Successor to Cygnet Productions
New Orleans to Texas covers two aspects of the growth and spread of music from the Crescent City. It treats the black indigenous jazz and blues of the city in the twenties but also follows its musicians to Dallas, Texas where they interacted with the locals who had a largely compatible though less formal style of their own based on the entertainment centre of Elm Street, known as "Deep Ellum", spreading out to cover a wider area and such diverse developments as big band jazz and deep piano blues in the thirties. In the latter aspect we had the invaluable expert help of the piano blues specialist Michael Hortig.
Crescent City Cornet, by Christopher Hillman and Richard Rains, published in November 2015 is an analysis of the evolution and development of New Orleans cornet and trumpet style from before the start of jazz proper up until the present day. It will cover the playing of virtually all known exponents from the city and related environs, both famous and obscure, whose work is available to us on recordings. It will also include an assessment of those important musicians who did not record from the valuations of their peers and from the common factors in the playing of those whom they are known or assessed to have influenced. The Foreword is by Claes Ringqvist, founder and President of the Swedish Bunk Johnson Society and a trumpet player himself.
The companion volume Crescent City Reeds, published in October 2016, is a similar and compatible study of New Orleans clarinet and saxophone players active in the city and beyond with particular reference to the development of the movement from its beginnings in the Creole musical institutions, through its impact upon classic jazz and the white "Dixieland" style and rhythm-and-blues to its resurgence in the post-war revival of interest in New Orleans jazz. It has a Foreword by the noted Australian writer Tony Standish. It was published in October 2016.
The third volume in the series, Crescent City Slidemen, covers all trombonists, valve and slide, from New Orleans from the birth of jazz to the present day. Due to the relatively few musicians to be covered, the opportunity has been taken to include a number of cornetists and trumpeters who were omitted from Crescent City Cornet, making their coverage as complete as that of the musicians in the other companion volumes. The book has a Foreword by Doug Landau, previously Editor of New Orleans Music magazine, and has benefitted from the involvement of a British trombonist in the New Orleans style, Mike Pointon, with further enhancement by another, Mike Casimir.
The previous productions of Chris Hillman Books are two companion volumes covering blues pianists operating in Chicago during the nineteen-thirties who recorded under the promotion of the Melrose Brothers, Lester and Walter, on the A.R.C., Vocalion and Bluebird labels. The first, The Ivory Men, covers the mysterious Black Bob and the less mysterious Blind John Davis. The Second, The Ivory Ladies, covers two important female pianists active in the same area, Aletha Dickerson and Myrtle Jenkins as well as a number of other male musicians who took part in Melrose promotions.
Both books are written by Christopher Hillman and Daniel Gugolz with the collaboration of Paolo Fornara. Both Daniel and Paulo are expert and experienced musicians and enthusiasts who are steeped in the piano blues.