Humour and melancholy combine for this impressive adventure
Paul Dunlea Group: Bi-polar (no label) Paul Dunlea (trombone), Danny Healy (trumpet/flugelhorn), Nick Roth (soprano/alto saxes), Eoin Walsh (bass), Philip Collins (piano/Rhodes), Davie Ryan (drums), plus Michael Buckley (alto flute) on one track.
Dunlea, Healy and Roth are regular members of the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra. Their sextet work finds them exploring a different path. Six originals by the leader show him to be a thoughtful and sensitive composer, with a gift for blending instruments to paint pictures in sound. The Honeymoon is Over is a melancholy piece, featuring attractive solos by flugelhorn and piano. The trombonist adds a touch of humour to Twists and Turns, contrasting with the gentle mood of Slightly.
Michael Buckley's alto flute solo enhances the staccato bounce of Throwback.
The album artwork by Barbara Griffin is a definite bonus: the design matches the music, and the information is clearly legible. Other designers please take note.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band: St Peter & 57th St (Rounder Records)
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is joined by other bands and singers on this live recording from Carnegie Hall. It's hard to know who this album is aimed at. New Orleans purists would be bored by the bluegrass Del McCoury Band, while blues lovers are sure to own several better versions of St James Infirmary and Careless Love than those sung here.
Allen Toussaint, who can be highly entertaining at his best, seems not to be making much of an effort on his two tracks.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band itself provides moments of toe-tapping nostalgia, but fails to generate excitement. The most enjoyable number is El Manicero, a lilting version of The Peanut Vendor with vocals in English and Spanish by Tao Seeger, a grandson of Pete Seeger. Best value in town: for €10 you can hear the Louis Stewart Quartet this afternoon in JJ Smyth's. Doors open 4pm.
Correction: An error two Sundays ago inadvertantly added several years to Ronan Guilfoyle's age. It was, of course, in the late Seventies that he played with Noel Kelehan, not the Sixties.