Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
JazzFest tips for first timers HERE.
JazzFest FAQ HERE.
Ponderosa Stomp info HERE.
Rebirth Brass Band - Blender Theater, NYC 4/12/08
Rebirth Brass Band - Blender Theater, NYC 4/12/08
Dr. John - Blender Theater, NYC 4/12/08
Dr. John - Blender Theater, NYC 4/12/08
Dr. John & Rebirth Brass Band - Blender Theater, NYC 4/12/08
Saturday, April 12, 2008
June Yamaguchi - Highline Ballroom, NYC 4/11/08
Papa Grows Funk - Highline Ballroom, NYC 4/11/08
Philip Frazier - Highline Ballroom, NYC 4/11/08
Friday, April 11, 2008
Here's a picture of yours truly with the Wolfman:
Monster Funk: Jon Cleary & His Absolute Monster Gentleman
“We do a bit of everything really,” Cleary describes the band’s current set. “We play mostly new stuff we have written but we also have a fairly large tip of the hat to all the guys that came before us. I think a lot of local musicians agree that we’re all just standing on the shoulders of giants, amazing people who have changed the way New Orleans music was played, from Jelly Roll Morton to Professor Longhair and Fats of course and Dr John and James Booker, so we’ll play a couple of Professor Longhair tunes and a couple of Meters tunes and we like to mix it up. Mostly it’s our own stuff but the nature of the music here is that it’s been a very natural evolution so it’s not a big deal to switch from a 1990s tune to a 2007 tune and then hop all the way back half a century to Professor Longhair or even go back to the 1920s to do a little Jelly Roll Morton mix and it all fits in ‘cause it all comes from the same place. So it’s like a little broad taste of the history of New Orleans funk.”
beniceorlevee's "Motivated": A Trip to the House of Dance & FeathersI was visiting this year’s Krew de Vue King and proprietor of the House of Dance and Feathers, Ronald Lewis, who has a considerable reputation in the Lower Ninth Ward. A former Mardi Gras Indian, president of the Big Nine Social and Pleasure Club, and lifelong resident of the Lower Ninth, Lewis has always had a lot vested in his neighborhood. Because of his involvement with CITYbuild, the reconstruction of the House of Dance and Feathers, and the repair of his home in 2006, he and his property have become a sort of flagship for the opportunity still offered in the Lower Ninth.
Stephanie Jordan Named Jazz All-Stars 2008 by New Orleans Magazine
Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians. As the daughter of saxophonist Edward “Kidd" Jordan, Stephanie's musical roots run deep. Her siblings include flutist Kent, trumpeter Marlon, and violinist Rachel Jordan. Music is the one savior I have right now. I thank God every day ... Jazz feeds the spirit. The more you give, the more you receive back."
Stream vintage Preservation Hall Jazz Band shows for Free
Listen to a show from 1968 San Franciso HERE.
If Bill Graham should be given credit for anything it is the fact that he opened up hundreds of new performers and numerous genres of music to a public that was then very eager to hear and sample anything new and different. This was the third of three nights that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band played the Fillmore West to a primarily hippie audience on a bill that included the Grateful Dead and Sons of Champlin. Highlights of this show include “Gully Low Blues,” “Bourbon Street Parade,” and the old time blues gem, “In The Racket.” Not to be missed.
Click the above link and follow the simple steps below to demand the 8/29 Investigation Act, a truly independent and truly complete analysis of the flood protection failures in metro New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Related: Engineer society flap reinvigorates call for new levee commission
Learn about Papa Mali
On first listen, those Crescent City polyrhythms work their voodoo all over you bringing forth the spirits of great Louisiana albums past. In the background you can hear Buddy Bolden’s brass, feel the kinetic pulse of all the parades and hail the return of the Dr. John The Night Tripper in Papa’s “Gris Gris”-ish grooves. “I am never far from the spirit of that landmark recording,” Welbourne explained. “That made a huge impact on me at a very young age. I grew up in Louisiana in the 60s..." Welbourne naturally followed that dark walk on guilded splinters to Dr. John and “his crew of freaky junkyard zombies."
ENTER to win a free signed merch pack from Galactic including a poster and a copy of From The Corner To The Block!
The oyster eating contest returns! This is almost as big as the Neville Brothers finally coming home.
New Orleans is the only city in America where a bunch of people showing up to eat as much food as they possibly can would signify a return to normalcy. We're excited to come back to the French Quarter Festival and to celebrate the levity of life.
Nola Rev's "Fest With No Rest"
"April really is the cruelest month, because it's absolutely impossible to attend every single one of the festivals happening in the Greater New Orleans-South Louisiana area this month, and it's almost impossible to choose between them. There's just no rest for the fest-inclined in New Orleans and South Louisiana this month. Oh well. Wonder what the rest of the country is doing in April? Likely, wishing they were here."
"New Orleans has a music community that consciously develops its young; maintains its traditions (including a vast repertoire of New Orleans-based songs); and honors its elders for their open-handed generosity of spirit to the new generation. In this less-than-perfect video one of the most beloved figures in the New Orleans music community “Uncle” Lionel Batiste shares a moment at the Palm Court."
Lionel of All Trades: The 101 jobs of Lionel Batiste, bass drummer for the Treme Brass Band, natty dresser, and uncle to thousands.
By Katy Reckdahl
Uncle Lionel Batiste built and operated this shoeshine stand outside Joe's Cozy Corner; when not playing music, he says, he's had to make "a couple of dollars to take care of home." Photo by Tracie Morris/Young Studio
Audience members, their eyes full of concern, gaze at the man as he inches his way in front of them. He stops, pulls a kazoo out of his breast pocket and plays a few bars of "You Are My Sunshine" along with the band. People in the crowd give a little laugh, then lean forward to listen as the band plays low so that the man can sing over the music in his quiet voice.
He winds up the chorus -- "You'll never know dear, how much I love you/Please don't take my sunshine away" -- and pauses to let the sax take a solo. Then, with great effort, he stands up straight and breaks into a feverish tap dance, intricate steps moving from side to side. Those in the crowd begin to realize that they've been duped. So the man takes it one step further -- he tilts up one edge of his dark sunglasses, revealing a perfectly healthy eye, which he winks at a woman in the front row.
The crowd roars with appreciation. "Let's hear it for Uncle Lionel Batiste," says the bandleader, as Batiste dances nimbly to the edge of the stage. He fakes a backward fall just long enough to perch on the knee of another nearby woman, then waves at the audience with both hands as he leaps off the stage, grinning.
Long before the "Uncle" was added to the front of his name, Lionel Batiste was known as an exceptional bass drummer. That's especially true in his home neighborhood, the Treme, which has produced many of the city's finest jazz drummers. Here, at age 11, Batiste first paraded on bass drum with the Square Deal Social & Pleasure Club.
Nearly every afternoon, the 72-year-old Batiste now can be seen sauntering along the neighborhood's sidewalks, making his way from his longtime apartment in the Lafitte housing project to one of the three bars clustered on Robertson Street between Dumaine and Ursulines streets -- the Cal; the Candlelight, with its front wall bearing a bigger-than-life painted image of Batiste in a sash and top hat; and Joe's Cozy Corner, a longtime hub for musicians. Framed photos of Batiste hang on the walls in all three clubs.
On Robertson Street, Batiste calls nearly everyone either "my niece" or "my nephew." He's seen many of them grow up. "I put diapers on her -- a three-point diaper with one pin," he says, pointing at a passing woman.
Drummer Shannon Powell says he's watched Batiste closely all his life. "I learned how to relax and keep good time," says Powell, pantomiming a steady bass-drum mallet with his right hand. "That's just natural for Uncle. He keeps good time, even after about 12 of those beers."
Jazz drummer Herman LeBeaux, who lives around the corner from Powell, says that the rhythms that Batiste puts down on his drum are pure New Orleans. "Inside Uncle Lionel's bass drum is the pulse of the city," he says.
Powell also learned how to dress from Batiste, whom he calls "the cleanest musician in the city." And no matter what suit Batiste is wearing, his breast pocket is never empty. "He always has a kazoo with him," says trombonist Corey Henry. "He never leaves home without it."
Batiste has a known soft spot for youngsters. "Uncle is my total influence," says Kermit Ruffins. "He taught me how to act, how to dress, how to feel about life." Most of those lessons took place at the bar at Joe's Cozy Corner, he says. Ruffins points at the way his own tie matches the fabric in his hanky pocket -- a trick learned from Batiste, he says, who taught him to fill that pocket by clipping a piece from the back half of his tie.
Yet Batiste, like so many jazz musicians before him, has also worked a lifetime of odd jobs -- everything from bricklayer to embalmer to praline deliveryman. The count may top 100, says Batiste's lifelong friend Henry Youngblood. "He did whatever came in his mind."
Many of his earliest employers were located on Rampart Street, says Batiste, stopping for a chat near Armstrong Park. "I always have time on my hands," he says with a wink, pointing at the watchband that he wears just below his knuckles instead of in the conventional wrist position.
It's around 10 p.m. Sunday and his night is just beginning. "I'm out exploring," he says. At some point he'll drop in on Shannon Powell's Sunday night gig at Donna's Bar & Grill, and he'll probably stop to flirt with the ladies at a little bar over on Basin Street. Along the way, he'll take a walk through the French Quarter where tourists will -- as usual -- ask if he'll pose for photos with them. He's perfectly dressed, in a matching suit and hat, tie and hanky. On his lapel is his usual pin, inch-high praying hands.
He puts out his right elbow and offers a short stroll, a tour of the work he's done on this three-block stretch of North Rampart Street. By the end of the tour, he'll have named half a dozen employers here, although he also will have identified every other building in between. This one was a barber shop, he'll say, that one was a casino, and the one over there was a furniture shop, the first place he got credit.
He points his cane at the corner of St. Philip and Rampart streets, home during his boyhood to two sandwich shops where he -- and anyone else who was black -- had to go to the back to be served. At the time, Armstrong Park was filled with houses, including his family's. The Congo Square area held a whites-only pool where white teenage girls swam, although he and his friends sometimes jumped in anyway.
"The water stayed the same color even after we got out," he says, raising his eyebrows ever so slightly. He wryly blames his false teeth for the smart-aleck comment and then re-focuses on the purpose of this tour.
He extends his cane toward the corner of Rampart and Dumaine. "See that green door?" he says. He worked one of his first jobs there. "I shined shoes for a guy named T-Boy, One-Eyed T-Boy."
Batiste unstraps his bass drum, makes a cross in the air in front of a new bottle of Miller High Life, and puts his head back for a long sip before stepping down from the stage. He's on a gig with the Treme Brass Band, for whom he plays bass drum, sings vocals and acts as assistant leader.
"I made my instrument -- my bass drum," says Batiste. The result, with the standard New Orleans cymbal fixed on top, is slimmer and lighter than most, allowing Batiste to continue his signature slide and little hop for an entire four-hour second line parade. The drum's heads are painted with the words "Treme Brass Band, New Orleans," which arch over an image of a woman dancing with a little boy kneeling nearby trying to look up her skirt. Batiste's friend Gennie Leyh painted the original at his request, and he carefully traces the image onto every new drum head.
"This is what I love to do, play the drum," he explains. The other jobs have been about money -- "a couple of dollars to take care of home," he says.
Treme snare drummer Benny Jones Jr., who's married to Batiste's niece, is known around the neighborhood as the leader of the Treme Brass Band, founder of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and son of legendary drummer Chester Jones. This Friday, Jones will receive a lifetime achievement award from the New Orleans International Music Colloquium. Still, in between gigs with the band that the Colloquium calls "one of the top brass bands in the world," you'll often find Jones painting houses and doing other odd jobs. "That's the musician's life -- always working a job on the side to make ends meet," says Jones.
Providing for a family can sometimes mean leaving music behind, says 68-year-old Treme Brass Band trombonist Eddie King, who for 28 years starting in the 1960s, quit gigging to work as a stevedore, a job shared by other musicians such as Aaron Neville. "Me, I went to the river," says King. "But all musicians go from job to job."
Batiste's older brother, Norman Batiste, 74, also gave up music to work steady jobs at places like Antoine's, where he spent 18 years as a supervisor. "I didn't start playing the drum again until I retired," he says, sitting in front of the bass drum he plays nearly every day with the pickup band on Jackson Square.
"Jazz musicians in our community have to balance their passion for their music with some sort of stable employment," says analyst and pollster Silas Lee, who has for 20 years studied the social and economic status of blacks and whites in this city. The fact that most musicians must work other jobs, he says, is both a reflection of this city's mediocre labor market and a sign, he says, "that while we are credited to giving birth to jazz, we haven't really nurtured it."
Across the United States, most artists and musicians work more than one job. The National Endowment for the Arts found that four out of five artists held second jobs at some point within the year, in its September 2000 study, More Than Once in a Blue Moon: Multiple Jobholdings by American Artists. That's a rate higher than any other workers in the labor force.
But this city's jazz musicians may be working second and third jobs for less pay, says Lee. "Because when you look at the income scale in New Orleans, you see that it's very skewed by race. And the majority of jazz musicians are African American."
Last year, Lee wrote A Haunted City, a report examining the disparities. One chart shows household income, from the 2000 U.S. Census, for the lower end of the income scale -- under $20,000 a year. Nearly one in two black households fell into that category, while only one in four white households did. At the high end, Lee notes, it looks even worse -- one in four white households made more than $75,000, while only one in 20 black households did.
Poverty in the black community has meant poverty for black musicians, says longtime Treme resident and promoter Al Harris. "Yes, musicians are grossly underpaid. But look at the history of brass bands and who hired them. They played for black social and pleasure clubs, black funerals, black club owners."
Today, conventions, corporations and people of all colors will hire brass bands to second line around hotels and play at parties. But the wages for these bands haven't necessarily changed much, something that most out-of-town music fans might not know. "The visitor's view of the city is very romanticized," Lee says. They may be paying $400 a night for their hotel room and $20 to get into a music club, Lee explains, and they don't realize that the city's bellhops, maids and musicians aren't seeing any extra money -- unless they get it personally, through tips.
During Kermit Ruffins' younger, leaner days, he lived off the tip jar in Jackson Square. These days, most of his gigs pay straight fees, and so he -- like other musicians at better-paying gigs -- doesn't even put out a jar. "Now I don't want it in front of me," he says.
But Ruffins always tips when he hears good music, especially in certain places. "Most of the clubs in the Quarters pay their musicians $10 an hour, which is pretty sad. So tips are really important there," he says.
"What do I owe you, nephew?" says Batiste, getting a beer from Lloyd the bartender at Joe's Cozy Corner. He's dressed in a matching burgundy suit and hat, with a single-stemmed rose pin next to the praying hands.
Henry Youngblood, Batiste's lifelong friend and the godson of late jazz great Henry "Booker T." Glass, perches on a nearby barstool. He's known around here as a singer, longtime parade grand marshal, and the man who wrote "I Got a Big Fat Woman," a favorite both on Joe's jukebox and at brass band gigs. Today, Youngblood looks Batiste's outfit up and down and gets a grin on his face. "You know who Uncle reminds me of? The Planters peanut man." Batiste makes a wisecrack in return, and the two collapse into laughter.
For the past seven decades, these two men have been nearly inseparable. They grew up across the street from each other in the Treme, attended nearby Joseph A. Craig Elementary School, and spent a little time at the Milne Boys Home for delinquent acts they won't reveal. "We were mischievous," says Youngblood simply. "And guess what? We still are."
For them, work was as essential as mischief, to help support their parents and then their own families. The pair labored side by side for years, first at One-Eyed T-Boy's and later at Greenberg's costume shop, where they learned to build big papier mache heads for parade floats. They landed jobs on the peddling wagon, selling tomatoes, watermelon and bananas.
But they always found time for hijinx. In the 1930s, their group of friends created the Dirty Dozen Kazoo Band, which paraded all over town any time boxer Joe Louis won a fight. "And he won a lot," says Youngblood.
During the 1930s and 1940s, Batiste and another neighbor kid, Bird, worked as porters for two Bourbon Street clubs, taking deliveries and cleaning the bars in the morning. "We would knock off work," he recalls, "and then dance on the way to the Treme. They used to throw us nickels and dimes." Soon Batiste was good enough to dance with two Treme residents, the tap-dance duo Pork Chop and Kidney Stew, some of the most famous tap dancers New Orleans has ever produced.
When Batiste and Youngblood were teenagers, they were both hired by the place next door to T-Boy's -- J&M Music Shop, where Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Big John Turner, Guitar Slim, Smokey Johnson, Shirley Lee and Dave Bartholomew recorded. Batiste tried to teach Youngblood how to drive in the J&M truck, but Youngblood -- who was trying to show off for one of his girlfriends -- ended up rear-ending a hearse.
The two men spend a few minutes trying to list all of Batiste's jobs. "He pimped shoes -- cut designs into the leather," says Youngblood. Batiste also was a bowling alley pinsetter, bricklayer, tilesetter, electrician, gramophone repairer and an embalmer at two local funeral homes, where he learned to sew back-less suits for bodies in caskets. "You can't bend the arms, so you have to have a suit with no back," says Batiste.
Eventually, Batiste and Youngblood and their friends Slim and Rudolph chipped in $10 each and bought an old Ford. "I was the chauffeur and the mechanic -- the grease monkey," says Batiste.
"I was the sweetest thing in town, the candy man," Youngblood says. He and his mother worked 25 years at Evans Creole Candy Company, which was then located at Common and Rampart streets. She cooked; he wrapped the pralines. "Henry Youngblood had some of the fastest hands in the city," says Batiste, who was soon hired there as a deliveryman.
Youngblood says that they were happy working together at the candy company. "But then he acted the damn fool and got married." They both married childhood sweethearts from Craig school, although Batiste has now been widowed twice and Youngblood has since remarried and now has a total of 20 children. Batiste doesn't have quite that many kids, he says, but he won't say an exact number. "Let's just say a considerable amount," he says.
Batiste walks outside Joe's to talk to someone sitting on top of the shoeshine stand, a three-chair stand that he built and operated for years. "That was his stand," says Youngblood, who worked it when Batiste came home from a European gig so gravely ill that WWOZ announced, on the air, that Batiste had died. "What I'm so happy about is that we're still here," says Youngblood.
Today, it's a sunny afternoon and Youngblood is watching Batiste as he stands at the jukebox, one eye peering below his sunglasses so that he can read the song titles.
"That's my partner," says Youngblood, admiringly. He takes a sip of his drink and extends his hand toward the guy in the burgundy suit. "That," he says, "is my happy-go-lucky buddy, Lionel Batiste -- they call him Uncle. If you feel bad, he's going to make you laugh."
Norman Batiste can't keep up with his baby brother, he says. "Lionel is always on the go, used to tap dance and all that," says Norman.
Uncle Lionel makes impromptu stops at his older brother's house. "I'll hear a knock on the front door and a 'Hey, Nuts!' so I'll know it's him,'" Norman says. "But by the time I get to the door, he'll be halfway down the block."
It's become their own little routine. Norman will stand on the stoop and yell, he says. And his little brother Lionel will turn around, wave a nice big wave -- and then keep walking.
Read his "Living Legends of Jazz" profile HERE.
View his wikipedia page HERE.
Treme Brass Band's Second Line for Ed Bradley
"The numbers are impressive. More than 400,000 fans of New Orleans food and music from all over the world are expected to sample both at 16 stages and 65 concession stands, generating tens of millions of dollars for the city."
"Caught this band - Da Truth Brass Band - playing on the corner on Frenchman street. When I remember to, I carry a video camera with me and shoot interesting things I see. Everyone who lives and visits New Orleans could be doing this.
In the process, bit by bit, we could put the magic of New Orleans out there for people who’ve never been here and maybe change people’s perceptions about the city and why it is so worth helping in its time of need."
"The Ponderosa Stomp, a project of nonprofit educational organization MK Charities, will present its own annual event April 29-30 at House of Blues in New Orleans. Ronnie Spector, Roky Erickson, Dr. John and Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las are on the bill for a pair of marathon concerts that will present dozens of influential acts, including "Creole Beethoven" Wardell Quezergue and the final show for R&B trumpeter/producer Dave Bartholomew."Jazzfest Flyaway Contest!
Relix & Superfly Presents have put together an amazing Jazzfest Flyaway Contest! Check out the details below and enter at HERE.
GRAND PRIZE includes roundtrip airfare for two on Southwest Airlines to New Orleans from any airport serviced by Southwest Airlines, hotel accommodations, and a pair of tickets to each night of Superfly during Jazzfest.
"Pete Fountain has remained local. Even now, you can still find this almost-mythical 70-something clarinetist at hometown spots in the New Orleans area, playing native-born favorites."
Larry Blumenfeld and David Aman speak about the importance of New Orleans Music. Larry writes about New Orleans music scene for the New York Times and the Village Voice. David is a local videographer (and chef).No Justice for Hot 8 Drummer's Murder
In an 11-1 jury vote today in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, David A. Bonds was acquitted on all counts connected to the 2006 murder of musician Dinerral Shavers.
The decision means that no one will serve time for putting a .380-caliber bullet into the back of Shavers' head. Bonds, known on the streets of the 6th Ward as "Head," was the only suspect police linked to the killing.
The end of Dinerral's case cannot mark the end of our movement, or of the determination of all New Orleans citizens to raise our voices when we see injustice, inaction, and silence in the face of violence. We will continue to engage with our neighbors and our leaders: to hold our government accountable, but also, as Judge Jerome Winsberg wisely counseled at the conclusion of today's proceedings, to look inside ourselves and hold ourselves responsible for the chaotic societal circumstances that are breeding violent crime, and which caused Dinerral's death.
In his closing comments, Judge Winsberg expressed "shock" at what he witnessed during the trial. The way these children are living is not okay, he said, comparing inner-city New Orleans unfavorably with Baghdad. "It is appalling...it is shocking..." over and over said a judge who has presided over scores of criminal cases. The world our young people are living in came to terrifying light through the fearful testimony of witnesses, justifiably afraid; through the defendant's assertion that he sells drugs in order "to help my family" (this forming part of the defense in this trial); through the repeated references to petty but clearly deadly turf wars being fought by children too young to drive from one neighborhood to another.
Read more HERE.
Allen Toussaint Sidles Up To The Piano Bench On James Hunter's New Album
"Toussaint recalls, of the 'Hard Way' sessions, "I feel really honored and privileged to have been invited into this music. It's truly, truly a joy. I am sure this music is going to delight a whole lot of people."NPR's "Calling Residents Back to the Lower Ninth Ward"
"For Patricia Jones, a Lower Ninth Ward resident and now a community activist, it was what came after the storm that spurred her and her neighbors into action to rebuild. "We were basically pissed off into action," Jones says."
Beginning with 1983’s New York Second Line, trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison released a handful of albums that sprung from their time growing up in New Orleans and as members in drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Midtown Lunch: Mid-Week Bourbon St. Edition
Bourbon St. New York is tentatively scheduled to open April 15th on Restaurant Row (46th btw. 8+9th).
"As a fan of New Orleans I can’t decide whether to be excited or horrified. Apparently the chef was born and raised in New Orleans and “ran the kitchens in places such as Commanders Palace and Dickie Brennas”, whatever that means. Plus side, they have a Bourbon St. style balcony with something that appears to be wraught iron. The negative side, that balcony looks out over 46th St. We shall see…"