002, he took the chair of drums with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO). In 2016, he was the leader of the group.

This is NOJO’s second album under the direction of Rose. It reflects the shared history of New Orleans and France, and each piece is associated with a musician from one or both of these places. Nine of the tracks were composed by artists such as Sidney Bechet, Burton Lane, Michel Legrand, Django Reinhardt and Jelly Roll Morton. The tenth is an original written by the group’s French singer, Cyrille Aimée, who recently moved to Crescent City.

Bechet was a resident of New Orleans before migrating to France. His composition, Petite Fleur, opens the album with a rich and sonorous bass and stars Ricardo Pascal on the soprano. Aimée sings it in French. Legrand’s ballad What do you do the rest of your life? has a sparkling trumpet solo and the singer in a sultry vein. After a careful interpretation of Reinhardt’s Si Tu Savais, Aimée continues with a rock and sometimes throaty delivery of I Don’t Hurt Anymore with a suitably growling trombone as an accompaniment.

Four of the numbers – The Land Of Beginning Again, On A Clear Day, a fast-paced version of Undecided and Aimée’s own line-up have an upbeat scat from the singer. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of this particular vocal style, but it does add value here and in that regard Aimée is one step ahead of many singers who try it out. Carl Sigman’s song, Crazy He Calls Me, has a top notch piano solo. It is followed by the Jelly Roll Morton classic, Get The Bucket, with finger-snapping vocals from the band members and a scorching tenor saxophone. Aimée’s energetic foot tapper Down closes the album with lyrics about her move to New Orleans and features a sparkling duel between trumpets.

Overall, this album offers stunning arrangements, splendid ensemble playing, top notch soloists and a versatile and clear singer. Who could ask for more?

Little Flower; What are you doing for the rest of your life? ; If you knew ; I don’t hurt anymore; In the land of new beginnings; Crazy, he calls me; A clear day; Get the bucket; Undecided; Stockings (44.53)
Rose (arr, d); Cyrille Aimée (v); Victor Atkins (p); Ari Teitel (g); Jason Stewart (b); Alexi Marti (pc); Khari Lee, Jeronne Ansari (as); Ed Peterson, Ricardo Pascal, Derrick Douget (ts); Trevarri Huff-Boone (bs); Barney Floyd, Ricio Fruge, Ashlin Parker, Brice Miller, Kevin Louis, John Bradford

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Henry R. Wright