[JPL] Louisiana musicians make their point loud and clear

Arturo Gomez arturo at kuvo.org
Mon Aug 25 16:59:36 EDT 2008

This is a review of the Sunday night event that jazz89KUVO and WWOZ
partnered to bropadcast live to our respective markets and stream from the
New Orleans Times-Picayune...

The reporter must've arrived late because the opening act was Donald
Harrison Jr and his Tipitina Interns, Donald was one of the many we
interivewed and he left us a copy of his new Cd on nagel heyer, The
Chosen...a very good release.  The catering was done by a famed New Orleans
chef who was flown in with his crew, they also sent thousands of
mini-mulffulettas sandwiches from the French Quarter's legendary Central
Grocery. The reporter must've also left early or had a deadline because he
fails to mention the entire ensemble's closing jam session that included
Walter "Wolfman" Washington who played throughout the night. The night also
included an abbreviated replica of the new stage production of Brother Ray
with the entire cast, wow! they were great and the fellow who is portraying
Ray is a gifted musician in his own right.   Off to Dazzle's for another
live show broadcast that has more and more guests playing.....


Louisiana musicians make their point loud and clear
Monday, August 25, 2008By Keith Spera
DENVER -- The food fell short, but the music was just right as Louisiana
took center stage at the Democratic National Convention delegates welcoming
party Sunday night.

The "red beans and rice" looked like raisins and rice. The "crawfish Monica"
featured elbow macaroni. The muffulettas came with olive sauce on the side.

But on stage, Irma Thomas, Houma guitarist Tab Benoit, Grammy-winning
trumpeter Terence Blanchard, the Soul Rebels Brass Band and dozens more
demonstrated what a Louisiana house party should sound like.

"If you want to throw a good party, you draw on Louisiana musicians," Benoit
announced from the stage.

And so they did.

The Soul Rebels and the Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians, in full
Indian regalia, kicked off the night as delegates streamed into a cavernous
Colorado Convention Center ballroom.

Benoit then took center stage with his Voice of the Wetlands Allstars, a
group he founded before Hurricane Katrina to promote coastal restoration. He
and Cyril Neville traded lines on Neville's "I Got the Blues for New
Orleans," then shifted gears for a Cajun shuffle. Guitarist Anders Osborne,
Cajun fiddler Waylon Thibodeaux and pianist Henry Butler -- a Denver
resident since Hurricane Katrina -- soloed behind them.

Blues belter Marva Wright wailed "A Change Is Gonna Come." Irma Thomas and
Austin pianist Marcia Ball teamed up for a no-holds-barred "One More Time
Like That."

Just before Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean spoke, Blanchard and Randy
Newman rendered Newman's "Louisiana 1927," now a post-Katrina anthem.
Blanchard relished the opportunity to participate in the convention.

"This is history in the making, no matter what happens from here on out," he
said. "To be part of this with all these New Orleans musicians. Even though
we didn't get a presidential debate (in New Orleans), I'll take this. This
is something I'll remember for the rest of of my life."

Voice of the Wetlands drummer Johnny Vidacovich concurred. "It's probably a
once-in-a-lifetime experience," Vidacovich said. "It's a special night,
especially with this collection of musicians."

Initially, the New Orleans musical delegation was booked for a Sunday night
fundraiser for Friends of New Orleans, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that
advocates on behalf of the Gulf Coast's recovery. When convention organizers
learned the Louisianians were coming to town, they recruited them for the
delegate party.

Throughout the night, Benoit addressed the issue of coastal restoration. "If
I want to take people camping where I camped as a kid, I've have to take a
houseboat," he said. "It's open water."

The Women of the Storm delivered the same message by tossing small foam
footballs symbolizing the football field of wetlands lost every hour.

Women of the Storm's Sally Suthon missed the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars
at the 2008 Jazzfest when their show was rained out. She relished the chance
to hear them in Denver -- and took pride in how they represented their home
state for thousands of delegates from around the country.

"These are internationally renowned musicians that we can see on any Friday
night," Suthon said. "If (the delegates) don't get Louisiana after this
show, they can sell us back to the French."

The delegate party was the start of a busy night, and week, for many of the
musicians. After a final mass performance of "When the Saints Go Marching
In" at the convention center, they hustled several blocks to the Fillmore
Auditorium for the Friends of New Orleans party.

This week, they'll play two additional fundraisers for the Tipitina's
Foundation and Friends of New Orleans in Aspen, Colo., and Jackson Hole,

Finally, Benoit leads the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars at a Friends of New
Orleans event during the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn.

"There's a fork in the road, and we're going to take both of them," Benoit
said. "This is what we've worked for. Let's use the music as a voice for the

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