Sunday, December 26, 2010
Garbage Man, is Tuba Skinny's latest release! Like their two previous CD's the band brings us the trademark sound they've become known around the world for.
I can't remember what Shaye said last night, something about it being recorded in an old Church, or School or something, in New York this fall. The band had a long tour this Summer, and this was done before heading back to New Orleans.
It's a wonderfully sounding recording, you can feel the big room atmosphere and it's balanced so nicely, it reminds of some of the Jazz Revival recordings, of the 40's and 50's with the legendary players here.
Erika Lewis sings some new traditional blues numbers, that are sure to please ALL fans and new listeners a like. I simply can't enough of "Frosty Morning Blues" and "Muddy Water"!
Kiowa also releases another original song titled "Weary Eye'd Blues" , a real beauty, and for those Robin fans, with the washboard breaks and dancers who like it a bit faster, we have a great version of "Some of these days" and "Minor Drag".
Finally, someone covered Garbage Man, and the perfect band to do it, the collective singing, Barnabus' trombone, with Shaye on Cornet…it all comes together here.
It's Tuba Skinny, what really is there to say, I know everyone that knows who they are is already scrambling to get this, for those that have never heard of this band, check em out, do a youtube search…They are a group of friends that live like a family, and this is what they live for…
For more information on Tuba Skinny: www.tubaskinny.tk
or email: Tubaskinny@gmail.com
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
We have a handful of Piano masters which will be taking turns on the 88, and more often then not, parties here end up here with some type of jam session....so bring your horns!!!
in other news, i'm sad to announce the destruction of Sidney Bechet's childhood home on Marais st.
in the past year or so, the house was looking pretty beat up, and during July of 2010, the roof in the front room
had collapsed. I certainly didn't see any reason to tear the house down, the foundation was fine!
certain historical groups have been trying to purchase the home, but finding the legal owners has been the difficult
part, being the last rightful owner pass away, leaving it in a tangle web of paper work.
last week, one member of the local historical group had a meeting with a local councilmen on the house, and
were to have a follow up meeting this Thursday. Unfortunately, last week someone decided to completely raze
the house and property...it's just one leveled dirt lot now.
This is where Sidney was living when he joined his first band which was his old brothers "Silver Bell Band"
which practiced in the backyard. (and as the stories go, where the police would show up because of Noise complaints)
it was from this house the family moved to the house on St Bernard...
Thursday, March 25, 2010
“In 1908 Handy didn't know anything about the blues and he doesn't know anything about jazz and stomps to this day. I myself figured out the peculiar form of mathematics and harmonies that was strange to all the world but me.”
“My contributions were many: First clown director, with witty sayings and flashily dressed, now called master of ceremonies.”
“Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm.”
“everything from blues to opera!”
“I have been robbed of three million dollars all told. Everyone today is playing my stuff and I don't even get credit. Kansas City style, Chicago style, New Orleans style hell, they're all Jelly Roll style.”
---JELLY ROLL MORTON---
He could back up everything he said by what he could do. --Omer Simeon
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Taken from the 1939 Alan Lomax recordings for the library of congress,
starting with Jelly Roll's famous explanation of the "femininity stamp".
Thanks to Jason Jurzak @ 511 Royal st. for the transcription.
:11 - "spoken" : this happen to be one of my first tunes, in the blues line, down in New Orleans.
In the very early days, when people first start to playin' piano in that section.
Of course when a man played piano, the stamp was on him, for life, the femininity stamp, and i didn't want that on,
so of course when i did start to playin', the song were kinda smutty a bit, not so smutty, but something like this.
0:51 - I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
Oooooh the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
I can pick it up a shake it like Stavin Chain.
I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
1:42 I had that gal, I had her in the grass.
I had that bitch, had her in the grass, yes baby.
I had that bitch, had her in the grass,
one day she got scared and a snake ran up her big ass.
Yes I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
2:32 I had that bitch, had her on the stump.
I had that bitch, had her on the stump.
I had that bitch and had her on the stump,
I fucked her 'til her pussy stunk.
I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
3:20 Nickles worth of beefsteak and a dimes worth of lard.
Nickles worth of beefsteak and a dimes worth of lard, yes baby.
Nickles worth of beefsteak a dimes worth of lard,
I'm gonna salavate your pussy 'til my peter get hard.
I'm the winin' boy, don't deny my name.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Yes, it's official Jelly Roll Morton's Childhood home has a Piano.
Cassidy Holden was the first to play it...and he filled the house with the Winin' Boy Blues.
Friday, February 19, 2010
This is a good solid general outline on the history.
I would consider this the basics of Jazz roots and i recommend
The Origins of Jazz - Pre 1895
A review of New Orleans' unique history and culture, with its distinctive character rooted in the colonial period, is helpful in understanding the complex circumstances that led to the development of New Orleans jazz. The city was founded in 1718 as part of the French Louisiana colony. The Louisiana territories were ceded to Spain in 1763 but were returned to France in 1803. France almost immediately sold the colony to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans differed greatly from the rest of the young United States in its Old World cultural relationships. The Creole culture was Catholic and French-speaking rather than Protestant and English-speaking. A more liberal outlook on life prevailed, with an appreciation of good food, wine, music, and dancing. Festivals were frequent, and Governor William Claiborne, the first American-appointed governor of the territory of Louisiana, reportedly commented that New Orleanians were ungovernable because of their preoccupation with dancing.
The colony's culture was enriched not only from Europe but from Africa as well. As early as 1721 enslaved West Africans totaled 30% of the population of New Orleans, and by the end of the 1700s people of varied African descent, both free and slave, made up more than half the city's population. Many arrived via the Caribbean and brought with them West Indian cultural traditions.
After the Louisiana Purchase, English-speaking Anglo- and African-Americans flooded into New Orleans. Partially because of the cultural friction, these newcomers began settling upriver from Canal Street and from the already full French Quarter (Vieux Carre). These settlements extended the city boundaries and created the "uptown" American sector as a district apart from the older Creole "downtown." The influx of black Americans, first as slaves and later as free people, into uptown neighborhoods brought the elements of the blues, spirituals, and rural dances to New Orleans' music.
Ethnic diversity increased further during the 19th century. Many German and Irish immigrants came before the Civil War, and the number of Italian immigrants increased afterward. The concentration of new European immigrants in New Orleans was unique in the South.
This rich mix of cultures in New Orleans resulted in considerable cultural exchange. An early example was the city's relatively large and free "Creole of color" community. Creoles of color were people of mixed African and European blood and were often well educated craft and trades people. Creole of color musicians were particularly known for their skill and discipline. Many were educated in France and played in the best orchestras in the city.
In the city, people of different cultures and races often lived close together (in spite of conventional prejudices), which facilitated cultural interaction. For instance, wealthier families occupied the new spacious avenues and boulevards uptown, such as St. Charles and Napoleon avenues, while poorer families of all races who served those who were better off often lived on the smaller streets in the centers of the larger blocks. New Orleans did not have mono cultural ghettos like many other cities.
New Orleans' unusual history, its unique outlook on life, its rich ethnic and cultural makeup, and the resulting cultural interaction set the stage for development and evolution of many distinctive traditions. The city is famous for its festivals, foods, and, especially, its music. Each ethnic group in New Orleans contributed to the very active musical environment in the city, and in this way to the development of early jazz.
A well-known example of early ethnic influences significant to the origins of jazz is the African dance and drumming tradition, which was documented in New Orleans. By the mid-18th century, slaves gathered socially on Sundays at a special market outside the city's rampart. Later, the area became known as Congo Square, famous for its African dances and the preservation of African musical and cultural elements.
Although dance in Congo Square ended before the Civil War, a related musical tradition surfaced in the African-American neighborhoods at least by the 1880s. The Mardi Gras Indians were black "gangs" whose members "masked" as American Indians on Mardi Gras day to honor them. Black Mardi Gras Indians felt a spiritual affinity with Native American Indians. On Mardi Gras day gang members roamed their neighborhoods looking to confront other gangs in a show of strength that sometimes turned violent. The demonstration included drumming and call-and-response chanting that was strongly reminiscent of West African and Caribbean music. Mardi Gras Indian music was part of the environment of early jazz. Several early jazz figures such as Louis Armstrong and Lee Collins described being affected by Mardi Gras Indian processions as youngsters, and Jelly Roll Morton claimed to have been a "spyboy," or scout, for an Indian gang as a teenager.
New Orleans music was also impacted by the popular musical forms that proliferated throughout the United States following the Civil War. Brass marching bands were the rage in the late 1880s, and brass bands cropped up across America. There was also a growing national interest in syncopated musical styles influenced by African-American traditions, such as cakewalks and minstrel tunes. By the 1890s syncopated piano compositions called ragtime created a popular music sensation, and brass bands began supplementing the standard march repertoire with ragtime pieces.
Early Development of Jazz - 1890 to 1917
Brass bands had become enormously popular in New Orleans as well as the rest of the country. In the 1880s New Orleans brass bands, such as the Excelsior and Onward, typically consisted of formally trained musicians reading complex scores for concerts, parades, and dances.
The roots of jazz were largely nourished in the African-American community but became a broader phenomenon that drew from many communities and ethnic groups in New Orleans. "Papa" Jack Laine's Reliance Brass Bands, for instance, were integrated before segregation pressures increased. Laine's bands, which were active around 1890 to 1913, became the most well known of the white ragtime bands. Laine was a promoter of the first generation of white jazzmen.
A special collaborative relationship developed between brass bands in New Orleans and mutual aid and benevolent societies. Mutual aid and benevolent societies were common among many ethnic groups in urban areas in the 19th century. After the Civil War such organizations took on special meaning for emancipated African-Americans who had limited economic resources. The purposes of such societies were to "help the sick and bury the dead" - important functions because blacks were generally prohibited from getting commercial health and life insurance and other services.
While many organizations in New Orleans used brass bands in parades, concerts, political rallies, and funerals, African-American mutual aid and benevolent societies had their own expressive approach to funeral processions and parades, which continues to the present. At their events, community celebrants would join in the exuberant dancing procession. The phenomena of community participation in parades became known as "the second line," second, that is, to the official society members and their contracted band.
Other community organizations also used New Orleans-style "ragtime" brass bands. Mardi Gras walking clubs, notably the Jefferson City Buzzards and the Cornet Carnival Club (still in existence), were employers of the music.
By the turn of the century New Orleans was thriving not only as a major sea and river port but also as a major entertainment center. Legitimate theater, vaudeville, and music publishing houses and instrument stores employed musicians in the central business district. Less legitimate entertainment establishments flourished in and around the officially sanctioned red-light district near Canal and Rampart streets. Out on the shores of Lake Ponchartrain bands competed for audiences at amusement parks and resorts. Street parades were common in the neighborhood, and community social halls and corner saloons held dances almost nightly.
New Orleanians never lost their penchant for dancing, and most of the city's brass band members doubled as dance band players. The Superior Brass Band, for instance, had overlapping personnel with its sister group, The Superior Orchestra. Dance bands and orchestras softened the brass sound with stringed instruments, including violin, guitar, and string bass. At the turn of the century string dance bands were popular in more polite settings, and "dirty" music, as the more genteel dances were known, was the staple of many downtown Creole of color bands such as John Robichaux's Orchestra.
But earthier vernacular dance styles were also increasing in popularity in New Orleans. Over the last decade of the 19th century, non reading musicians playing more improvised music drew larger audiences for dances and parades. For example, between 1895 and 1900 uptown cornet player Charles "Buddy" Bolden began incorporating improvised blues and increasing the tempo of familiar dance tunes. Bolden was credited by many early jazzmen as the first musician to have a distinctive new style. The increasing popularity of this more "ratty" music brought many trained and untrained musicians into the improvising bands. Also, repressive segregation laws passed in the 1890s (as a backlash to Reconstruction) increased discrimination toward anyone with African blood and eliminated the special status previously afforded Creoles of color. These changes ultimately united black and Creole of color musicians, thus strengthening early jazz by combing the uptown improvisational style with the more disciplined Creole approach.
The instrumentation and section playing of the brass bands increasingly influenced the dance bands, which changed in orientation from string to brass instruments. What ultimately became the standard front line of a New Orleans jazz band was cornet, clarinet, and trombone. These horns collectively improvising or "faking" ragtime yielded the characteristic polyphonic sound of New Orleans jazz.
Most New Orleans events were accompanied by music, and there were many opportunities for musicians to work. In addition to parades and dances, bands played at picnics, fish fries, political rallies, store openings, lawn parties, athletic events, church festivals, weddings, and funerals. Neighborhood social halls, some operated by mutual aid and benevolent societies or other civic organizations, were frequently the sites of banquets and dances. Early jazz was found in neighborhoods all over and around New Orleans - it was a normal part of community life.
Sometime before 1900, African-American neighborhood organizations known as social aid and pleasure clubs also began to spring up in the city. Similar in their neighborhood orientation to the mutual aid and benevolent societies, the purposes of social and pleasure clubs were to provide a social outlet for its members, provide community service, and parade as an expression of community pride. This parading provided dependable work for musicians and became an important training ground for young musical talent.
New Orleans jazz began to spread to other cities as the city's musicians joined riverboat bands and vaudeville, minstrel, and other show tours. Jelly Roll Morton, an innovative piano stylist and composer, began his odyssey outside of New Orleans as early as 1907. The Original Creole Orchestra, featuring Freddie Keppard, was an important early group that left New Orleans, moving to Los Angeles in 1912 and then touring the Orpheum Theater circuit, with gigs in Chicago and New York. In fact, Chicago and New York became the main markets for New Orleans jazz. Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland left New Orleans for Chicago in 1915, and Nick LaRocca and other members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band headed there in 1916.
DeDe Pierce, Trumpet/Cornet
b.February 18, 1904
New Orleans, LA, USA.
~by Bradley Torreano
De De Pierce was an incredible trumpeter and singer who made jazz in the '40s, '50s, and '60s with his wife, singer/pianist Billie Pierce. Pierce was born in New Orleans, LA, on February 18, 1904. He first appeared playing with Arnold Dupas' band in 1924, playing the trumpet. One night while working at the Blue Jay Club in New Orleans, he met Billie and the two fell in love. They immediately began playing together, and by 1935 they were the regular house band at the Luthjens Dance Hall, where they stayed until the mid-'50s. They released albums throughout this period, but their exit from the dancehall was due to illness, which also stopped their recording career.
The two were both quite sick; eventually they were hospitalized and De De lost his sight during the ordeal. Despite this setback, they began recording again in 1960 and rekindled their careers. Deteriorating health would eventually take them out of the entertainment industry, but not before De De played with Ida Cox on her last tour. He passed away in November of 1973, leaving behind Billie after a long and fruitful career together.
Emil Barnes, Clarinet
b.February 18, 1892
d. March 2, 1970
b. New Orleans, LA, USA.
~by Scott Yanow
Barnes studied under Lorenzo Tio Jr., Alphonse Picou, George Baquet, and Big Eye Nelson. Active professionally in New Orleans by 1908, he was long well regarded locally for his bluesy and distinctively individualistic style. He played with the Chris Kelly band in from the late 1910s through the 1920s and in the 1930s he played with Wooden Joe Nicholas. Barnes did not become widely known to jazz fans outside of New Orleans until he made recordings during the revival era for American Music Records. He performed at Preservation Hall in his later years. In . Barnes was featured on several Folkways Records in 1951 and 1952 (which were issued in the '70s on LPs) and for Jazzology during 1961 and 1963. He was the brother of Polo Barnes that ended up spending much of the 1930s and '40s outside of music, but by the late '40s was gigging with Kid Howard, and he remained fairly active in the 1950s and '60s.
at the bottom is a link for a short review...
Three years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is part ghost town and part third world country. Well known musicians Lillian Boutté, Dr. Michael White and photographer Armand “Sheik” Richardson use jazz as a philosophy and tool to save themselves and their abandoned, crumbling city. The Sound After the Storm tells a story in which this “music born of slavery” is reborn in response to Katrinaʼs devastation.
Given the title "Jazz Ambassador of New Orleans," Singer Lillian Boutté was the second jazz legend, since Louis Armstrong, in her city's history to be accorded this honor. Like Armstrong, Boutté brings the exuberance and warmth of New Orleans to audiences across America and Europe with her music, while also ringing out the yet unanswered distress calls of her city.
The New Orleans spirit reflected in the records of Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong is alive and well in a crowded club filled with the sounds of Dr. Michael Whiteʼs clarinet. Dr. White, arguably the foremost traditional New Orleans jazz historian and clarinetist, possessed one of Americaʼs most thorough collections of jazz artifacts, including vintage instruments, original sheet music and one of a kind recordings. This irreplaceable collection now lies in moldy heaps on the floor of Dr. Whiteʼs house near a major levee break, leaving him homeless and with only his music to turn to.
The energetic Armand “Sheik” Richardson, part photographer, part activist, part whirlwind, shoots thousands of pictures per week, as he puts it, “to preserve whatʼs left of New Orleans for future generations.” After years of working hand-and-foot to repair houses destroyed by the storm, Richardson finally unites with Boutté to form a musicianʼs aid organization to help Dr. White and others rebuild their lives.
A ventura film production, in co-production with RSI-Radiotelevisione svizzera, HillFilm and Dirk Manthey Film.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
His knowledge is amazing, and this article along with many others has helped me to further research specially on the history of dance.
So, I hope you enjoy it...
Dancing Hot and Sweet: New Orleans Jazz in the 1920s
by Bruce Boyd Raeburn
"The story of music in New Orleans must begin
Henry A. Kmen, Music in New Orleans: The
Fomlative Years, 1791-1841.
New Orleans has always been a dancing town, and it is no wonder that jazz entered the
local scene -feet first-, as a dance music. Whether on the streets in the -second line, at
neighborhood dance halls, on the riverboats, or for "script" dances at Tulane University, jazz
musicians sought to move an audience in the most direct sense, making dancers part of the
action and feeding on the energy.
This dynamic came early, as trombonist Bill Matthews affirmed in his recollections of Buddy Bolden for the Hogan Jazz Archive: -Everybody was crazy about Bolden when he'd blow a waltz, schottische or old low down blues. He was the sweetest trumpet player in the world... Bunk Johnson got his style following Buddy with his sweetness, but could never play rough and -loud like Bolden: Unlike later jazz critic') who praised -hOT- and scorned -sweet-, New Orleans musicians valued the difference because the dancers wanted variety.
In a given night at Odd Fellow'S Hall, Bolden might offer waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles to his early crowd; upon their departure (usually around midnight), the music would turn rough and rowdy for the nightpeople who preferred slow drags, shags, and belly rubs.
The mixed fare performed by Bolden's proto-jazz band and the less than legitimate style in which it was rendered were characteristic of the New Orleans musician's desire to give the public what it wanted. Also apparent, however, was a divergence of taste between young and old as a new generation demanded greater freedom and excitement in music and dance. The
formalism of the nineteenth century was yielding 10 a vigorous vernacular sensibility, evident in the demand for novelty and a Willingness to experiment in order to achieve it.
When the popular dance learn of Vernon and Irene Castle published Modem Dancing in
1914, they could scarcely have foreseen what the Fates held in store for Terpsichore in the years
to come. As notable dance authorities, their intention was to provide a 'state of the art"
manual of dance etiquette for the average American as a means of 'preserving youth,
prolonging life, and acquiring grace, elegance, and beauty" If the Tango, the Castle's newest
sensation, degenerated into "acrobatic display or "salacious suggestion" it would be "the fault of the dancers and not of the dance..
A decade later, the "naming youth" of the Jazz Age had much to answer for as they flaunted the Shimmy, the Charleston, and the Black Bottom, choosing unrestricted self.expression over propriety. In this transition, New Orleans jazz bands played a major role. But music suited to local dance styles did not necessarily translate readily in other towns.
Cornetist Ray Lopez, with Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland at Lambs Cafe in
Chicago in May 1915, remembered some awkward moments: "Our debut was pitiful.
Those Yankees wouldn't listen or dance. We look turns talking to the customers. 'Folks this is
New Orleans music, HOT music People down South dance, Come on and try "Have fun".
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was more successful in January 1917 at Reisenwebers in New York, but as Nick LaRocca recalled, the response to the band's opening number was "Tell
those farmers to go home!" Only after the proprietor had explained to the customers that
the music was for dancing did the situation improve. Gradually, the ODJB succeeded
because they worked to adapt their "rough and ready" style of playing to the fox trot rhythms
which appealed to dancers in places like Chicago and New York.
Another New Orleans outfit, the Original Creole Orchestra, had been the first to leave the city in 1914 but sought fame on the vaudeville stage, thus eliminating a dancing audience. The ODJB's draw as a dance band led to their famous recordings for Victor in 1917, which heralded the dawn of the Jazz Age and rejuvenated a boom in record sates which had begun four years earlier with the popularity of the Tango.
Between 1914 and 1921 annual production of records jumped from 25 to 100 million, owing largely to the desire of Americans to test new dance steps in the privacy of their living rooms before venturing out in public.Whereas the dances of the nineteenth century
had required certain minimums of deportment and training, utilitarian steps like the fox trot
were comparatively more versatile and accessible. One did not necessarily have to be svelte to fox trot, and it was not by coincidence that the dance came to be known as "the businessman's bounce." From the fox trot to the Charleston, jazz dancing had something for everybody, and the dance mania which swept the nation in the 19205, with attendence, record sales, seemed to prove it.
New Orleans jazzmen factored dance into their repertoires in various ways. On the Streckfus steamers, members of Fate Marable's bands were actually tested by company officials on their ability to execute dance tempos precisely; "Captain Joe Streckfus was very particular about music on the excursion boats. He would attend rehearsals, tap his feet with his watch in his hands, and if the band failed to keep the proper tempo (70 beats per minute for fox
trots and 90 for one steps) somebody got hell.
The New Orleans Owls took a more relaxed approach. As leader and saxophonist Benjie
White explained, during rehearsals at the West End Roof Garden half the band would rehearse
while the other half danced with college girls.
Albert Nicholas joined King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators in Chicago in 1926, a band made up
mostly of New Orleans men. In his interview with Richard B. Allen for the Hogan Jazz
Archive in 1972, Nicholas described how Oliver would instruct the band to play softly in certain
passages to incorporate the sounds of dancer's feet for percussive effect.
Each in its own way, these bands sought to cater to the dancing public for fun and profit Demand for "hot" and "sweet" dance bands did much to improve economic conditions for
New Orleans musicians, especially when debutante balls on Charles Avenue began 10
rely heavily on the services of AJ PiTon's New Orleans orchestra, the New Orleans Owls, and
Celestin's Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra.
Piron's reputation as a dance band leader was such that he received an offer to accompany the Castles (which he declined). After two trips to New York to record for Victor in 1923 and 1924, the band returned to become one of New Orleans' favorite society dance orchestras at
venues like the Pythian Temple Roof Garden (which Piron bought with royalties from his
compositions and recordings) and Suburban Gardens.
In a similar vein, trombonist William ~Baba" Ridgley of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra remembered how his income increased from $1.50 per night in Storyville to $25 for a debutante ball, another indication of how social acceptance of jazz as a dance music helped it to rise above earlier connotations of vice and poverty.
Ironically, it was the road to broad social acceptance that ultimately spelled the end of the
dance connection for jazz. By the late 1930's jazz critics were organizing concerts, such as John
Hammond's Spirituals to Swing" extravaganzas in 1938 and 1939 at Carnegie Hall, in an effort
to place jazz on an equal footing with classical music. The advent of bebop and progressive jazz
in the mid-1940s accelerated the trend toward "jazz as an," and when Bunk Johnson's New
Orleans Band debuted at the Stuyvesant Casino in New York in the fall of 1945, its musicians
wondered what they were doing wrong when the assembled jazz intelligentsia just sat and listened. Today, from Lincoln Center to Preservation Hall, jazz is regarded primarily as a concert music, but its history as a dance music reminds us that even an art form can be fun when invested with the right spirit and rhythm... by Bruce Boyd Raeburn
and your not sure, when you should visit? well, I'm not sure when the best time is
but i can surely help you make your own decision.
First off, there are many self proclaimed "jazz Festivals" that i would be very cautious
to trust, as i find most the acts are not jazz at all, aside from the modern music which
still claims to be Jazz, it's Pop acts you'd find on MTV.
The French Quarter Festival is mid april and has become known as the best Jazz festival,
It has not only been more open to outside bands but it has also stayed in touch with
the cities scene, giving many local bands opportunities to perform.
Since Katrina a music scene has erupted in New Orleans, Not only in
Jazz but in many styles of American roots music, From String bands and Mountain music to
Stompin Blues players, and when you talking to these players on the street you hear the names
of 1920's legends dropped as influences.
These days the scene revolves primarily around Frenchmen st. with a few places in the surrounding area, such as Mimi's just down Royal and a couple places on Saint Claude like the Hi Ho and the Always Lounge, just off Frenchmen on Esplanade there is the Balcony music club as well which is a hit or miss. There are still a handful of places in the Quarter as well, but you'd want to check who is playing before going. The area is known for bad jazz, if not cheesy dixieland, it's some modern Mile's davis influenced group that drives you no where except for drinking....
The greatest sound to come out of this post Katrina music scene are the bands who have studied New Orleans history
and sound. All of these bands get different influences from sounds they like back in the day, then they put it together how they like, creating their own thing which is rooted in New Orleans.
Keep in mind, there are also the Brass Bands, they've always been here, and their music goes hand in hand. It Those bands which get the young playing, keep em playing, get good and make something of themselves, going into other types of music,become teachers, start other Bands, gig around town etc...
So then after Katrina here comes some younger folk playing the streets and sounding like the old Johnny Dodds bands, or Sam Morgan's Jazz Band, the Sounds of George Lewis influenced clarinet cutting through the streets...more then just the tourist turn their heads.
The city is still fill with jazz fanatics, professional listeners, educators and armchair historians, and before long another band starts up using some of the same players, with the addition of more musicians including drums. Some of the old musicians start sitting in with the new musicians and magic is made.
I'm sure a large in depth article could be written on this, but the point is, New Orleans Jazz is alive. Right now, you can come anytime and hit Frenchmen street, either DBA or the Spotted Cat and you will get a great band...Fritzels on Bourbon is a place to check as well.
Right now, the bands to see that are influenced by earlier music are the
Loose Marbles, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Tuba Skinny Jazz Band
,Moonshiners.Then there would be bands that have that late 30's Swing or jump rhythm
like New Orleans Cotton Mouth Kings, Palmetto Bug Stompers, Jazz Vipers, Washboard Chaz Blues, heck and Panorama Jazz Band. Of course, there is a grey area of styles, I've seen it many times, when these players start to mix up.
The Cotton Mouth Kings use collective improvisation in the old New Orleans way, while trying to maintain swinging rhythm more associated with kansas City in the late 1930's, the Cottonmouth Kings call it pure New Orleans Swing.
Check out the Loose Marbles, classic New Orleans music at it's finest, you just don't find bands like this anywhere in the world, and they play at the Spotted Cat twice a week. Another amazing band is Meschiya Lake and her Little Big Horns, a modern day Bessie Smith, who sings on the streets regularly and regards it as a day job when the weather permits. You can also catch her around town, including the Spotted cat on Tuesdays. I've recently watched her sing at Preservation Hall with the Preservation Hall band and that was a special treat.
Yes, these are good times for New Orleans. The spring time will bring the annual migration of out of town musicians looking for gold, the festival season will have started and the weather will be warming up. Depending on what you want to get out of your trip, I'd avoid the festivals. it's normally a lot of drunk people, depending on the conventions in town or festivals just alters who is the drunk. Make reservations early other wise, tourist eat this hotels up. Holiday Inn seems to be a middle of the road typical place, But I suggest some place around the Marigny.
If you haven't been here before and your strapped for time, perhaps a quick weekend? No problem, without even thinking twice, I'd recommend eating, drinking a tiny bit of walking "just to see something cool and historic" and checking out bands for two nights. You will be so baptized by the energy, that you will already be planning your next trip on your first day here.
The second trip, which you'll plan for much longer you can get the in depth official tourist tour, that is if you care. Regardless, you'll already be in the know, on where the good music and scene is, not to mention food...so you'll be able to explore the city now, knowing just where to come home to.....Frenchmen street.
When ya hit the streets here for the first time, You'll want to walk down Royal St. and check out the bands, as well as Jackson Square. Normally on an off day, I'll get Lunch down in the French Quarter, and change a 20 dollar bill for 1's. and spend the afternoon checking out all the bands and tip them all. I already have all their CD's i've collected , so Its a great deal for a days worth of entertainment and live music....and i can't wait to hear some of the bands make CD's who haven't yet!
Anyways, there is no doubt the music scene here thrives on tourism. The sad thing is obviously Bourbon street is nothing but mindless party music, background noise to the money machine churning out beer at fire hose speeds. It pours into the economy so i guess nobody can complain. As long as a enough of these tourist are attracted these Jazz Clubs, we will be fine, and hopefully even room for more clubs to open dedicated to this old time tradition that seems to be back on it's feet...
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In 1990, the U.S. recording industry introduced Parent Advisory labels to identify music containing explicit lyrics, including depictions of violence and sex.
The story goes back some years earlier with Tipper Gore and the PMRC, rallying to stop the youth from getting their hands on such filth. Nothing much came of it, meaning it's completely up to the record companies to have the famous "Tipper Sticker" adorn their CD's labels.
However For consumers, obviously customers can't automatically assume that music without a label will be appropriate for all ages, and the fact retail chains, such as K-Mart and Wal-Mart, will not carry stickered products.
what does that mean for our Jazz History of Sex, Drugs, Violence, Hustling, Pimps and whores? The Kids will not be discovering Jelly Roll Morton at Wal-Mart any time soon...
It doesn't take but a second to ponder how many songs not only have the name New Orleans in the title, but how many songs have New Orleans streets or Locations like West End or Milneburg? Yea, Los Angeles has it's Central Ave Breakdown, and New York has it's Broome street, 52nd street and 7th ave and of course Kansas Cit, Chicago...had there songs named after some streets, but nothing compares to New Orleans.
So I thought to make a fun list of songs in my collection, feel free to add some to don't have!
Basin Street Stomp
Burgundy Street Blues
Canal Street Blues
Decatur Street Blues
Decatur Street Tutti
Perdido Street Blues
Bourbon Street Parade
South Rampart Street Parade
Rampart street Blues
Gravier Street Blues
Gravier Street Stomp
Franklin Street Blues
Mahogany Hall Stomp
Back to Storyville
Farewell to Storyville
West End Blues
While we danced at Mardi Gras
New Orleans Hop Scop
New Orleans Joys
New Orleans Music
New Orleans Shuffle
New Orleans Stomp
New Orleans Wiggle
New Orleans Blues
New Orleans Bump
New Orleans Stop Time
New Orleans Man
New Orleans Women
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
The New Orleans
Te Na Na from New Orleans
I'll Take that New Orleans Music
Way down Yonder in New Orleans
Drop me Off in New Orleans
I like New Orleans
I love you my New Orleans
Walkin through New Orleans
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Hear Me Talkin' To Ya: The Story of Jazz As Told By the Men Who Made It, a 1955 book by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff
When I was growing up, Jelly Roll was a legend and the same with Bechet. You'd hear of Jelly Roll, how he'd left and how he'd set the pace. Somebody would see him in Chicago and bring back the news of how successful he was there. And he was often importing some New Orleans musicians.
It was Jelly Roll who brought Buddy Petit to California, but Buddy didn't like it and came back to New Orleans.
A dozen books should have been written about Buddy Petit. The way people rave over Dempsey, Joe Louis, or Ben Hogan today, that's how great Petit was when he played. The kids would come up and say, "Can I shake your hand, Mr. Petit?" And on parades, they'd be ten deep around Buddy as he walked along blowing. He was a little, Indian-looking sort of guy. He talked broken patois.
It's this country's fault that he didn't record. They were recording Caruso at that time, but this country didn't want to accept its heritage in the music of men like Buddy Petit. But those rich millionaires – the Fords and those people – will go over to Paris and buy a Cezanne or a Goya, pay fifty thousand dollars for it, and put it in a museum. But we've got our own cultural heritage here and we ignore it.
Or like the guy in Philadelphia who has that fabulous art collection and just lets certain people come to see it. You dig what I'm talking about? When here, in jazz, is something you can hear and enjoy here, right now.
Papa Celestin should take weeks and weeks and tell about his career in detail from day to day, as much as he remembers. And there's a whole story, Picou tells me, about the Negro symphony that used to be in New Orleans. It's not too late to get some of the older men to tell their stories.
The story of jazz should be in all the schools, so the children would know where their music comes from. They should give money so that people could go out West and study and record cowboys and Western folklore. The kids in the schools today think their country has nothing.
You take CBS and NBC and them kind of people. They have hours and hours of putting Tyrone Power and Ingrid Bergman to portraying some French story that happened years ago, while right here they have John Henry, Stack O'Lee, Casey Jones, and all them kings of fabulous stories that American kids know nothing about. So they spend millions of dollars for all that other kind of foolishness.
You remember that movie, NEW ORLEANS, that had Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday? Well, them people took pictures of every segment of New Orleans. They made their pictures as authentic as they could get them, but they didn't put any of it in the movie, any of the authentic stuff, because they wanted the movie commercial. They showed the leading man posing for fifteen minutes, fixing his tie, while they should have been showing the people, the real thing.
For more information on Danny Barker please visit: jazzagebanjo.wordpress.com
walking distance from the Jelly Roll House is the birthplace of Danny Barker, I took these photo's recently on a walk of the neighborhood...
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Welcome to the Jelly Roll House, the childhood home of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton.
Today the New Orleans music scene is thriving, with all types of music being found. Sounds spill into the street and mix with food, booze and stories. These are the same streets that gave inspiration to the first wave of jazz men more than a hundred years ago.
This Blog is dedicated to not only sharing the rich history of New Orleans music, but also to today's bands and musicians who have dedicated themselves to keeping this very special sound alive.