I had not previously heard of Chloe and Conrad but I was immediately enchanted. It must be one of the sweetest performances by just two musicians ever to appear on YouTube. If you haven't yet seen the video, please have a look by clicking on here. Isn't that delightful?
But after that touching, gentle performance (in 2012), fast forward to April 2016 and watch Chloe playing the C melody sax, trading bars at high speed with James Evans. The final couple of minutes of this video (the last four choruses) are sensational: click here to view it. On that evidence (Chloe had just moved to New Orleans a few days earlier and this was her first full gig with the band) I would say Chloe was at that time the best and most exciting traditional jazz reed player aged under 25 in the world. She is brilliant on saxes and clarinet and also plays ukulele and she sings most beautifully. What a talented young lady!
And then, for more excitement, watch both Conrad and Chloe in the same week playing Fidgety Feet in New Orleans with The Shotgun Jazz Band by clicking here.
When I previously visited New Orleans in April 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting Conrad who, like me, was there for the French Quarter Festival.
They made some great videos in Conrad's living room. Curiously enough, they really enjoyed sitting on the floor to play. So when they made a CD, they called it Four on the Floor (including Conrad's vacuum cleaner, which happens to feature in some of the videos!). An artistic friend, Thomas Yamaoka, produced these very effective front and back covers for the CD:
A few days later, their colleague Justin Au arrived in New Orleans and he too sat in with The Shotgun Jazz Band at The Spotted Cat.
|Conrad, Chloe, Justin.|
The CD 'Four on the Floor' is a delight. Conrad explained to me that, because he and Justin live six hours apart, and Chloe was touring, the three friends got together only once or twice a year, including November for the San Diego Jazz Festival. Just for fun, they made a video, playing the Stars Wars Cantina Band Song.
by clicking here.) This led to the idea of recording an album; but it took another year to make and then a further year to mix, master and produce, finally appearing in November 2015.
With a guest on four of the eleven tracks, and vocals on five tracks, there is technically brilliant music in a variety of moods, with some slick arrangements. The very popular Katie Cavera on banjo and bass is one of the guests; the other is Corey Gemme on trombone (though elsewhere he also plays reeds, cornet, sousaphone and is a composer!).
For example, there's an astonishing number of clever touches to enjoy in Riverboat Shuffle, which they take at quite a pace.
Conrad told me the JC Jazz Crew were planning to be together again next in November 2016.