Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Old school, new stomp

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2000 at 12:00 AM

How about some old-fashioned New Orleans music by a guy from Milwaukee who was born in England? While Norrie Cox’s trad-jazz pedigree is geographically suspect, his innate grasp of New Orleans music is anything but. Inspired by now-legendary clarinetists from the Big Easy such as Johnny Dodds and George Lewis, veteran Cox is a steadfast bandleader who keeps the rhythm rolling in no uncertain terms. Along with Charlie Devore playing cornet, trombonist Jim Klippert and Mike Carrell on banjo and guitar, he presides over the Stompers’ front line with festive enthusiasm and bold confidence. Drawing from an exceedingly rich repertoire that was established more than a half-century ago, Cox and his gang of elders breathe new life into compositions by Irving Berlin, Guy Lombardo and Ellington altoist Johnny Hodges, as well as revitalizing traditional tunes such as "Jerusalem Blues." Keeping the song melodies right up front and their tempos within a danceable range, these graybeards play obscure yet essential New Orleans music once associated with Jelly Roll Morton, Wingy Manone and Kid Thomas. With their jazzbo vocabulary down pat, Cox and his Stompers take those bygone Dance Hall Days and bring them into the next century without missing a beat.

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