Friday, October 31, 2008

Panic Webcast / Surprises are in store as Widespread Panic returns to New Orleans for Halloween

WSP Halloween Webcast

JB :: Halloween '07 by K. Quinn
As a special Halloween treat this year, Widespread Panic will be webcasting their Halloween October 31 show from UNO Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA in its entirety on

Check starting at 7 p.m. CST.

Tonight's broadcast will utilize QuickTime. To ensure that the broadcast works properly for you, please make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the QuickTime Plugin.

If you are using Windows XP, ensure that you have Service Pack 2 installed before you update your QuickTime Plugin.

Posted by Keith Spera, Music writer, The Times-Picayune

Widespread Panic returns to New Orleans for Halloween for the first time since 2002.

However Widespread Panic vocalist John Bell costumes for his band's sold-out Halloween concert at the Lakefront Arena, it won't be as a chicken. Or Ignatius J. Reilly.

In 1997, the first year the Georgia jam band spent Halloween at the arena, Bell masked as the "A Confederacy of Dunces" hero, complete with hunting cap and pillow-enhanced belly. For Halloween '05 in Las Vegas, he wore a full-body chicken suit. Neither was conductive to singing and playing guitar for three hours under stage lights.

"Hopefully it won't be something that's too uncomfortable," Bell said of his costume during a recent phone interview. "I've had a few choices that kept me pretty hot and bothered."

If past years are any indication, the jam-packed Lakefront Arena will be plenty humid as Panic fans from around the country celebrate one of the most anticipated events on their calendar.

In 2002, the band played three consecutive sold-out nights at the Lakefront Arena for Halloween. Since then, the annual blowout has moved to other cities, in part because Hurricane Katrina rendered the Lakefront Arena unusable until this summer.

"Suffice it to say, we're happy to get back," Bell said. "We missed our city. Even though we're not native to it, New Orleans has been really good to us over the years."

Halloween concerts demand not just costumes, but surprise cover songs as well. In 2002, Panic rendered Nelly's "Hot in Herre."

"I forget who introduced that to us," Bell said. "I wasn't listening to much radio, so I wasn't familiar with it until somebody brought it up. Knowing his mischievous nature, it was probably JoJo (Hermann, the band's keyboardist).

"It was fun. There are a lot of words in there; I skipped over a few. And the kids, they knew the song. I'm just an old fuddy-duddy."

What they'll unveil this weekend is a closely guarded secret. Fans meticulously chronicle set lists and cross-reference songs by when they were last played. The musicians tune all that out when constructing a set list.

"Pretty much that's our territory. People can have their wishes, but it's enough of a task just trying to please ourselves. To try to run around chasing the tail of the audience, as far as what we might think they want. . . . It's like bringing gum to class. If you're going to be fair about it, you need to take requests from everybody."

"Suffice it to say, we're happy to get back," John Bell said of Widespread Panic's return to New Orleans for Halloween. "We missed our city. Even though we're not native to it, New Orleans has been really good to us over the years."

Panic's long affiliation with New Orleans includes a periodic creative partnership with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and support for other local bands. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue opens for Panic tonight; Ivan Neville's DumpstaPhunk is on the bill for Saturday's show, for which tickets are still available.

Widespread Panic is also in regular rotation at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Panic's 2½-hour show was the longest of the 2008 Jazzfest.

"Which some people like, some people don't," Bell said. "That's born out of what we do as Widespread Panic. We play three, 3½ hours. When we go to festivals, whether it's Bonnaroo or Jazzfest . . . the kids who jump in front of the stage to see Widespread Panic are expecting a little longer performance time.

"In no way do we want to screw with tradition or think we're more deserving of attention than anybody else. We want to be able to deliver to some extent what the expectations of a Widespread Panic show might be. For a festival, 2½ hours feels about right to really get our ya-ya's out."

Panic left more than memories in New Orleans. The band sponsored a house in Brad Pitt's Make It Right redevelopment in the Lower 9th Ward; Panic fans are also collecting money for an additional house.

"It's really a hip project," Bell said. "They've got a team in there helping folks with finances as far as being able to maintain these houses, and how to work all the eco-friendly systems. It's helping to build the community, not just the structures."

During the 2002 Halloween stand at the Lakefront Arena, unofficial parking lot entrepreneurs peddled photos of founding Widespread Panic guitarist Michael "Mikey" Houser alongside the usual assortment of quesadillas and glass pipes. Houser had died of pancreatic cancer that summer. Fans still harbor fond memories of him.

"You can feel it when you're doing some of his songs," Bell said. "And there is a Neil Young song we do that has a reference, 'Met a friend who plays guitar.' You can hear the kids give a little whoop out in the audience. I'm fairly certain that's in memory of Mikey."

Initially, the band recruited longtime friend George McConnell to step in for Houser. More recently, Panic installed North Carolina guitarist Jimmy Herring as lead guitarist.

He and Houser "are different personalities, just the way you carry on a conversation," Bell said. "Mikey would flip the switch and was gone, non-stop from the beginning of the set to the end. We'd play alongside each other, but I'd be moving in and out and riding on that wave.

"There's a little more obvious two-way give and take with Jimmy. But as it spreads out throughout the whole band, the ebbs and flows and the momentum and harmonies and energy swells, it's palpable. Jimmy really knows what's going on."

Looking ahead, the band anticipates a lighter touring schedule in 2009. But they don't intend to take a yearlong hiatus, as in 2004.

"It felt weird," Bell said of that break. "When you do something repetitively for almost 20 years, and then curtail that activity, you lose a little bit of rhythm. I felt a little bit lost. I had a lot of fun, but it was a strange experience.

"It helped remind you of how much fun it really was to be in a band, and not take it for granted. You do something for that long, it's easy to go, 'That's just what we do. It's no big deal.' Then when you don't do it for a while, you're like, 'Wow, I really miss playing.' "

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WWOZ, Radio Johnson & iClips webcast Voodoo Music Experience 2008

WWOZ Live Broadcast

WWOZ will once again be broadcasting live from the Voodoo Music Experience, which is celebrating its 10th year by bringing more than 130 of the best new music acts to perform on six stages in New Orleans' historic and lovely City Park. Our live broadcast schedule includes Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the special reunion show with Ozomatli and Chali 2na, and so many more artists to be announced throughout this week. Check back often as we keep publishing the artists and broadcast times. Check out the Voodoo website for the full schedule.

Friday, October 24

1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
4:00 - 5:45 p.m.

The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker and Big Sam's Funky Nation

7:00 - 8:00 p.m. Leo Nocentelli's Funkin' Truth

Sunday, October 26

11:00 - 11:45 a.m. The Lee Boys
1:20 - 2:10 p.m. Blind Boys of Alabama
2:50 - 4:00 p.m. Ozomatli reunited with Chali 2na

Radio Johnson is headed down to New Orleans this weekend to go LIVE from Voodoo Fest! They will be broadcasting the following night shows:


Friday (10/24) @ 10:30 PM CT -- BONERAMA LIVE from Tipitinas - French Quarter

Saturday (10/25) @ 11:00 PM CT -- BIG SAM'S FUNKY NATION LIVE from Tipitinas - French Quarter

Also... check out the PODCASTS on the website. They have broadcasts loaded from Bonerama, Dumpstaphunk, The Hot 8 Brass Band, The Lee Boys & The Radiators.

Join iClips from October 24-26 for The VooDoo Experience, Live from New Orleans.

The Voodoo Experience celebrates its tenth anniversary this October 24, 25, 26 in New Orleans with a number of modern rock's most pivotal acts. Several of these artists are making their first-ever Voodoo appearance. Additionally, this year's bill continues to honor the rich musical traditions of the unique American city, with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and The New Orleans Bingo! Show, among many, many more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Contest: The Radiators "Wild and Free" CD Giveaway

TheBluesBloggers 1st Anniversary Celebration Continues with a Radiators CD Giveaway:

Here’s your chance to take home the latest disc by The Radiators…

The Rules Are Simple

All you have to do to enter is click on the link below. An email form will open. Make sure you put your name, email address and on the subject line write “Wild and Free CD Giveaway.” All names will be entered into a random draw. One lucky winner will be named when the draw takes place on November 1st at 11:00 pm eastern time in the U.S. That’s it!
Click here to enter.

I really loved listening to this disc and I know you will too. It’s a lot of fun and a great 30th Anniversary retrospective of their work… Fish head fans you are in for a real treat if you haven’t listened this to this already! Make sure you check out my review of Wild and Free by going to the link here.

For more news about the band and upcoming shows, you can go to their website at

Monday, October 20, 2008

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Bingo! Parlour Profile: THE TIN MEN featuring THE VALPARAISO MEN'S CHORUS

The Tin Men are one of New Orleans’ most interesting and exciting bands. Consisting of Alex McMurray on guitar and vocals, Matt Perrine on sousaphone and washboard, and Chaz Leary on washboard and vocals, the band has riveted audiences with its own brand of music. Those who caught their late night performances during the 2002 Jazz Fest season hailed the group as “the best thing seen during Jazz Fest.”

The Valparaiso Men's Chorus Guano and Nitrates is a rare and strange artifact. For reasons no one can clearly remember, it was decided to assemble a large group of men for the purpose of making a recording of sea shanties. The Monday after Thanksgiving was chosen to maximize the size of the group, and the Mermaid Lounge was chosen as the site, due to its proximity to recording equipment and alcohol. We acquired the last two reels of 1/2 inch tape for sale in Orleans Parish and went to work.


What I want to do here is focus on just a few examples of Earl Palmer's playing that demonstrate the more poly-rhythmic aspects of his style and express the uniquely New Orleans side of this incredible groove-maker. A deeply funky feel seems to be an innate characteristic of the city's best drummers, so ingrained in the local culture that to second line is second nature. With antecedents going back several hundred years through the Caribbean (Cuba and Haiti) to Africa via the tragic diaspora of slavery, that rhythmic heritage was perpetuated in the weekly dance and drum circles allowed in Congo Square and the secretive societies of the Mardi Gras Indian gangs in city. They arose in jazz, New Orleans' great improvisatory well-spring, through street parade musicians, moving on to shape the distinct local R&B flavor from the 1950s to the present day, as funk in the city’s music has become increasingly overt. Excuse me for trying to cram several centuries of musical ferment and evolution into a few sentences. Anyway, I don't think it's an overstatement or simplistic to say that Earl Palmer is a vital part of that musical continuum and the first drummer to inject both second line syncopations and the turbo-charged, driving pulse of rock 'n' roll into the mass appeal popular music that quickly overtook much of the world, influencing myriad musicians and forever changing listeners' attitudes and expectations, getting backfields in motion across racial and cultural divides, and uniting us in universal worship of the beat.

Second line fetes famed photog Michael P. Smith

It seemed fitting that a man who immortalized second lines in photographs was celebrated with one of his own. And so it was for Michael P. Smith, as hundreds gathered on a warm Saturday afternoon outside of the Sportman’s Corner at Second and Dryades Streets to pay their respects to one of New Orleans finest photographers.


New Orleans's musical scene that's Free and Freeing

New Orleans's musical scene that's Free and Freeing
Squeezing the dollar bill until the eagle grins has become more common than ever both here and around the country. Everything seems to go up except incomes. Fortunately, New Orleanians don't have to sacrifice hearing live music just because budgets are tight. That's never truer than during the lovely fall months with festivals, outdoor concerts and second lines in abundance. Daytime and early evening shows also offer the opportunity to share the music with the kids and have them experience New Orleans' many contributions to the world including our greatest gift, jazz.

Something Old, Something New: Astral Project - 30 Years of Jazz

Something Old, Something New
Gasoline was only 63 cents a gallon when Astral Project, which is now regarded by many as New Orleans premiere modern jazz ensemble, was formed. The world and this city have changed dramatically since that time - Tipitina's and the Neville Brothers were just kicking in and Katrina was simply a girl's name. Yet through the decades Astral Project's music has remained the same in terms of its high level of musicianship and creativity. While folks may claim their favorite album, it is remarkable that the group has never put out a bad CD. The latest effort, "Blue Streak," the release of which will be celebrated -- along with the anniversary -- at Snug Harbor on Saturday, October 11, is no exception to that rule. From the first cut, saxophonist Tony Dagradi's "Cannonball," the music grabs one's attention with its strong melody, freshness and clean sound. It's just plain good.

The group with Dagradi, guitarist Steve Masakowski, bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich is perhaps most noted for its members' abilities to sense each others musical directions and to utilize this attribute to enhance the overall flow and sound. They are one entity on another Dagradi number, the title cut, "Blue Streak." On this burner, each individual's efforts remain wonderfully distinctive even within the tight ensemble work.


Founded by Mattvaughan Black (aka Mr. The Turk of The New Orleans Bingo! Show) on Lundi Gras of 2005 as an evolving experiment in the random collaboration between people, sound and rhythm, The Noisician Coalition has since blossomed from its original seven member lineup to a rotating cast of up to fifty members at any given march. Armed with an arsenal of modified bullhorns, handmade synthesizers, and found-object percussion assembled by Black himself, this “post-apocalyptic communist clown army marching band,” fiercely bedecked in the red, white and black of a trusty RCA cable, assemble themselves four times a year to engage in some of the most cataclysmic rhythms ever to be witnessed in the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Apart from being special guests in The New Orleans Bingo! Show's presentation of THE BLACK SHOW on Friday night and marching in the Voodoo Parade on Saturday afternoon, expect to see this renegade marching troupe performing sporadically around the Voodoo Experience grounds for all three days of the festival. Making their base camp / village headquarters backstage at The Bingo! Parlour, they shouldn't be hard to find. Elsewhere on the grounds? Odds are good you'll hear them before you see them.

Is Christmas ever truly out of season? Maybe. But it's hard not to watch this ill-advised 2007 Christmas special starring The Noisician Coalition over and over again. Even in October. Or July. Or... Well, you get it. Please, enjoy responsibly:

Listen, Leah Chase Will Say Like This

Leah Chase has been lauded as a keeper of the flame of Creole cooking, and never more so than after Hurricane Katrina when all of the city’s indigenous food traditions seemed so threatened.

Fortunately, Chase’s living legacy is still in practice at her restaurant, Dooky Chase, and it has also been well documented in a series of books compiling her recipes and stories from the Creole kitchen.

Leroy Jones: A New Orleans State of Mind

Leroy Jones"I'm not sure but I think all music comes from New Orleans."
—Lee Dorsey

Jazz trumpeter, vocalist, and New Orleans native Leroy Jones takes after his 'mother' in the best possible ways. He's charming, generous and kind and has the gift to musically move you from tear-in-the-eye emotion to dancing in your seat. Jones also has the optimistic attitude of many New Orleans residents. He seems to look on the bright side of things, even the humid late summer weather. He wouldn't say the weather was bad, just hot. "You all have no idea what summer is," he laughs. And Jones definitely knows how to have fun, Big Easy style. His joy and passion during a performance is contagious even to the stodgiest among them.

This week's music picks from Basin Street

Check out this week’s selections from Nolaphile friends, Basin Street Records. This week we get to share work from artists Kermit Ruffins, Henry Butler, and Jon Cleary.

Bingo! Parlour Profile: BONES

Little is known of the disreputable duo from Baton Rouge who perform under the moniker of "BONES." Here's what some have said...

"The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, duo Bones work a marvelously demented swampcore-blues-torture sound." -LA Weekly

"Bones works a sticky, oozing trash-garage wallop that, despite the spare two-man blitzkrieg attack force and fealty to their home state's swampy blues grinds, arcs almost into shadowy Black Sabbath-esque territory, a region fraught with menace, corruption, and who-gives-a-damn abandon." -Inland Empire Weekly

“The propulsive rock of Bones is covered in Miller's fuzz and the crash of Scott Campbell's cymbals. The duo rolls along on a railroad of blues and stops on a dime. The music is soft while Miller sings his grievances, but then it gets loud and nasty when his steam evaporates…"

"The White Stripes and the Black Keys might be the most visible incarnations of the two-person band, grinding out sinewy, overdriven blues with minimal instrumentation, but Baton Rouge's Bones is by far the dirtiest." -Nashville Scene

"Bones comes off like a sex-crazed pit bull broken free of its leash: focused, furious, and practically unstoppable." -Antigravity Magazine (New Orleans)

It is worth noting that Mike Miller is also a member of Liquidrone, the megaphone-driven art house rock band that, in many ways, spawned the quieter little sister whom we've all come to love and know as The New Orleans Bingo! Show... a group with whom both Miller and Campbell have performed.That being said, please enjoy this classic Liquidrone video for the classy classic, "Harley and a Mail Order Bride." (Keep your eyes peeled for familiar faces and Mike's mighty, mighty air guitar.)

Beat, vitality of blues key to Bryan Lee

On his 2007 album, “Katrina Was Her Name,” Bryan Lee includes an exuberant version of Robert Parker’s already-infectious “Barefootin’.”

The problem, as Lee sees it, is that not enough people — especially young musicians — would have recognized Parker’s name in that last sentence, and that’s why the guitarist recorded the song. (Born and raised in New Orleans, Parker was a top sideman in the Crescent City from 1949 through the 1958, when he started his solo career, which peaked with 1966’s top 10 hit “Barefootin’.”)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Pictures/Review: Galactic @ Irving Plaza

Here's a quick review from Burning Wood:

The New Orleans-based jazz-funk ensemble Galactic continues it's never-ending tour with a run of shows being dubbed as the "Brass Tacks Tour." For this string of shows, New Orleans treasure and monster of the skins Stanton Moore and friends, have added the exciting young trumpet player Shamarr Allen and trombonist Corey Henry of the Rebirth Brass Band to the ensemble. I caught Friday's show at The Fillmore At Irving Plaza At The Copa At The Latin Quarter In NYC On Earth (or whatever my least favorite venue in NYC is now called) and it was definitely a New Orleans party. Galactic's non-songs are propelled into a musical earthquake by Stanton Moore. His drumming never fails to boggle the mind.

With the intensity and piston-pumping throbs of John Bonham and the laid back subtlety and in-the-pocket grooves of NOLA greats Zigaboo Modeliste and John Vidacovich, Moore's magic carries this band, whose extended jams on simple riffs would become quite monotonous without his creativity and what seems like impossible moves on the drums. Shamarr Allen was a joyful addition. Allen is a tasty player and master showman. His presence and playful solos were a highlight on just about every song.

Pictures by Dino Perrucci Photography

Corey Henry - Irving Plaza, NYC 10/18/08

Galactic- Irving Plaza, NYC 10/18/08

Ben Ellman - Irving Plaza, NYC 10/17/08

Galactic - Irving Plaza, NYC 10/17/08

Friday, October 17, 2008

Upcoming: Henry Butler @ Cutting Room (tonight)

10/17 Henry Butler (solo) @ Cutting Room

here's his official bio, from the website...

An eight-time W.C. Handy “Best Blues Instrumentalist - Piano” award nominee, Henry Butler knows no limitations. Although blinded by glaucoma since birth, Butler is also a world class photographer with his work displayed at exhibitions throughout the United States. Playing piano since the age of six, Butler is a master of musical diversity. Combining the percussive jazz piano playing of McCoy Tyner and the New Orleans style playing of Professor Longhair through his classically trained wizardry, Butler continues to craft a sound uniquely his own. A rich amalgam of jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues and R&B influences, his music is as excitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace.

Mastering baritone horn, valve trombone and drums, in addition to the piano, at the Louisiana State School for the Blind in Baton Rouge, as a youngster, Butler began formal vocal training in the eleventh grade. He went on to sing German lieder, French and Italian art songs and operatic arias at Southern and Michigan State Universities, earning a Masters degree in vocal music. He has taught music workshops throughout the country and initiated a number of different educational projects, including a residential jazz camp at Missouri State School for the Blind and a program for blind and visually impaired students at the University of New Orleans.

Mentored by influential jazz clarinetist and Michigan State University teacher Alvin Batiste, Butler was encouraged to explore Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and other Caribbean music. With Batiste’s help, he successfully applied for National Endowment for the Arts grants to study with keyboard players George Duke, then with Cannonball Adderley’s Quintet, and the late Sir Roland Hanna. He studied with Harold Mabern, pianist for the late Lee Morgan, for a summer and spent a long afternoon studying with Professor Longhair.

While his early albums were jazz trio recordings featuring such top-notch instrumentalists as Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins, on “Fivin’ Around” in 1986, and Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette, on “The Village” two years later, Butler has increasingly turned to New Orleans music and the blues. His 1990 album, “Orleans Inspiration,” recorded with Leo Nocentelli of the Meters, was followed by “Blues And More” in 1992. Although he briefly returned to jazz with “For All Seasons” in 1996, he’s remained immersed in the blues since releasing “Blues After Sunset” in 1998.

Collaborating with Corey Harris on a duo album, “Vu-du Menz,” in 2000, Butler spent the next three years touring with the Delta blues-influenced guitarist/vocalist. That fascination with the blues has continued to be reflected in his solo work. After releasing a power-packed, all electric, blues-rock album, “The Game Has Just Begun,” in 2002 on the New Orleans-based indie label Basin Street Records, Butler takes things even deeper with his latest outing on that label, “Homeland,” released in April 2004. “This album is a real turning point,” he said. “It was the first time that I’ve brought a blues and R&B band into the studio with me. On this record, I’m feeling closer to my roots.”

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Radiators see decades of NOLA changes

SC: I read where you called your music “Fish Head” music. Could you explain the concept behind this term?

EV: You know, we wanna be together for around 30,000 years and became a new geologic era on the planet and call it the “Era of the Fish Head Band” or the “The Radiocraphine Period” of life on the planet, but we’re gonna have to see. Trying to go for the geologic thing is kinda ambitious. Maybe that answer was a cock-eyed spirit of what Fish Head is all about. I’m the main writer, and I concocted something for you right there. That’s what Fish Head is all about: an imaginative play.

Wetlands Festival just one facet of Houma guitarist's Tab Benoit commitment to coastal restoration

Is Mother Nature for or against Tab Benoit?

For years, the Houma guitarist's Voice of the Wetlands organization has advocated for the restoration of Louisiana's coast. To promote the cause, Benoit and his all-star band performed during the recent Democratic and Republican national conventions -- just as Hurricane Gustav slammed his hometown.

For an encore, the lingering effects of Hurricane Ike nearly scuttled this weekend's Voice of the Wetlands Festival, Benoit's annual party with a purpose in Houma.

see also: Susan Cowsill - Still Fighting For New Orleans

Rocktober: Get Out And Vote! George Porter Jr.

Is this election different than past elections, why or why not?

George Porter Jr.
Only in one way that there is a man of color in it but the crap is the same.

What is the relationship between music and politics - and how, if at all, has this relationship affected your music?

I for one see no relationship between my music and politics, and it has not affected my music in any way.

If you could speak directly to all American voters, what would you say?

I would say this is your right to vote, use it for the betterment of man, women & child.

Home of the Groove's "Goodbye, George Davis"

"Hold On, Help Is On the Way" (Davis/Tyler/Parker)
G. Davis & R. Tyler, Parlo 102, 1966

"Hold On, Help Is On the Way" has long been on my short list of favorite instrumentals from New Orleans - not funk, just a classy, intensely hip mover and groover. I'd even venture to say it's one of the great R&B instrumentals, period. On it,George Davisgets a chance to let his guitar chops run free, at least for a little over two minutes of concentrated bliss. In the 1960s, his signature licks and solos graced a number of New Orleans records - the most well-known of which was Robert Parker's"Barefootin'". But, this virtuoso single is his only known solo outing from the old days. He shied away from being the front man, not even using his full name on the record, and giving his partner and friend, Red Tyler, co-billing on the A-side, though Red only had a supporting role on sax. Still, it was really George's show.

Devin Phillips' ‘Water’ steeped in rich New Orleans tradition
At its most baeorge porter, home of the groove, irvin mayfield, quintron and miss pussycat, radiators, susan cowsill, tab benoit, theresa andersson, voice of the wetlandssic, the title is reinforced by the cover art, which shows the New Orleans-born saxophonist standing in a seemingly limitless expanse of water representative, perhaps, of the floodwaters that covered much of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Take it to another level - the song is actually a 19th-century spiritual, and although Phillips' version is instrumental, he said some versions of the lyrics directed escaping slaves to the stations of the Underground Railway.

Take the historical connotations of the lyrics another step and there's a tie-in to Phillips' life after Katrina. Phillips didn't go north to escape slavery, but conditions in the flooded city caused him to leave New Orleans and rebuild his life in Portland, Ore. - thanks to the Portland Jazz Festival and Azumano Travel.

"That Jazz Life" documentary featuring Irvin Mayfield and Ronald Markham (CEO of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra)

Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

Theresa Andersson