Sunday, July 19, 2009

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Running the Meters

By funky16corners

The Meters, as stated above (and several times in this very space over the course of the history of Funky16Corners) were one of the greatest of classic era funk bands, laying down a few of what are undisputably (to any sane listener) the greatest grooves ever committed to vinyl.

New Orleans Survival Spirit

In this excerpt from the latest NYC Summer Scoops Live performance series, Terence Blanchard and Tammy Lynn talk about the unique spirit of community that persists in New Orleans.

No doubt about it: New Orleans to the bottom of their soul

New Orleans roots-rock band the Iguanas perform Thursday, July 16 on Fanny Hill in the Snowmass Free Music Series.
New Orleans roots-rock band the Iguanas perform Thursday, July 16 on Fanny Hill in the Snowmass Free Music Series.

The Iguanas hardly sound like the quintessential New Orleans band. There is a horn — Joe Cabral's saxophone — but the effect is more Mexican ranchera than Bourbon Street brass. They don't play funk, neither Dr. John-style piano funk, nor the Meters-type electric groove. The patois in New Orleans is spiced largely with French accents; when the Iguanas sing in a language other than English, it is Spanish. Only if you believe the line that New Orleans is the northern-most Caribbean city, does the Iguanas sound qualify as a New Orleans sound.

But the recent album “If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times,” released in September, makes it plain how much New Orleans is a part of the band.

when kermit met louis

Kermit Ruffins was surprised to hear four Louis Armstrong tunes in a row on New York radio this past Monday morning, while in town to play at Lincoln Center. It didn't dawn on either of us that July 6th was the anniversary of Armstrong's death, in 1971, at 69. We realized it only later, standing in the bedroom of he house in Corona, Queens that Armstrong and his wife Lucille called home from 1943 on -- now lovingly preserved as the Armstrong House Museum.


"Didn't he....?" Ruffins asked.

"Yes, in this very room," said Deslyn Dyer, the museum's assistant director. "On this very day."

Just then, photographer James Delaria's Canon stopped working. A minute later, it abruptly clicked back into service.

I knew bringing Ruffins --a New Orleans trumpeter who has channeled much of Armstrong's approach to jazz as extroverted entertainment -- to this place would be a spiritual experience. But I didn't plan it that carefully.

I'd interviewed Ruffins a while back, and when I noticed he was going to be in New York, I mentioned the museum.

New Orleans bars feature great music seven days a week

A life in music: Wynton Marsalis

'If you lose the music you have lost everything. No amount of money would make up for losing something so important'

On inauguration day in Washington earlier this year, the Wynton Marsalis Quintet played a private party at the White House in honour of President Obama. The two men are the same age, but long before Obama came to prominence, Marsalis had been a national figure and so while he says "as a liberal and a Democrat I, of course, feel that things are better in America", he is experienced enough to know that change, particularly in the areas he cares about most, might not come as quickly as he would like.

New Wave Brass Band adorns streets of İstanbul with New Orleans jazz

The eight-member New Wave Brass Band of New Orleans is in İstanbul for four street concerts as part of this year’s İstanbul International Jazz Festival. The band was on the streets of Ortaköy on Sunday.

As one of the most important regions for the development of jazz, due to its unique history and culture as well as its distinctive character, rooted in the colonial period (originally as part of a French colony), New Orleans today offers a taste of its culture through the music of its homegrown New Wave Brass Band, which has been strolling the streets of the city since last weekend as part of this year's İstanbul Jazz Festival.

Five Questions with Aaron of the Honey Island Swamp Band

5. The band recently returned from a trip to the East Coast- how were you received by audiences up north?

The crowds on this first East Coast run were great. Sullivan Hall in New York, the 8 x10 in Baltimore, and the Federal Hill Jazz and Blues Festival, also in Baltimore, were all highlights. In a lot of these bigger markets, you’re almost expected to fall on your face the first time through. But everyone at those gigs, including us, was pleasantly surprised at the turnout. They all asked to have us back, and we’ll be up there again the last two weeks of August.

New Orleans Voices Podcast: Lumar LeBlanc Interview

Lumar LeBlanc is the snare drummer and founder of the Soul Rebels Brass Band. The Soul Rebels combine brass band music, reggae, r&b, and funk, into a style that's all their own.

Mo Beauty for Clap Your Hands Frontman Alec Onunsworth

The album was recorded in New Orleans and boasts of some Big Easy regulars. Ounsworth is backed by George Porter, Jr. on bass (The Meters), Robert Walter on keys (The Greyboy Allstars), Stanton Moore (Galactic) on drums and Matt Sutton on baritone and pedal-steel guitars. A few notables in the community including Mark Mullins, Craig Klein, Greg Hicks, Washboard Chaz, Shannon Powell, John Boutte, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson and Meschiya Lake also dropped in on the fun.

"...New Orleans informed the spirit of the record, as it should. It's not a 'New Orleans record,' though, because, besides "Holy, Holy, Holy Moses," most of the songs weren't written specifically for New Orleans," says Ounsworth. "...Any record can be influenced by its location aesthetically, and some are more than others. So it was with this record... it is New Orleans, after all."

Nathan Abshire's cajun blues

I started listening to cajun and zydeco music while I was in college at Case Western Reserve University. Nathan Abshire's "Pine Grove Blues" was a classic recording that I encountered back then. Abshire was an important figure in the revival of the accordion in post-World II cajun music. Here is a video of him at Fred's Lounge in Mamou, Louisiana. I don't understand French but one does not need to know the words to appreciate the soulfulness of his music.

Hart McNee, New Orleans flutist, saxophonist, dies at 66

Hart McNee, raspy-voiced bass flutist and baritone saxophonist who played with innumerable musical legends and made more than 40 appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, died Tuesday morning of liver cancer. He was 66.

Jonathan Freilich, who played with Mr. McNee in The Naked Orchestra and Los Vecinos, found him deft at improvisation, able to assert his personality within the music. "Hart was a master of that, " Freilich said. "He could be very playful, contemplative or tough."

In New Orleans, Mr. McNee recorded with his own band and played with the Storyville Stompers brass band, Mas Mamones, Moyuba, Coco Robicheaux and John Boutte.

NPR: Mapping your life by sound

Independent producers Jacob Brancasi and Heather Booth are mapping the city by sound for Open Sound New Orleans, an interactive audio project. Brancasi and Booth have asked New Orleanians to record what they hear in their neighborhoods, and then upload the audio to

The contributed recordings, called "soundmarks," are linked to a map of the city, so others can explore the sounds of people, music and everyday life found around New Orleans.

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