New Orleans’ musical tradition has produced many memorable artists. But while Jazzy Ash isn’t the first kids musician to use the city of New Orleans as musical inspiration, for a region with such a vital musical heritage, when it comes to kids music it’s still been underrepresented. With her latest album Bon Voyage, Jazzy Ash continues to further fold New Orleans’ rich musical tradition into songs for the kindergarten set.
Jazzy Ash is the nom de plume of musician Ashli Christoval. Although her mom was from New Orleans, her dad from Trinidad, and she spent summers in New Orleans with her mom’s aunts and grandparents, it wasn’t until a couple years ago on that she really started to incorporated the music of the Crescent City into her own recordings.
On Bon Voyage Christoval covers one of New Orleans’ best-known native sons, Louis Armstrong, on “Heebie Jeebies,” a song he made famous. But beyond the Dixieland jazz sound strongly identified with the city, Jazzy Ash uses her bright, playful voice in other genres more commonly associated with the rural areas around the city, like the zydeco sound on “Leap Frog.” And while a couple songs draw attention to their New Orleans origin, for the most part Christoval uses the bayou mixture of jazz, blues, and creole as the starting point for songs that could be appropriate for Louisiana, but might be at home as well in her current home state of California (see the gypsy jazz track “Firefly").
With Bon Voyage, Jazzy Ash fully connects with her own family’s musical heritage, yet incorporates those 100-year-old traditions into 21st century kids music. It's a buoyant and warm-hearted album for the younger set. Definitely recommended.
Note: I received a copy of the album for possible review.