NORBERT HEIZMANN UND NOTTY’S JUG SERENADERS: Zwischen Philosophie und Phydläsophie

Ladwig-Jazz-Records LJR 2011 19   (73:18)


Gus Cannon sang “Going To Germany” way back and, maybe he actually had Lake Constance in mind, as he obviously stayed there for a while with some of his Memphis cohorts, I guess – certainly long enough to show the locals a few techniques and establish a tradition these days continued by Notty’s Jug Serenaders, who have featured in these pages before. On this set, band-member Norbert Heizmann takes centre stage, though with Notty and crew in support, and it shows them continuing the transition from US-styled sounds to something more indigenous that has been evident over their last few releases.

Norbert tackles the songs mostly in German dialect (I’m really only playing it safe in saying ‘mostly’, merely because I did find I could understand odd – some very odd – phrases and words) and he also plays ukulele – well, he would, wouldn’t he? Backing consists of a mixture of sax, trumpet, guitars, bass, drums, spoons and sundry other instruments, and the tracks include items that could be labelled as near New Orleans jazz, kind of Harry Belafonte flavoured calypso, drunken folk-club sing-alongs, an illumination of the Celtic twilight, a nod to Eurovision maybe, and even a bit of human beat box propelled, barbershop styled, hip-hop yodeling – honest.

So no, boring and predictable it ain’t! If old Gus was still around to see what Notty and company were doing, like most of us he probably wouldn’t have a clue what they are going on about – or sometimes what’s actually going on – but he would certainly appreciate the musicianship and sense of fun that is palpably present on this set. <>


(Norman Darwen)