Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Whither the Music Scene in New Orleans?

Keith Spera of the New Orleans Times-Picayune offers a smart, well-informed report on the state of New Orleans' music scene in a recent story. Lots of good and bad news to report.

And the September issue of Down Beat, with "guest editor" Branford Marsalis, is jampacked with stories on New Orleans music, including a cover story on drummer Bob French, leader of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band; Harry Connick's reflections on the New Orleans piano tradition; a feature on NOLA drummers; and pieces on Tab Benoit, Irma Thomas and Walter Wolfman Washington (his battery-powered performance at the Maple Leaf was the first post-Katrina nightclub show).

Dr. John, who submitted to a "Blindfold Test," has this to say about the track "Hey Hey" from The Wild Tchoupitoulas, one of my favorite albums of all time: "Big Chief Jolly with the Wild Tchoupitoulas. I have an inside with this whole record, because I was with Aaron and Charles and maybe Cyril, whoever was in New York, when we did the demo to get the record deal for this. It's basically the Meters. This ain't my favorite cut off this record, but I love Jolly's singing, and I love that he had the old-school way with the Indian stuff, a real calypso-ness about it, like the Junkanoos in Trinidad. It shows the Caribbean connection of the Mardi Gras Indians."

The photo, above, of New Orleans early-rock/R&B veteran Clarence Frogman Henry, is a shot that I took at this year's Jazz Fest.

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