[JPL] New Orleans Homecoming (for the Lucky Ones)

Philip Booth philipbooth at tampabay.rr.com
Wed May 2 20:52:46 EDT 2007


My Billboard review of the first weekend is now posted here --
http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/reviews/live_review_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003580025
Philip Booth
Tampa, Fla.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "r durfee" <rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com>
To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 6:56 PM
Subject: [JPL] New Orleans Homecoming (for the Lucky Ones)


> This Week's JPL Sponsor: Voluntary Donors
>
> May 1, 2007
> New Orleans Homecoming (for the Lucky Ones)
> By JON PARELES
> NEW ORLEANS, April 30 - Every so often at this year's
> New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival over the
> weekend, musicians would announce that they were
> finally back in their old homes after being displaced
> for a more than a year by Hurricane Katrina.
>
> The queen of New Orleans soul, Irma Thomas, returned
> to her house two weeks ago; Jean Knight, who had the
> hit "Mr. Big Stuff," said she was back; and Brice
> Miller, the trumpeter for the Mahogany Brass Band,
> announced on Saturday that he had just spent his first
> night in his old bedroom.
>
> They're the luckier ones. They didn't live in
> destroyed neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward that
> are still virtually empty. And they can return to a
> livelihood: jobs at clubs in the more-touristed parts
> of New Orleans, which are back in business and ready
> to party.
>
> The culture of New Orleans - the thoroughly local
> music, food and rituals that are connected to African
> processions, European carnivals, Caribbean rhythms and
> America's history of slavery and intermingling - is a
> draw not just for tourists, but for New Orleanians.
> Through sheer perseverance, it is being rebuilt.
>
> The 38th annual Jazzfest was its old celebratory self,
> with an undercurrent of determination. Jazzfest, which
> continues this coming weekend, has stoked the city's
> culture by gathering it for the outside world to see
> since 1970. More than 80 percent of this year's
> performers are Louisiana musicians who cover a century
> of music, from brass bands to bayou zydeco to hip-hop.
>
>
> To hear the pianist Henry Butler splashing free-jazz
> dissonances and wild whoops and hollers into New
> Orleans standards like "Tipitina," or to hear the Hot
> 8 Brass Band mixing old-fashioned oompah with Latin
> and hip-hop beats was to hear the continuity of a
> culture that faces its troubles with rhythm and
> flamboyance. Only in New Orleans would a band - Bob
> French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, to be exact
> - put a traditional jazz beat under P-Funk's chant,
> "Tear the roof off the sucker."
>
> The locals shared the first weekend's lineup with
> headliners like Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt, T Bone
> Burnett, Jill Scott, Ludacris, Brad Paisley, Pharoah
> Sanders and the Mexican brass band Banda el Recodo.
> There were also performers who were born in Louisiana,
> including Lucinda Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny
> Rivers, whose "Secret Agent Man" had a touch of
> bayou-country swamp-pop.
>
> The visitors didn't forget where they were. They
> performed with New Orleans musicians: Ms. Jones with
> Trombone Shorty, Mr. Sanders with the trumpeter
> Terence Blanchard, Ms. Raitt with half a dozen guests
> for a weekend-closing medley of New Orleans R &B.
>
> Songs were addressed to the city for both its losses
> and its survival. When Ms. Raitt sang her "God Was in
> the Water," an eerie song written before Katrina, she
> dedicated it to the Ninth Ward, the rest of the city
> and "all the people still waiting for the help they
> deserved."
>
> Ms. Williams choked up as she sang her mournful
> "Everything Has Changed," and Mr. Burnett sang
> apocalyptic imagery to swampy blues-rock riffs. The
> zydeco and Cajun musicians from the bayou country to
> the west, which was harder hit by Hurricane Rita, also
> sang about the storms; the Cajun rocker Zachary
> Richard had a song that vowed, "Seven generations
> we've been stuck here in the mud/But the only way that
> I'm leaving Louisiana is if I'm swept away in a
> flood."
>
> As often happens at Jazzfest, the locals - not all of
> them able to return yet - stole the show. On Sunday
> afternoon a set by the New Orleans Social Club defined
> the heart of the festival. With George Porter Jr. and
> Leo Nocentelli from the definitive New Orleans funk
> band, the Meters, along with Dr. John and Irma Thomas,
> the group was an all-star contingent of New Orleans
> musicians who had gathered in Austin six weeks after
> Katrina to record a benefit album.
>
> Their set reached back into New Orleans tradition,
> including the Mardi Gras Indian song "Indian Red,"
> which insists, "We won't bow down," and it mingled
> anger and optimism. It also dug deep into the
> parade-beat rhythms that are at the roots of jazz and
> New Orleans R&B and funk. And it had a huge crowd
> dancing.
>
> Jazzfest has long since become a local ritual itself,
> one that became more important after the hurricane
> made clear that New Orleans could not be taken for
> granted. The festival is a nonprofit event, and its
> Jazz and Heritage Foundation owns the license to the
> gloriously New Orleans-centric radio station WWOZ-FM.
>
> It also supports, quietly and pragmatically, the
> street processions that maintain New Orleans rhythms
> and communities. In recent years the foundation has
> paid for police permits for second-line parades, which
> send brass bands and fancy-suited Social Aid and
> Pleasure Clubs strutting through the streets. The
> foundation has also started to buy plumes - pricey
> ostrich feathers - for the Mardi Gras Indians who
> spend a year sewing the outsize suits that they flaunt
> from Mardi Gras season in February through Jazzfest in
> May.
>
> Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs and Mardi Gras Indian
> gangs arose in the city's poorer neighborhoods -
> including some that are still depopulated - but they
> are tenacious. Last year the foundation bought plumes
> for 80 Indians; this year for 188. Among the Mardi
> Gras Indians parading at Jazzfest were the Ninth Ward
> Hunters.
>
> One of Jazzfest's staples is its gospel tent, where
> local church choirs and touring gospel groups perform
> all day. The hurricane gave them another reason to
> praise the Lord: making it through.
>
> "You hurt me, Katrina, but I'm still standing!"
> preached Bishop Paul S. Morton, a dynamic singer and
> New Orleans gospel luminary who has worked with Aretha
> Franklin.
>
> Then he added another message. "If you are not from
> New Orleans," he said, "please don't forget about us."
>
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/01/arts/music/01jazz.html?_r=1&ref=music&oref=login
>
> Roy Durfee
> P.O. Box 40219
> Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
> rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
>
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