Christopher von Volborth | Porkopolis Blues

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Jazz quartet Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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Porkopolis Blues

by Christopher von Volborth

Straight-ahead jazz with the unique combination of clarinet and curved soprano saxophone in a swinging quartet setting with drums and bass.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. There'll Be Some Changes Made
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5:31 album only
2. Alone Together
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4:56 album only
3. Dance Little Bird - the Chicken Dance
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3:10 album only
4. Rockin' Chair
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4:35 album only
5. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
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5:55 album only
6. 'Deed I Do
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2:59 album only
7. Medley: Old Folks, a Lovely Way to Spend An Evening, Everything
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6:04 album only
8. Porkopolis Blues
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4:45 album only
9. Rockin' Chair (alt. Take)
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4:28 album only
10. The Drummer From Belfast
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5:08 album only
11. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
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4:42 album only


Album Notes
Porkopolis Blues is a non-pretentious, straight ahead jazz session, featuring some of Cincinnati's finest players.

The quartet format features clarinet, curved soprano saxophone, drums and bass, in a highly unique and individualistic approach to jazz.

The music is lively and the rapport between the featured reedmen, Chris von Volborth and the internationally reknowned clarinetist Joe Lukasik, is highly sympathetic and artistically spontaneous.

Chris, known for his early 1980 production of The Jazz Minstrels, has an unusually mellow yet fat sound on the curved soprano and is also featured on the sopranino saxophone; Joe plays the Eb clarinet on one selection.

These are unusual instruments to be featured in small-group jazz endeavours, yet here they are employed with great effect.

A solid underpinning of drums and bass is evident throughout this recording, based on years of jazz performance experience.

Chris has played jazz in both the US and Europe. He studied briefly with Joe Viola and Charlie Mariano while a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

Ron McCurdy, drums, first made his mark with Curtis Peagler's Jazz Disciples on Prestige Records in the early fifties, and became a staple on the Cincinnati jazz scene. He is the house drummer at The DeFelice Cafe in Covington, Kentucky.

Lou Lausche, bass, has recorded on Concord with Cal Collins, among others. He is also featured on Cadence releases with Paul Plummer and Ron Enyard, and stays busy as one of the locally more sought after bassists.

Joe Lukasik is truly a clarinet giant, that rare case of an all-around professional who has his own distinctive contemporary sound. He is equally at home in classical, jazz, and ethnic music settings.

Clearly, swinging is the primary goal of these seasoned jazz players.

Porkopolis Blues is a tribute to the rich jazz heritage of Cincinnati (Porkopolis), Ohio.

It is toe tapping jazz, sometimes mainstreamish, sometimes boppish, always musical, that leaves you feeling happy and satisfied.

There is even room for a tongue-in-cheek approach to The Chicken Dance (Cincinnati boasts the world's largest Chicken Dance during Oktoberfest, on the order of thousands gyrating simultaneously on Fountain Square), which opens with a Tyrolean flavored Rollinesque calypso beat, and settles into a funky and straight ahead shuffle workout! It's definitely unique.

You'll recognize old standards such as Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair."

Chris has contributed two of his own compositions, "Porkopolis Blues," and "The Drummer from Belfast," dedicated to Ron who originally emigrated to the U.S. from guess where???

America is rediscovering swing and jazz, the music that has the honest and smoky bar-room punch. The funk that is bred in the heart, not the suburbs. The enthusiasm that is not afraid to say "music is fun!" This CD has all those qualities and more.

We wish you happy listening.


to write a review

C. Velline

Delicate & unique rendering
I truly like this CD and the liner/cover photos. I also like to hear instrumentals with designated instruments standing out clearly. On this CD we really have some “soulo” playing. It is hard to stick out there all alone with just some rhythm behind. Chris and his group are fully up to that and excel in the simple straight forward balanced sound of their horns. Thanks to the precisely focused rhythm the CD really hangs together. Delicate and unique. Thanks!

John Temmerman,

Great Soprano Saxophone, Great Clarinet, Great Band
This CD is even better than I anticipated - plenty of Chris's warm soprano sound and great technique, along with his sweet sound on the difficult and unusual sopranino, applied to a tasty array of standards and originals.

Chris's collaborators, Joe Lukasik on clarinet and E-flat clarinet, Lou Lausche on bass and Ron McCurdy on drums are great players all. The four of them play very together and very well in an extremely challenging format - without either guitar or piano as a harmony instrument.

I found this CD satisfying from start to finish, with inclusion of some of my own favorites, Alone Together, and Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me. Chris's own Porkopolis Blues is a delight. An additional bonus was inclusion of The Chicken Dance Song, which is now so hip that there was a front page article about it in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week (week of July 16, 2001.)

I did miss his big, breathy tenor sound. I hope I hear it on his next recording.

If you like mainstream jazz with warm soprano and clarinet solos, go out and get this CD right away. It's that good.

Claire Duvernoy, M.d.

This is a really fun CD which is eminently listenable, yet doesn't sacrifice jazz roots and soul.
Both jazz aficionados and newcomers will find it very enjoyable listening.

Fm Fats

Good stuff!
This is some hot stuff, classic American music it's been kinda hard to come by anymore. It laughs with you, it swings, and it makes you think. These cats can play their hineys off, too; don't go thinking that all the good players are in New York and California when you can find these Cincy homies in the dives of the Ohio Valley!

B. X Lateef

This CD has it all - and then some!
This is a great CD. There's something on it for everyone and everything on it is for someone. Von Volborth and crew combine the best of bop, with traditional jazz and a bit of the avante garde. When they're avante garde, they're tasteful and approachable. When they're traditional, they're still original. And when they're bopping, well, they really bop, man! This is what the soprano sax was meant for!!!