Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Bayou Boogaloo and music galore keep us attuned and in tune
Once after having the privilege of attending Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival set in the beautiful, historic, hilltop town of Perugia, I asked a resident what the music scene was like there during other times of the year. The answer was basically, “zilch” with the exception of a few other events. The jazz lovers and the New Orleans music enthusiasts of the Umbria region who during the festival helped pack the music venues and the plazas simply did without. It might be a year before another second line would call out for the young and old to come out and dance through the winding streets. The churches, parks and bars would resume their original functions minus the sound of live jazz. It was sort of a sad thought.see also: Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
While a mental letdown can often occur after the back-to-back blockbusters of the French Quarter Festival and Jazz Fest (that could be chalked up to sheer exhaustion), New Orleans doesn’t fold it up and wait for another year. The music just keeps coming.
Bayou Boogaloo was greeted with much appreciation when it debuted in 2006, a time when this city remained on very shaky grounds and each spotting of old friends became a grand reunion. It continues to embrace the neighborhood and families offering a low-keyed, homey, green attitude. The music presented on two solar-powered stages (just one on opening night) plus a kids tent, remains home-grown.
Andre Williams And The New Orleans Hellhounds - Can You Deal With It?
Gotta love Andre Williams. 70 something years old, about 50 of them spent in music, ups and downs all throughout including a drug addiction allegedly spurred on by Ike Turner, and this guy is still singing his heart out about trying to do nasty shit with young girls
ALEX MCMURRAY- HOW TO BE A CANNONBALL
20 years ago, more than half of this record would have been all over the radio. Singer-songwriter McMurray knows how to break a heart and tickle a funny bone, most of the time in the same song. Part Tin Pan Alley, part Ray Davies, a little bit of Tom Waits, and a whole lotta hard New Orleans living, makes for one of my favorite records of the year.Alex's representatives have been in touch with the following update:
You can download the tracks here:
It's also streaming for free and available for purchase at: http://www.alexmcmurray.com
Terrance Simien - There's Room for Us All 1992
If you have been to Jazz Fest then there is a fair chance that at some point you wandered past Congo Square and got your socks blown off by this man. Terrence is kind a new breed of zydeco man who has his ears open to all the different kinds of music around him. He is an amazingly soulful vocalist and a burning accordion player and apparently a pretty nice guy judging from the awe inspiring array of talent from here to Lafayette that shows up on this album. I'm challenging any of you right now to sit still during the opening song Uncle Bud. Ain't gonna happen! There is a stunning array of Zydeco, Creole, Gospel, Soul and Funk on this album. Right now it appears that all of the Black Top releases are going out of print, this one can still be had cheap on Amazon but not for long. Go get yourself a copy while you can - this is one of Simien's best.
One could learn a lot about our city by heading to a Midnite Disturbers show. You could learn about older traditions or about the current state of music in New Orleans. You can see a band that provides new meaning for the word “supergroup” or get a glimpse of the six or seven individual bands that are leading the new era of New Orleans funk music. A Midnite Disturbers experience is an educational one to say the least.
Since there’s so much to learn, we’ll break down the Disturbers by instrument to get a closer look at the brains behind the beast. As with most brass bands, the Midnite Disturbers do not necessarily show up with the same line-up every night, but opts for the best combination of players for a given gig.
Interview with Theresa Andersson
Theresa Andersson returned to San Francisco, as a headliner this time, and played a fantastic show at the Swedish American Hall on 5/14. Born and raised in Sweden, Andersson moved to New Orleans at the age of 18 and has lived there for almost 20 years, until recently mostly singing and playing the violin on the local scene. Over the last couple years she's tried a unique "one-woman band" approach, carefully choreographing her stunningly expressive voice with at least half a dozen instruments, and a huge, to my eyes mind-bogglingly complicated, looping machine. To call her multi-talented would be a gross understatement. At the Swedish American Hall last week she played tunes from her album Hummingbird, Go!, such as “Birds Fly Away” and “Innan Du Gar,” and also worked in some highly original covers like Nina Simone’s “See Line Woman,” and Allen Toussaint’s “On the Way Down.” After the show MCMB had the privilege of interviewing her.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Note by Note, Manhattan Acquires a New Orleans Bounce
By JON PARELESPublished: May 20, 2009
The New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint hinted at the scope of his musical lore in a whimsical solo montage halfway through his early set at the Village Vanguard on Tuesday night. Fragments of old New Orleans songs (like “Big Chief”), classical pieces, boogie-woogie, “The Sound of Music” and other tunes interrupted one another and gradually mingled, giving barrelhouse flourishes to a Chopin prelude. After a few more segues Mr. Toussaint called Elvis Costello out of the audience to sing “Ascension Day,” a song from the 2006 album they made together, “The River in Reverse.”
No matter what the source, the rendition was poised and light-fingered, without an unconsidered note. And somehow New Orleans was in every phrase, with hints of swing, of humor, of sly sensuality.
In Mr. Toussaint’s long career as songwriter, arranger and producer he has honed a piano style that’s supportive and allusive; a little trill or tremolo sums up all the splashy joys of New Orleans patriarchs like Professor Longhair and James Booker, and a syncopated chord under right-hand octaves summons gospel. Mr. Toussaint has the two-fisted, rippling vocabulary of the city’s piano legacy, but he uses it in dapper ways.
He’s at the Village Vanguard through Sunday primarily as an instrumentalist; he sang only two songs in the set. Mr. Toussaint is following through on his new album, “The Bright Mississippi” (Nonesuch). It applies the Toussaint touch to old songs like “St. James Infirmary” (which was sung on Tuesday night by the album’s producer, Joe Henry), “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and Duke Ellington’s “Solitude.”
His band echoes a New Orleans trad-jazz lineup — clarinet (Don Byron), trumpet (Christian Scott), acoustic guitar (Marc Ribot), bass (David Piltch) and drums (Jay Bellerose) — and reaches back without being fussy about it. When Mr. Toussaint played and sang his own “Southern Nights,” he turned it into a blend of gospel and Orientalism, with harplike glissandos. But for most of the set blues, slow-drag beats, parade struts and New Orleans-ized tangos and hymns were the foundations, with a touch of rhythm and blues. And melody always took precedence.
Mr. Scott, who has been a sideman on hip-hop albums, reached back to old New Orleans, playing the tunes with puckish pauses and smears; Mr. Byron, sometimes switching to tenor saxophone from his usual clarinet, had the scurrying, ornamental role, sometimes hinting at modernist harmony in his runs. Mr. Ribot’s guitar solos were spiky, down-home epigrams. And Mr. Piltch and Mr. Bellerose savored the vintage New Orleans beats, with rustling cymbals and ballooning snare-drum rolls.
It wasn’t a re-creation of old New Orleans music but a reverie on a New Orleans heritage: a lifetime of memories refined by a genteel sensibility that finds the elegance in the blues.
In Pursuit Of Bo-Consciousness - Part 3
WORKING WELL WITH OTHERS ON RIC & RON
As an arranger, songwriter and backing musician, Eddie Bo assisted a number of artists who were beginning or continuing their recording careers at Ric & Ron in the early 1960s, several of whom would go on to become big names in New Orleans R&B. Around this time last year, I featured one of Bo's early productions in a multi-song post. It was Robert Parker's first Ron single,"All Nite Long", a rockin', quirky two-parter from 1959. For additonal documentation, this time I’m featuring tracks byIrma Thomas,Johnny Adams, andTommy Ridgley, three of the greatest R&B/soul vocalists the city has engendered, plus notable sides by two lesser known artists, Warren Lee and Martha Carter. There may be nothing musically groundbreaking about any of these tunes; but, Bo’s work for Joe Ruffino’s labels was an opportunity for him to learn the ropes of studio arranging and production on his own projects as well as on those of other fine young talents. While there were hits and misses in that process, even the lesser tunes are enjoyable, and, I hope, provide some context in terms of his career. Oddly, one of his earliest collaborations as an arranger for another artist proved to be the most commercially successful.
"Don't Mess With My Man" (D. Labostrie)
As many of you know, the festival portion of Jazzfest is only part of the splendor of this yearly phenomenon. The other piece of the puzzle is the late night scene. Every bit as exciting as the Fest itself – just not quite as hot depending on how you see it – these nightly showcases are nothing short of epic. All around the city, the concerts begin around 10:00pm and proceed until sunup; it isn’t uncommon for the final act on a bill to kickoff after 2:00am. So without any further explanation, I’m going to begin unfolding my Late Night Jazzfest 2009 experience. For me, there’s no better way to ring in Jazzfest than with a brass band. So, on Thursday, April 23rd, I headed to the Howlin’ Wolf for the Brass Band Blowout which featured Crescent City favorites the Soul Rebels Brass Band, the Hot 8 Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band.
Since Hurricane Katrina, Dr. John has experienced a renaissance of sorts. He got artists including Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani DiFranco and Terence Blanchard to contribute to City That Care Forgot (429 Records) and it won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues in 2008, his fifth Grammy. He also used the record to rail against the federal government's response to Katrina and to raise awareness of issues such as the continuing depletion of the Louisiana wetlands. USA Today said songs like "Land Grab" and "Time For a Change" made the album a "rambunctious and furious post-Katrina polemic that addresses government indifference, the diaspora and [Dr. John's] unwavering love for the Crescent City."
Galactic and The Wild Magnolias Reunion at Tipitina's
After an excellent first day of Jazzfest, I headed to Tipitina’s around 9:30pm (April 24, 2009) to partake in the second night of Fess Jazztival. My initials plans were to catch bluesman Eric Lindell and the reunion of the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians featuring Big Chief Bo Dollis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, but due to some scheduling confusion, by the time that had I arrived Eric Lindell had already played. Disappointed but not daunted, I used this opportunity to hang around and slip into Galactic’s [2:00am to] sunrise set.
Allen Toussaint shines on elegant new CD "The Bright Mississippi"
Allen Toussaint's post-Katrina renaissance rolls on.
Ever since his 1958 debut "The Wild Sound of New Orleans" -- released under the name Tousan -- he has recorded only sporadically. He earned his place in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame by writing and producing hits for other artists.But his national profile as a performer in his own right has never been higher, thanks in large part to "The River in Reverse." The acclaimed 2006 collaboration with Elvis Costello revived Toussaint's touring career and reintroduced him as a contemporary recording artist. His new, genteel "The Bright Mississippi" (Nonesuch Records), while much different, should only enhance that reputation
Anders Osborne and Friends at Le Bon Temps
After a monster few days at Jazzfest, I was pretty worn out. The crowd, the scope, the bustle, it had all started to wear on me a bit. I needed to find a laidback gig to set me right. So, on Saturday, April 25th, I decided to take in a late night show in my neighborhood. I set out for Le Bon Temps Roulé where guitar slinger Anders Osborne held court. To my surprise, joining Anders this night were wildman Simon Lott on drums, maniac Marco Benevento on keys and a saxophone player whom I didn’t recognize, couldn’t understand when announced but brought some serious heat – what above all, Le Bon Temps is all about. It is without a doubt the hottest place in New Orleans. There’s no stage here; rather, the musicians set up shop in the far corner of an unventilated back room. It’s certainly an [suffocating] experience to be had. Fans come and go, immersing themselves in the music until they can no longer take the temperature. Then, after a quick breather, they jump right back into the fire. The musicians, on the other hand, wail away, wholly enmeshed in the scene unfolding before them.
Scenes From The Original Big 7 Parade
Hopeful Dispatches From the 40th Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans inspires even inveterate Twitterers and Facebook correspondents to release their thumbs and touch real life. Except the guy at the bar of a club called DBA one recent Monday, who just leaned harder into his BlackBerry, typing feverishly as Glen David Andrews—trombone in one hand, mic in the other—upped the tempo of "It's All Over Now." Some people just don't get it.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which celebrated its 40th year through two long weekends from April 24 to May 3, is the grandest showcase, the tourism calling card, for a culture that defies the virtual. At the festival's Gospel Tent five days later, Andrews stirred fervor with hymns from his new CD, Walking Through Heaven's Gate. Monday, secular. Friday, sacred. Same effect. These are the two sides of New Orleans' musical coin, and nowhere is that truer than Andrews's old neighborhood, Tremé: He recorded his album at Zion Hill Baptist Church there, where he was baptized 30 years ago.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
see also: Revel With a Cause
An extravagant tribute concert to honor Fats Domino doubles as a fundraising boon for the Brees Dream Foundation — and the final push to fulfill a two-year-old promise.
The Domino Effect: May 30 at New Orleans Arena
New Orleans Benefit Concert to feature B.B. King, Chuck Berry
Little Richard, Wyclef Jean, Keb' Mo', Taj Mahal & Junior Brown
About The Domino Effect
The Domino Effect is a star-studded tribute concert celebrating the life and influence of rock and roll legend Fats Domino. Musical legends from far and wide are gathering in New Orleans for one historic night to pay tribute to Fats and his feats throughout his lifetime. A portion of the proceeds from this music extravaganza will benefit the Brees Dream Foundation bettering local playgrounds and outdoor recreation sites for the children of New Orleans.
About The Brees Dream Foundation
Since 2007, The Brees Dream Foundation has contributed more than $1.65 million to the New Orleans community as part of its partnership with Operation Kids. Drew and Brittany Brees are committed philanthropists to the city of New Orleans and are a vital part of the rebirth and revitalization of the city's youth.
About The Producers
Illuminated Entertainment LLC (IEG) and its partner Rozone Productions LLC (RPI) managed by David E. Rosen promotes elite music events at a wide range of venues across the country. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, "The Live Music Capital of the World", the company is firmly positioned within the epicenter of cutting edge, traditional and talented live musicians and artists.
Often partnering with 501(c)(3) philanthropic organizations, IEG and RPI work to create awareness of a community's needs, whether in a city, a region, or an entire country, IEG and RPI support these 501(c)(3) by donating portions of the proceeds from their scheduled events.
One of the primary missions of IEG / RPI is to provide the patrons, business colleagues, and artists it collaborates with an experience that is substantially more rewarding than that of our competitors. This uncompromising approach is the bedrock and soul of our success.