Sony Classical Disc Serves Up Authentic Dixieland Jazz

Woody Allen is quite candid in "Wild Man Blues" about his limitations as a musician. While he knows some dandy tricks in the Dixieland game, he doesn't claim to play in the same league as true big-timers like Sidney Bechet or other legends of the past.

Music fans hankering for a taste of the real thing can find a hefty serving on "Because of You," the latest CD by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, perhaps the most celebrated keepers of the Dixieland flame. Preserving the sound and spirit of the New Orleans style in New Orleans itself, they exude an authenticity and originality that no other group can quite match.

This disc from Sony Classical is most memorable in its most familiar pieces, from the Bechet classic "Petite Fleur" to standards like "Muskrat Ramble" and "We'll Meet Again." The seven players trade rollicking riffs like the masters they are, piling complex counterpoints atop funky rhythms that rarely lose their full head of steam. Narvin Kimball, the band's most long-standing member, rounds out the package with earthy vocals.

This is the genuine article, and Allen would surely agree that it's priceless.

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