by Jay Mazza
Last year, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell generated an estimated $300 million in economic impact for the city of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area. An estimated 400,000 people attended the event over seven days in 2009. It wasn't always so.
The festival did not even break even financially in the early days and anecdotal evidence suggests that there were more musicians than music lovers at the first event, held in Beauregard Square (now Congo Square), in 1970.
There were several aborted attempts to create a jazz festival in New Orleans in the late 1960s. The Newport Jazz Festival was the template, but there were also two other festivals of significance, one in Monterey, California in 1968 and the more famous event in Woodstock, New York in August of 1969, that helped define the concept of an outdoor music festival.
French Quarter Fest Recap: April 19, 2009
To finish the evening, I made my way back to the Louis-Louis pavilion to catch the full on brass fury of Bonerama. But to my surprise, Susan Cowsill had since enlisted the help of Bone’s Craig Klein and was busy throwing a party of her own. Before long Bonerama stepped to the sage, closing out FQF with a hard rocking, funky heavy set of balls out brass. Anchored by the trombone squalls of Mark Mullins, Craig Klein and Greg Hicks, the Bones have recently enlisted the services of organist Joe Ashlar to fill the void left in the wake of trombonist Steve Suter’s departure from the group. Though one trombone light, they still brought the heat, and with Ashlar’s churning keys stirring the mix, their jams flowed deep into the funky vortex as the sun set behind them. And that just about wraps it up for French Quarter Fest 2009 – Talkin’ bout New Orleans, ya head!
Scenes from the Ole & Nu Style Fellas Social & Pleasure Club Second Line Parade
A scientist friend of mine once told me about a study he came across on pedestrian power and who gives up the right of way on the sidewalk. He said in this study, no one moved out of the way of immigrants. Generally people moved over for little kids, black men, white men, disabled people. The one group EVERYBODY moved out of the way of...
Behrend rocks with the Hot 8
We started playing around the city like [marching bands]. We didn’t have cars. We weren’t big. After a while, some guys from another brass band and two of us got together and formed what became Hot 8.” The band remained relatively unknown until after the events following Hurricane Katrina.
The Gospel According to John Scofield
RR: There’s so many textures and colors on Piety Street: gospel, New Orleans jazz, blues, funk, sublayers of American jazz, classic rock ‘n’ roll, and I’d love to talk about the musicians that you gathered together for this project. There is strong chemistry with these collaborators starting right off with George Porter, Jr. on bass.
JS: Well, you know, when I decided to go to New Orleans, and wanted to record with New Orleans musicians, and have my music reflect the New Orleans tradition, he was the first person that I thought of for electric bass, for sure, because he’s made so many great records, been on the Meters side, and, also, all of the Allen Toussaint productions, and music that I was a fan of music coming out of that city. He’s legendary, and he sure does a great job. Man, he’s totally a great musician, covers his stuff, and brings his groove to it, and we just had a wonderful time playing together.RR: Jon Cleary sure matches up quite well with your guitar playing.
JS: Oh, thanks. I’ve been a big fan of Cleary’s. I think I met him about 18 years ago. He blew me away then, and still does now. When I was thinking that we should do these gospel tunes, and really have vocals, I mean, I just love his vocal interpretations—the way he can phrase. He’s one of the great soul singers of our day, really. His piano playing is phenomenal. I knew he would be perfect for this. I was really lucky to get him. I feel like he’s the star of the album.
Isidore “Tuts” Washington
“Tuts” was another New Orleans Piano legend. Born January 24, 1907 in New Orleans he started to teach himself how to play piano at age 10 and then studied with New Orleans jazz pianist Joseph Louis “Red” Cayou. He played with many jazz and Dixieland groups through the 20s and 30s. Hos keyboard style blended elements of ragtime, jazz, blues and boogie-woogie.
After living and playing in Saint Louis for many years he returned to New Orleans and in his later years he became a staple at the lounge of the Pontchartrain Hotel on the corner of St. Charles and Jackson Avenues on the edge of the Garden District.
Glen David Andrews & Friends
You walk around a corner and in a parking lot on a Sunday afternoon, you can stumble on more music than most cities produce in a year. Glen David Andrews hosts an open percussion jam session with friends.