This Monday for my weekly Bacchanal show I will be playing with cellist, Helen Gillet. Just the two of us. Expect French music, improvisations, Rock 'n' roll flares, Baroque hauntings, jazz flecks, and Rococo rescue. Also, there will be the great food and wine that Bacchanal offers. The whole thing kicks off at 7:30pm.
Entries in New Orleans (10)
For those of you with that real spirit of musical adventure...I will be playing at Skerik's Saucefest, at Hi-ho Lounge on Tuesday May 1st. I don't know what time and neither will you- so MAKE IT!
Robert Walter was in New Orleans for a long time playing across the scene with a driving organ style. He was already well established at that point from his work with the Greyboy All-Stars and the Headhunters. On this particular show, Robert will be leading band a composed of notable instrumental stylists, as well as having Jonathan Freilich in the guitar seat.
Ben Ellman's Gypsophonik is an interesting DJ melange. He calls the style, Sissy Gypsy and it really keeps folks on the dance floor achieving some other state of mind with his mixture of New Orleans Sissy Bounce and Eastern European music. If you equate his name with Galactic or the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars this will shatter the frame you've got him in.
By the way...
What follows is a piece written for Lee Barclay and Chris Porche West's great collection of short pieces by New Orleans residents from all across the city and its complex social layers. It was written after the 2005 hurricane that wiped out so much but then there was the city wide pondering over What Can't be Lost. The roster of contributors is epic and being invited to participate was an honor. It's still available here...
Though the book is a few months old now and the subject even older I'm still including it under "What's New?"...because it hasn't been seen outside the book yet.
Jewish-New Orleans Art?
Over the last 16 years, playing with the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, I have had a close view of what a hybridized New Orleans- Jewish art form might be and, more interestingly, what forces in any locale might contribute to the alteration of certain sounds in music.
The common definition of Klezmer music is usually given by the translation of the word coupled with the origins of the sound. The word Klezmer is from two words, kley and zemer, meaning vessel of song. Some go on to say that this describes the musician who is the vessel who channels the melodies that in a sense are already out there in a metaphysical space given by God. From a cultural or ethno-musicological standpoint, Klezmer denotes Eastern European Jews playing the secular music of those regions but with an instrumental inflection from the liturgical-singing style of the Chazzans or synagogue cantorial soloists of those regions.
It is interesting how people begin to identify with phenomena such as sounds and places and relate to those things as being their own. Since this band started playing the bars of New Orleans in the early nineties, the energy of that world began to seep in. People wanted to dance, and they wanted rhythmic, ecstatic music that lasted for hours into the night. That was their idea of New Orleans music at that time. People who saw that element said that we were New Orleans players; that we played New Orleans Jewish Funk. On the other hand, many said that we were
The Latin Dance band, Mas Mamones will be out at DBA, New Orleans this Sunday night starting at 10pm. The band will feature the usual suspects plus this week Antonio Gambrell will join us on trumpet. Our fearless leader/bassist, Andrew "catch-you-out" Wolf has announced the arrival of the hot girlie tees. Come get one and be the sexiest in your neighborhood.
Mark Twain said it doesn't repeat, it rhymes...
There is a preponderence of music in the clubs and on the streets played by young people (teens to late 20's) that seems festooned with an obsession about late 19th to early 20th century style. I have been confused about where this is coming from. Even the fashions of the players seems to hark back to that time but it comes out looking more like stretched out rags from the Bugsy Malone set. Mostly they are playing rags, medicine show music, blues, and folk-songs. You see them carrying around banjos, accordions and euphoniums. It's not new, it's already gone on long enough (at least five years here in New Orleans) that if it were the early 20th century they would already have come up with a new form of jazz and thrown themselves out of date. They are, however, gripping tightly onto some set of imagery and I have been wondering why. Perhaps, symbolically, it is showing what is in the following article...
(For more on the idea in this post see this entry I wrote about the album by Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses dedicated to Sidney Bechet (Sat. April 23). That piece was informed by similar ironies.)
This article, "America: A Peek at the Past You're Repeating" addresses more serious consequences of being unaware of social developments since the early 20th century. It is clear that, at least locally, there is the very same lack of awareness about music development since those same times. The very subject of those music developments of the 20th century, both sonically and lyrically, were mostly about liberation, human and civil rights, and class problems. Music is a mirror for what is going on in its culture, and it can't fail to be, although sometimes you have to be shrewd to see it clearly because the messages can be deeply masked (even from the performers.) Right now, on all music fronts and genres there seem to be two main strains
It's here. The recording you've been waiting for...
Get it while it's hot! Available for instant download on...
Jonathan Freilich with
01 The Asphalt is Harsh, Where's The Grass 1 by moroller
Aurora Nealand has a new recording out. GO BUY IT!...
[This is not a review. I will get to that in a different way shortly, hopefully in an audio interview with Aurora Nealand.]
I am never sure why people are doing re-creations but it does seem that at the moment many listeners like music dripping with nostalgia for a bygone time. It's almost as though they need to be able to envision others than themselves and add in a few extra-musical elements besides the presented sounds by the musicians in front of them; seemingly seeking information about what people wore; what they ate; how they danced; what they drank. What is the necessity for the extra cultural baggage?
Perhaps, and this is just a thought, that to be with the unpredictability of what is in the present might have to mean that what any one person, listener, player, or group in a room might do is a little scary; it might require forming one's own opinion and coming up with a response.
Watching behavior in relation to the arts, music included, can be very indicative of the of shifting social dynamics in groups. It appears, looking into the preponderance of imitators of past style [and even businesses that promote it] that we may be going through a sort of regressive phase relative to those times of jazz creators such as Sidney Bechet. Both audiences and musicians now strike me as a little afraid of their own, unbridled self expression; as if it had less validity. In these times it's as though people are afraid of their own shadows where shadows are perhaps passions, impulses, desires, attractions; their own animal. Can this be where we are at 100 years after Freud, vanguard art, jazz, and a whole world of stuff that seems like it was there to tear the very underwear off the Victorians.
Paradoxes jump up when making comparisons between the earlier 20th century artists that created those musical inventions that are known as jazz, and their modern worshippers. Bechet for instance, was a huge, bold, figure and you can still hear it in his sound from the recordings. He is New Orleans saxophonist number one and embodies all that goes with that; a trademark sound, innovation, critical and rebellious personality, excitement no matter what the cost. He was even the saxophonist and clarinet player that Ellington most wanted for his own orchestra but he was turned down, allegedly because Bechet felt he could do it just fine himself and, listening to Bechet's recording of The Mooche would not lead one to disagree. Bechet's refusal is how Ellington came to hire Johnny Hodges and, luckily, that refusal, in hindsight, wasn't harmful. In fact, it was a classic case of serendipity for Ellington and for