― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 23 September 2005 16:36 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 23 September 2005 19:30 (7 years ago) Permalink
"But the musicians from New Orleans - among them the Neville Brothers, the original Meters, Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band - outsang and outfunked most of the better-known stars. The programming was smart: New Orleans musicians had the first and last words, in the form of parade music from the Rebirth Brass Band.
New Orleans music, from jazz to hip-hop (which wasn't represented at the concert), has a distinctive rolling swing that's directly derived from community celebrations. It's deeply connected to Mardi Gras songs (like "Iko Iko" and "Brother John," which the Dixie Cups sang on Tuesday night, and "Hey Pocky Way" performed by the Meters and the Neville Brothers) and brass-band music for funerals and parades.
Famously musical New Orleans neighborhoods like Tremé and the Ninth Ward were hit hard by the flooding; how they will be rebuilt, and who will return, is still an open question and one that worries New Orleans musicians. "Nothing's going to be the same," said Ms. Thomas, the 64-year-old queen of New Orleans rhythm and blues. "But by the same token, what ever is? The main thing is to bring everybody back, because that's the ambience of the city."
But for the moment, it didn't matter that the performers' homes and neighborhoods have been damaged. They were executing the old African-American alchemy of tribulation into joy.
The politics of New Orleans's plight were not entirely sidelined. Bette Midler said, "I could stand up here and talk for hours about ineptitude, stupidity, blame, inequality, global warming, the dangerous destruction of the wetlands, but if I did, what would all those other people have to talk about?" She was loudly booed after mocking President Bush. Former President Bill Clinton, who introduced Mr. Fogerty, received a long ovation.
Cyril Neville, of the Neville Brothers, wore a T-shirt reading, "Ethnic cleansing in New Orleans"; his brother Aaron wore a baseball cap reading, "Evacuee." And when the Meters sang "People Say," their bassist, George Porter Jr., said, "People want to know - do we have a right to live?"
Backstage, Ms. Thomas said that both her house and the club she owns, the Lion's Den, were badly flooded. "We're among the New Orleans easters who lost everything," she said. "But we're gonna be all right." Onstage, backed by Ry Cooder, Lenny Kravitz and Buckwheat Zydeco, she sang a riveting, unsparing version of Bessie Smith's "Backwater Blues": "When it thunders and lightnin' and the wind begins to blow/ There's thousands of people ain't got no place to go."
Aaron Neville joined Simon and Garfunkel for "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and he followed Art Garfunkel's rickety, overwrought verse with one that was tender, idiosyncratic and delicately poised; later, with his brothers, he sang a humbly devout "Amazing Grace." The Meters, who defined New Orleans funk in their own songs and as a studio band, regrouped for one song, then merged with the Neville Brothers (who include Art Neville of the Meters). And Kermit Ruffins, a trumpeter and singer, growled a steamy "St. James Infirmary" with the Dirty Dozen.
Louisiana musicians also propelled strong performances by non-natives. Elvis Costello belted "The Monkey Speaks His Mind" with the Dirty Dozen and the song's writer, Dave Bartholomew, and found the scorn and vitriol in Allen Toussaint's "On Your Way Down," with Mr. Toussaint at the piano. Diana Krall, also with the Dirty Dozen, dug into the Fats Domino hit "I'm Walkin'." And with Buckwheat Zydeco, from Lafayette, on accordion, Mr. Cooder sang another Domino song, "My Girl Josephine," with a knowing rasp.
The longest segments went to the rock stars. Mr. Fogerty......An unexpected consequence of the hurricane is that it has focused attention on New Orleans's music, with all its local quirks and underappreciated genius. Ms. Thomas, for instance, is recording an album while she's in New York. With luck, the sounds of New Orleans will remind the world that rebuilding the Crescent City is not only a commercial project but also a cultural one. "
― steve-k, Saturday, 24 September 2005 17:35 (7 years ago) Permalink
Regarding media attention for New Orleans bands--It is sad it Katrina to get attention, but it's also sad it took Katrina to get some New Orleans groups on the road. Some of the press is happening now because some of the groups are touring the U.S. for the first time. The artists also need to get the word out. Somebody needs to set up or update a website for the Lil' Stooges Brass band. Texas Fred Carter, according to an e-mail I got, is booking Lil' Stooges at Chick Hall's, outside D.C., but the show is not yet on the club's website. The band deserves media ink in the nation's capital, but somebody's got to spread the word.
― steve k, Sunday, 25 September 2005 01:47 (7 years ago) Permalink
― steve k, Sunday, 25 September 2005 02:12 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Steve K (Steve K), Sunday, 25 September 2005 14:39 (7 years ago) Permalink
Mantra for New Orleans: 'We Will Swing Again' By DAVID CARR, N.Y. Times
NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 25 - In many American cities, indigenous culture is a bonus amenity, an add-on to the business and civic functions of the metropolis. Here, though, the first and last conversation you have will be about where you went, what you ate, who you heard play. The people who make music, who perform cabaret - and those who pour the whiskey that accompany the shows - are precisely the point here, and they play big for their size. If there is no show, there is no New Orleans.
"We will swing again in that place," Kermit Ruffins said by phone from Houston, where he went when Hurricane Katrina came. Mr. Ruffins is a trumpeter beyond compare, the crowned emperor of the New Orleans sound, who cooks red beans and rice and plays with his band, the Barbecue Swingers, every Thursday down at Vaughn's, in the Bywater section of the upper Ninth Ward. A flashlight aimed at Vaughn's last Thursday night revealed an intact building - and a big mess to go with it. "Could be six months, could be eight, could be a year," Mr. Ruffins said, "but I can't wait to get there and throw the grand reopening party on the new New Orleans. Count on that."
Workers interviewed this week up and down the high-low culture scale echoed Mr. Ruffins's optimism to a person. The message they sent from near and far was the same: This wounded city will heal itself show by show, and gig by gig, because culture - ribald, prissy and everything in between - is the nub around which the whole ball of yarn is wound. New Orleans without zydeco, without jazz, without theater, without nude dancers and orchestra players, is just a swamp town with hot summers, bad schools and a lot of mosquitoes. If this city is to return, it will do so on the backs of the artists who make it a place like nowhere else.
Mark Samuels, the owner of Basin Street Records, said as much. His small New Orleans label is the home to Mr. Ruffins, Los Hombres Calientes and Dr. Michael White. Mr. Samuels spent last week sneaking into the city from his temporary headquarters in Austin, Tex., to grab CD's so his artists would have something to peddle at their shows. Sitting at his brother's house in Metairie outside New Orleans last week, he showed pictures of his house in Lakewood South - a total loss by the looks of it - and shared his hopes and worries about the future.
"You can redo Bourbon Street anywhere in the world," Mr. Samuels said. "All you have to do is let people drink on the street, expose themselves on balconies and open a bunch of T-shirt shops. But New Orleans is a lot more than that. There is nowhere else in the world where you can head out to the Maple Leaf and hear the Rebirth Brass Band. That can't be recreated somewhere else."
Still, many New Orleans artists are now at large, playing for big audiences elsewhere. The Rebirth Brass Band tore the roof off in New York the other night as part of a benefit, and the Olympia Brass Band is setting out on tour from Phoenix. But while the money may be good, the tours will not be successful unless they end in New Orleans, where the rents were cheap and the clubs ample.
Many of those clubs made it through. Tipitina's is fine, for example, and Preservation Hall endures. As for the Rock n' Bowl, where the crash of pins mixed with the twang of a plucked guitar, John Blancher, who owns and runs the place, would like to reopen, but is also looking into some properties in nearby Lafayette. The club on the second floor is fine. But beneath it is mayhem, the result of eight feet of water rolling strikes for a week.
"I expect to reoccupy it," Mr. Blancher said. "From the outside, you would never want to even walk in there, but the inside is fine."
The insides of New Orleans seem great. The soul of the place, now dispersed, continues to thrive. The body is a hurting unit, though.
Dr. Ike - Ira Padnos to those who don't know him - is a medical doctor and a local scenester, the kind of man who embodies New Orleans's glorious, weird vibe. An anesthesiologist who worked through the storm at the Louisiana State University's hospital, he is now performing cultural triage in his role as executive director of the Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau. He won't say this - modesty is a persistent feature of the local milieu - but both his jobs will play a role in putting the paddles on the stilled heart of New Orleans. The Mystic Knights run the Ponderosa Stomp, a roots music festival that runs concurrently with the city's giant Jazzfest - "all killer, no filler" is its advertising cry - and serves as a reminder that much American music started and persists here. Reluctantly, the Knights have decided to move the Stomp to Memphis this year, for a benefit show, which is fine, but it is not New Orleans.
Many of the cities cultural treasures were not flooded, Mr. Padnos said. But for New Orleans to return, he added, "depends on people - the waiters, the musicians, the Indians - who live in the Ninth Ward, the Seventh Ward and Tremé, all of which were hit hard by the flooding. You need those people to come back to drive the city's culture."
It is still unclear what exactly they will be returning to, if they return. For instance, somewhere in the basement of the Orpheum Theater here there are 10 timpani drums floating in the muck and mire. At some point, Jim Atwood, the owner of the drums and a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, will retrieve his equipment - likely ruined - and assess his future. But he is not expecting anything approaching normal anytime soon.
"Normal, when you are talking about New Orleans, is always a relative term," Mr. Atwood said. He and his wife, a flutist in the orchestra, said they have not really come to terms with what happened to the city and what it means for them.
"We have yet to have that conversation out loud," he said. "But when we do, I think it is likely we will conclude that New Orleans is where our home is, and hopefully our jobs as well."
The jobs may be there, but what many culture workers in New Orleans would like is an audience.
"Art here comes up from the streets," said Barbara Motley, who owns Le Chat Noir, a cabaret on St. Charles Avenue left relatively undamaged by the storms. "The city failed a lot of the people who live here and I think they will be slow in coming back, with good reason."
"On the other hand, this is New Orleans," she added, "so I would not be surprised if people decide they need a laugh and a show. We'll see, won't we?"
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
― steve-k, Monday, 26 September 2005 12:12 (7 years ago) Permalink
― curmudgeon, Monday, 26 September 2005 12:24 (7 years ago) Permalink
Sept 26-27 NYC @ Living Room and BarbesSept 29 Milwaukee, WI @ HighburySept 30 Madison, WI @ Great DaneOct 1 Baraboo, WI @ Tha ShackOct 2 Green Bay, WI @ MalonesOct 4 Iowa City @ Iowa City Yacht ClubOct 5 St. Louis @ Broadway Oyster BarOct 9 Madison, WI @ King Club (w/Digdown and Youngblood Brass Band)Oct 10 Chicago, IL @ Fitzgeralds (w/Mama Digdown's Brass Band)Oct 14 Wash D.C. @ Surf ClubOct 15 Arlington, VA @ festival (??)
If y'all have the means and the interest, any promotion will be greatly appreciated.
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 26 September 2005 19:13 (7 years ago) Permalink
Anybody with any Philly contacts or ideas for last-minute gigs there?
― steve k, Monday, 26 September 2005 22:24 (7 years ago) Permalink
I do not think they have gigs yet for the 12th and 13th. I think they're looking for gigs between Chicago and D.C., such as in Philadelphia.
― steve k, Wednesday, 28 September 2005 14:19 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 28 September 2005 15:31 (7 years ago) Permalink
― steve k, Wednesday, 28 September 2005 15:38 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 28 September 2005 22:03 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 28 September 2005 22:26 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Steve K (Steve K), Thursday, 29 September 2005 03:26 (7 years ago) Permalink
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 29 September 2005 13:50 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 29 September 2005 20:57 (7 years ago) Permalink
I don't think the New York shows got much pre-press, but they split the bill with Slavic Soul Party who presumably have their own crowd.
Someone also sent me this bit of complete WTF-ness:
Lil' Stooges Brass Band | New Orleans JazzProductshop NYC — The Lil' Stooges Brass Band are a wonderfully gothic jazzoutfit that hail from New Orleans. These cats sound like they couldperfectly score a Tim Burton film. They're known as one of the hottestoutfits out the big easy.
― Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 29 September 2005 21:37 (7 years ago) Permalink
― steve k, Friday, 30 September 2005 10:18 (7 years ago) Permalink
So the New York press that missed the earlier shows may now have another shot.
― steve k, Wednesday, 5 October 2005 16:45 (7 years ago) Permalink
― strng hlkngtn: what does it mean? (dubplatestyle), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 18:55 (7 years ago) Permalink
The Stooges show in Madison was a blast, although they've certainly switched things up on this tour. Sammy, the snare drummer, is out on tour with Trombone Shorty so they got a drumset player (Christmas) in his stead. He just got off tour with Gerald Levert (!) and he's a bad motherfucker. They've also got some electric instruments now, so it's different but good. Can't wait for our shows together this weekend.
― Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 19:03 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 20:17 (7 years ago) Permalink
― jaymc (jaymc), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 20:22 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 20:25 (7 years ago) Permalink
I saw the below listed at the very cool home of the groove audio blog (which is featuring obscure James Booker selections). Not a brass band, but something folks in Southern Cal should check out:
October 20, 21, 22, 23, 2005Katrina Benefit Series featuring Eddie Bo and band, plus specialguests, such as Mickey Champion, atLittle Pedroâ€™s901 E. 1st St. (at Vignes)Los Angeles, CA 90012213-687-3766
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:26 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 6 October 2005 16:46 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 6 October 2005 17:41 (7 years ago) Permalink
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 6 October 2005 18:07 (7 years ago) Permalink
― jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 6 October 2005 18:11 (7 years ago) Permalink
Rebirth are playing DC twice, in addition to Baltimore and a NY show at B.B King's upscale place.
I still can't find Troy 'Trombone Shorty' Andrews tour listed anywhere.
― steve k, Friday, 7 October 2005 17:03 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Steve K (Steve K), Sunday, 9 October 2005 14:46 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Sunday, 9 October 2005 15:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Steve K (Steve K), Monday, 10 October 2005 01:11 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 10 October 2005 13:34 (7 years ago) Permalink
― steve k, Friday, 14 October 2005 12:20 (7 years ago) Permalink
Did the Stooges Brass Band ever get another NY date for Sunday?
― steve k, Friday, 14 October 2005 12:23 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pete Scholtes, Friday, 14 October 2005 20:00 (7 years ago) Permalink
Did the Stooges Brass Band ever get another NY date for Sunday?
I'm not sure, I'll check tonight.
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 14 October 2005 20:10 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 14 October 2005 20:11 (7 years ago) Permalink
The New York Times
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2005 New Orleans strikes up the band By Shaila Dewan NEW ORLEANS It would not be fair to say the music ever totally evacuated this city of jazz, where even in the darkest hours a lone harmonica player or a busker serenaded empty balconies. But on Sunday, it began its grand re-entrance, with the first jazz funeral procession to take place since Hurricane Katrina. The brass band, reunited from across the country, toted donated instruments. The procession leaders wore salvaged bits of their traditional funeral finery. Just after 2 p.m. on the corner of North Broad and St. Bernard, the strains of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" streamed past the heaps of stinking garbage and fallen roofs like milk and honey and sweet Abita beer, a flash of grandeur and ritual that hearkened to a New Orleans past and, many in the crowd swore, future. Mourners carrying pictures of the chef Austin Leslie, a New Orleans legend who died in Atlanta last month after being rescued from his attic during the flood, followed behind with the measured step of brides moving down the aisle. But the procession was not for Leslie alone. "This is the first opportunity we had to show the whole spirit of New Orleans," said Gralen Banks, whose yellow shirt and hatband showed his membership in the Black Men of Labor, one of the social and pleasure clubs for whom the jazz parades are a cherished tradition. "And we're not going to pass it up for love or money." Symbolically, the procession reclaimed a city occupied by out-of-towners, passing like an apparition past soldiers in camouflage and workers in hard hats. Most jazz funerals begin with a dirge-like tempo, with the band following a caisson or hearse to the cemetery. After the mourners "cut loose the body," as people here say, the procession turns into a celebration, winding through the streets, playing in the funky style invented in, and still largely the sole province of, New Orleans. This time, things were improvised. Leslie, whose name was synonymous with fried chicken for generations of New Orleans residents and whose restaurant inspired the 1980s television series "Frank's Place," had his funeral Friday in Atlanta. He was cremated because he could not be buried in New Orleans, and his relatives plan to bring his ashes here when they return. So the procession became a cross between a true jazz funeral and a secular "second-line" parade, conducted by the social clubs every week during second-line season, Labor Day through Mardi Gras. At a second-line, spectators and parade are one and the same, with the brass bands leading long lines of dancers through the neighborhoods, stopping along the way at favorite watering holes. Labor Day weekend this year would have marked the Prince of Wales club's 77th annual parade, said Joe Stern, a member. "Without second-line, there is no Louis Armstrong, there is no Idris Muhammad, there's no Wynton Marsalis," Stern said, ticking off some of the city's jazz greats. The procession began at Pampy's Creole Kitchen, where Leslie worked in his final years, with Banks and other members of his club leading the way. The procession was far smaller than usual, but residents who had ventured home to start cleaning their property were overjoyed to see a critical piece of the city's identity restored. On La Harpe Street, Mildred Matthews, 79, came out on her porch, dancing and waving a soiled orange fly swatter as if it were a silk banner. "Y'all come back home to New Orleans!" she yelled. Her sister, Genevieve Neustadter, a retired teacher who moved home to New Orleans in June and lost everything, shouted into her cellphone: "A second-line parade passing. Call me back." Both the sisters knew Leslie, had eaten in his restaurants. But a funeral was not what came to Matthews's mind. "I thought it was a welcome home," she said. "I'm back and I'm back to stay." Six of the nine members of the band, the Hot 8, had come for the day - Bennie Pete, the leader, from Atlanta, Big Al, the trumpeter, from Baton Rouge, a guy named Swamp from "somewhere in Alabama." They were joined by Charles Joseph, a trombonist. The band manager, Lee Arnold, was handing out fliers for his "Save Our Brass!" campaign to help musicians get back on their feet. In the next week, he said, the band would travel to shelters to play for evacuees. But for now, they were home, doing what they do best. "They were upset about how the city looked," Arnold said. "But when they start hittin' - when they start playing music - that's when the smiles come out." As the second-line approached the concrete slab where Chez Helene, Leslie's restaurant, once stood, the music slowed again. A poster bearing a photograph of Leslie - wearing a white ship captain's hat, surrounded by photographs of shrimp dishes and garlic cloves - was propped up in the middle of the street. Next to it, another poster read "We won't bow down. Save our soul. 10/9/05." celebration, winding through the streets, playing in the funky style invented in, and still largely the sole province of, New Orleans. This time, things were improvised. Leslie, whose name was synonymous with fried chicken for generations of New Orleans residents and whose restaurant inspired the 1980s television series "Frank's Place," had his funeral Friday in Atlanta. He was cremated because he could not be buried in New Orleans, and his relatives plan to bring his ashes here when they return. So the procession became a cross between a true jazz funeral and a secular "second-line" parade, conducted by the social clubs every week during second-line season, Labor Day through Mardi Gras. At a second-line, spectators and parade are one and the same, with the brass bands leading long lines of dancers through the neighborhoods, stopping along the way at favorite watering holes. Labor Day weekend this year would have marked the Prince of Wales club's 77th annual parade, said Joe Stern, a member. "Without second-line, there is no Louis Armstrong, there is no Idris Muhammad, there's no Wynton Marsalis," Stern said, ticking off some of the city's jazz greats. The procession began at Pampy's Creole Kitchen, where Leslie worked in his final years, with Banks and other members of his club leading the way. The procession was far smaller than usual, but residents who had ventured home to start cleaning their property were overjoyed to see a critical piece of the city's identity restored. On La Harpe Street, Mildred Matthews, 79, came out on her porch, dancing and waving a soiled orange fly swatter as if it were a silk banner. "Y'all come back home to New Orleans!" she yelled. Her sister, Genevieve Neustadter, a retired teacher who moved home to New Orleans in June and lost everything, shouted into her cellphone: "A second-line parade passing. Call me back." Both the sisters knew Leslie, had eaten in his restaurants. But a funeral was not what came to Matthews's mind. "I thought it was a welcome home," she said. "I'm back and I'm back to stay." Six of the nine members of the band, the Hot 8, had come for the day - Bennie Pete, the leader, from Atlanta, Big Al, the trumpeter, from Baton Rouge, a guy named Swamp from "somewhere in Alabama." They were joined by Charles Joseph, a trombonist. The band manager, Lee Arnold, was handing out fliers for his "Save Our Brass!" campaign to help musicians get back on their feet. In the next week, he said, the band would travel to shelters to play for evacuees. But for now, they were home, doing what they do best. "They were upset about how the city looked," Arnold said. "But when they start hittin' - when they start playing music - that's when the smiles come out." As the second-line approached the concrete slab where Chez Helene, Leslie's restaurant, once stood, the music slowed again. A poster bearing a photograph of Leslie - wearing a white ship captain's hat, surrounded by photographs of shrimp dishes and garlic cloves - was propped up in the middle of the street. Next to it, another poster read "We won't bow down. Save our soul. 10/9/05."
― Steve K (Steve K), Saturday, 15 October 2005 03:13 (7 years ago) Permalink
By MICHAEL TISSERAND(Gambit editor and author of the book Kingdom of Zydeco) http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Currents/Content?oid=74104
"....On Sunday, Oct. 9, the city of New Orleans had its first of what is sure to be many jazz funerals. A second-line honored chef Austin Leslie, who died of a heart attack in Atlanta during the evacuation. The Hot 8 Brass Band played, and a few members of the Black Men of Labor danced. But they were outnumbered by journalists from The New Yorker, The New York Times, CNN, CBS, The Associated Press and others in search of a symbol of regeneration. As the band passed, workers in hazmat suits stood on the sidewalk and stared.
I'm like all those other journalists. I'm looking for a sign, too. Something to tell me that we're going to pass the test. I haven't found it yet. Maybe it's too soon. Maybe we just need to start the rebuild without one."
― Steve K (Steve K), Saturday, 15 October 2005 03:42 (7 years ago) Permalink
Blogger Chuck Taggart posted this intro paragraph for a Keith Spera article on Dr. Michael White and all the historic objects and cds this jazz musician and professor lost:
The heartbreak continues. I guess I didn't post this as the lead because I felt we needed a drink first. As bad as our own experiences were, and as bad as they are for tens of thousands of people, you hear stories like this and it makes your head want to explode. I'm not sure we'll ever be able to truly get over the loss to the city of New Orleans, particularly when reading about people like Dr. Michael White, one of my favorite jazz musicians.
Saturday, October 22, 2005By Keith SperaMusic writer New Orleans Times-Picayune
Jazz clarinetist Michael White returned to his Gentilly home on Friday for first time since Hurricane Katrina and confronted a desolate tableau: beige bricks stained and striped by 6 feet of water; a front door branded with the bright orange and red marks of search teams; dead grass and demolished trees.
"It reminds me of one of those 'Twilight Zone' episodes," White said as he approached the door, "where I'll go in and find my own body."
Instead, he found his body of work, his valuable jazz artifacts and his personal treasures -- now decimated by water and mold.
For White, jazz is life; his instruments, family. He leads the traditional Original Liberty Jazz Band and is a respected scholar of New Orleans music and culture. He occupied an endowed chair at Xavier University, published meticulously researched articles and biographies, and lectured on topics ranging from Congo Square to the early history of New Orleans brass bands.
He lived alone in the 5200 block of Pratt Street, surrounded by jazz music, books and artifacts. The night before Katrina struck, he fled to Houston with several vintage instruments, among them the model for the giant clarinet mural outside the downtown Holiday Inn.
But he left behind 40 others, including a clarinet owned by King Oliver sideman Paul Barnes.
[...] Picking through debris in the ruins of his house, he found little to salvage. Outfitted with a mask and green rubber gloves, he stepped gingerly over a pile of jazz magazines just inside the door, now reduced to pulp. He spotted the remains of a new two-volume encyclopedia documenting the Harlem jazz renaissance, to which he contributed five biographies.
To the right hung a framed smudge, what was once a rare 1960s Bob Coke photograph of jazz bassist "Papa" John Joseph, a distant relative of White's. Joseph died of a heart attack onstage at Preservation Hall in 1965, reportedly after performing "When the Saints Go Marching In."
"No matter what had happened during the day, I'd look at that picture, and it gave me strength," White said. "It was the most beautiful picture I'd seen of Papa John. Wherever you went in the room, those eyes followed you. There was wisdom, but also truth."
Inside a waterlogged closet lay White's collection of vintage wooden instruments. He couldn't open the warped door.
"I don't know if I want to," he said. "That would be like (finding) relatives."
His casualties included more than 4,000 CDs and LPs. And there were as many books and a vast trove of research material, including primary source documents, voluminous notes and taped interviews with musicians. He had original sheet music from Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.
Also gone are a set of banjo strings played by legendary jazz raconteur Danny Barker; a medal appointing White to the Chevalier rank in the French Order of Arts and Letters; snapshots with the late jazz legend Kid Thomas Valentine and President Clinton; and a 1993 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival poster autographed by artist John Scott.
Accompanying him Friday were a cameraman and writer Jason Berry, who is directing a documentary about jazz funerals that features White. Berry marveled at the scale of the loss, both to White personally and to jazz scholarship in general.
"Not that many people carry the history and culture like Michael does," Berry said. "It's the way Louis Armstrong did, the way Danny Barker did, the way Wynton Marsalis does. They are those rare players who rise to another plateau and become more than musicians. That's why it's so heartbreaking to see his loss."
Berry carted soggy artifacts to the porch: a painting of legendary clarinetist George Lewis, one of White's heroes. A sketch from Africa. Framed album artwork from Bunk Johnson's "Brass and Dance Band" and the Young Tuxedo Brass Band's "Jazz Begins."
"Michael, I think some of this can be salvaged."
"At this point," White said, "I'm trying to figure out if I can be salvaged." "I tried very hard to picture what this would be like, but you can't begin to imagine. The hard part is that there's a lot of history here that can't be replaced. It's all gone. I'm overwhelmed. I wouldn't know where to start."
Since evacuating, White has lived in a Houston hotel, exiled with his aunt, sister, nephew and elderly mother. Early on, he wondered if he could find work in Houston. He eventually landed a Sunday jazz brunch gig at a restaurant called Tommy's Seafood Steakhouse.
He is hunting for an apartment in Houston. But if Xavier University reopens in January, he wants to return. For now, he's written two "positive, upbeat" songs about a restored New Orleans.
And he takes comfort in the message of the jazz funeral, in which the spirit of the deceased is cut loose to enjoy a better life. Death, followed by rebirth.
"I have to keep remembering that," he said. "That's what gives us the courage to carry on."
― Steve K (Steve K), Wednesday, 26 October 2005 03:28 (7 years ago) Permalink
On November 18th & 19th, Galactic's "10-Year Invasion Fall Tour" tour will culminate with a pair of unique performances at Washington DC's 9:30 Club. Dubbed "9:30 in New Orleans," these tour-ending shows will be a New Orleans style party featuring improvisational collaborations, a multitude of special guests and covers of classic material. Legendary vocalist and keyboardist Ivan Neville will make special appearances with Galactic throughout both nights, as will The Stooges Brass Band, who will also open the night of the 18th with a traditional, celebratory NOLA brass band show. The following evening will begin with a special performance by Robert Walter, who will be joined by Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio of Galactic.
― Steve K (Steve K), Wednesday, 26 October 2005 03:38 (7 years ago) Permalink
That Dr. White article, above, is another oh so sad tale.
― curmudgeon, Wednesday, 26 October 2005 11:51 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 26 October 2005 22:52 (7 years ago) Permalink
Speaking of Baltimore. I received the following in an e-mail:
HBO's The Wire is teaming up with Sonar to bring a little bit of New Orleans to Baltimore. The cast and crew of the show will all be on hand to help celebrate All Saint's Day with some of the Big Easy's best bands. All proceeds go to helping the victims of hurricane Katrina. (The ticket price is a tax deductible donation.)
The Wire & Associated Black Charities Present a Hurricane Katrina Benefit FAT TUESDAY HOODOO THROWDOWN featuring The Subdudes • Rebirth Brass Band • The Iguanas Hosted by Wendell "The Bunk" Pierce This Tuesday! November 1 @ Sonar • 407 E. Saratoga St., Baltimore, MD 6pm Doors • All Ages!
Advance tickets throught Ticketmaster.
(Yes Dusk we know it's not really Fat Tuesday).
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 27 October 2005 12:10 (7 years ago) Permalink
― curmudgeon, Thursday, 27 October 2005 19:10 (7 years ago) Permalink
― Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 27 October 2005 19:11 (7 years ago) Permalink