Swamp Stomp At Nicholls State University

Spring is officially here in South Louisiana when we’re back to dancing outside.  One of the first events marking Spring this year is the Swamp Stomp at Nicholls State University. Swamp Stomp Festival vendor poster

The line-up has a nice array of both Cajun and Zydeco performers and even a little sampling of Swamp Pop.  Some are people that you can catch on a regular or semi-regular basis here in New Orleans – Bruce Daigrepont at Tipitina’s on Sunday evenings, Geno Delafose and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, or Waylon Thibodeaux on Bourbon Street.  Most of the rest are easier to find to the west of us.  Chubby Carrier tours extensively, so he’s not even as accessible in South Louisiana.

The drive’s not too far – a comfortable day trip about an hour and twenty minutes down U.S. Highway 90.  If you’ve never been, it’s a good chance to see the countryside down in the bayou.

If you want to join in the dancing (everybody does) but feel intimidated by your lack of smooth moves, they’ll even have dance lessons by Cajun-Zydeco Dance Productions.

Go pass a good time and celebrate the end of this miserable Winter.

“Oh, Lady Be Good” – Film: Instrumental Women In Jazz

… and it’s FREE!

The film is showing at Loyola University – Thursday, March 13th, at 7:30 P.M.  A 7:00 P.M. reception precedes it.


This One’s Only Going To Happen Once

What do Gregg Allman, Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint, Widespread Panic, Ryan Bingham, Lucinda Williams, George Porter Jr., Cyrille Neville, ‘Zigaboo’ Modeliste, Jimmie Vaughn, Irma Thomas, Tab Benoit, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Chief Monk Boudreaux, the Dirty Dozen (Brass) Band, Bill Kreutzmann, Chuck Leavell, Shannon McNally, Sarah Morrow, Anders Osborne, and Don Was all have in common?

On May 3rd, they are all (ALL) going to be performing on the same night in the Saenger Theatre for a Dr. John tribute concert.  These concerts by accretion are always a little risky.  They can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience or just a chaotic mess.  On this one, I’m going with the former.  Don Was is the bandleader, so that should be a positive sign.  Plus, it’s in the Saenger TheatreSaenger Theatre interior which elevates almost everything that’s situated there.

So, what’s the downside?  Well, this one’s gonna cost ya.  The nosebleed seats start at $95 and the most expensive tickets on the floor are $550.

Tickets went on sale today at 10:00 A.M.  In spite of the price, there’s probably going to be lots of competition from the Jazz Fest crowd that’s in town that weekend.

St. Paul & the Broken Bones At One-Eyed Jacks

OK, let’s cut right to the chase.  If you have the chance to see St. Paul & the Broken Bones, just go.  It doesn’t matter if it conflicts with your mom’s third wedding or your favorite sports team is in the play-offs in the home stadium that same night.  If you wait ’til after they start showing up on Conan’s show (which is inevitable), then you’ll be paying more money to stand behind a tall person in the back of a way-too-large venue … or worse, it’ll be outside at some festival where the bleed from an adjacent stage will make you crazy.  (Are you listening, Jazz Fest?)

Treat yourself and just go see them now.

Fortunately, those of us in New Orleans were treated to a killer show last night at One-Eyed JacksSt. Paul and the Broken Bones at One-Eyed Jacks It was old school soul from seven young white guys that look like they’re on Summer break from architecture school … or maybe sneaking out on their Mormon mission stint.  The reality is that they are based in Birmingham Alabama and are continuing to propagate that state’s great roots music tradition.  Check out a clip or two.  They don’t need me to sell ’em.  They do it really well all by themselves.

There’s a lot that I like about this band.  The songs are short – very few solos and no attempt to try to pad them.  When they play, the rhythm section faces towards each other – the guitarist and bass player, in particular turned toward each other and the drummer.  The show’s important, but being locked in is more important.

There were also several things that surprised me.  The tunes are more guitar driven than I expected – themes, intros, transitions, and the like.  They also messed with the meter a little, but not in ways that distracted from the song – dropping or adding a half measure in what would nominally be common time.  Their horn section also doesn’t contain a woodwind instrument – just trumpet and (bass) trombone.  There was no seemingly ubiquitous tenor saxophone.

… also have to do a shout out to One-Eyed JacksOne-Eyed Jacks inside bar I love the venue and the price can’t be beat.  It’s a converted theater (used to be the Toulouse Street Theatre, original resident venue for “One Mo’ Time”) that still has the sloping floor.  There is a small amount of seating but mostly it’s packed in standing.  If you get there early, the inside bar has seats that allow you to still view the stage.

Last night’s concert had a $12 cover and included Kristin Diable as an opener.  That’s almost as good a bargain as the Alabama Shakes concert they had – $10 cover that included both Hurray For The Riff Raff and another opening band.  Ya gotta love a place that brings in excellent roots music on the rise and let’s you keep some money to spend at the bar.

My thanks to Nashville connections for making last night’s concert the experience that it was.  My buddy Kurt alerted me to them after they appeared in Nashville.  Shannon Williford (of Delicious Blues Stew) was in town and provided some delightful company at the concert.  This Americana Music Triangle is a real thing.

Louisiana Music Factory Grand Opening

If it broke your heart that you missed the 20% off moving sale when Louisiana Music Factory left their old location on Decatur Street, there is yet redLouisiana Music Factoryemption for you!  Today (Saturday, March 8th) is their grand opening at their new location.  Not only are they having the same 20% off sale, you can shop while listening to a wonderfully diverse array of in-store performances – Johnny Sansone, the Iguanas, Eric Lindell, and Tuba Skinny.  Check out Offbeat Magazine for more details.

“20 Feet From Stardom” Oscar Win

Congratulations to the creative team behind “20 Feet From Stardom” for their recent Oscar win.  It’s a fantastic movie – great to see the recognition.

We had first posted about the movie back in the Summer when its release was more current.  Maybe this latest recognition will put it back in the theaters for those that missed it the first time around.

Mardi Gras Music – Donald Harrison, Jr.

Throw together a few New Orleans musical stalwarts, run through several standards, and then “Indians, here they come!”  Top it off with a couple of Mardi Gras Indians fronting the band doing Iko-Iko and Hey, Pocky Way and it’s an excellent way to celebrate the Carnival season. Donald Harrison, Jr. band It ain’t Nouveau Swing, but it was pretty darn good.

The occasion was the re-scheduled Donald Harrison, Jr. concert at the U.S. Mint – maybe on a more apropos date now that it’s deeper into Carnival.  It’s always a treat to hear Harrison and the space on the third floor of the Mint is just about perfect – excellent acoustics and audio, a medium-sized space that feels intimate, and good sight lines pretty much from anywhere.Donald Harrison, Jr. without Indians

For those not familiar with Harrison, he’s a world-class jazz alto saxophonist with a very eclectic style and deep (deep!) ties to our local Mardi Gras Indian culture.  His father (Sr.) was the chief of the Guardians of the Flame.  Not only is it not a surprise that we would be seeing some Indians at a New Orleans based concert of his, it probably would’ve been a disappointment if they had not shown up.

His Nouveau Swing brand is terrific, mixing “modern dance music like r&b, hip-hop, soul, rock, and combin{ing} jazz with Afro-New Orleans traditional music”.

The Harrison’s family and their tradition were the inspiration for a pair of father and son characters on the recently concluded HBO’s TremeAlbert Lambreaux, chief of the Guardians of the Flame, and Delmond Lambreaux, his jazz trumpet playing son.  As you may have noticed, the Mardi Gras Indian tribe identified in the show is the same as that of the Harrisons.  It’s not a coincidence.  They modelled the Lambreaux family after the Harrisons.  Donald Harrison, Jr. even appears as a sideman on the show in Delmond Lambreaux’s band!

Come join us on the “Jazz On The Rocks” tour and maybe we’ll explore a little more of Harrison in the larger context of jazz from New Orleans.

Appreciating Lorenzo Tio

Thanks to Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center,Ashe' Cultural Arts Center this past Tuesday we were treated to a great narrative and musical examples of the influence of Lorenzo Tio, Jr.  Dr. Michael White provided the lecture and led the band that demonstrated the music.

Tio was a clarinetist from a musical family with deep roots in New Orleans.  Although the family spent some time in Mexico, they actually trace their lineage back to Spain by way of New Orleans.  Tio was a master clarinetist that played on the older Albert system.  Not primarily a jazz musician himself, he taught an incredible array of New Orleans jazz clarinetists – Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard, Johnny Dodds, and many others.  He himself recorded with Bechet, as well as ‘Jelly Roll’ Morton and Clarence Williams.

Tribute To Pete Seeger: Monday, February 10th – 7:30-10:00 P.M. At The Neutral Ground Coffeehouse

Pete’s gone but not forgotten.  Tonight will be a chance to show how much we miss him.  Neutral Ground Coffeehouse - website pageThe line-up includes some of the folk and acoustic music icons of New Orleans and the odd ringer or two that’s more representative of his activist side – Hazel & the Delta Ramblers, Gina Forsyth, Pat Flory, Gallivan Burwell, Tom Piazza, Mary Howell, and more.  (That appears to be Gina playing with Pat in the video link.)  I’ll be dragging out some percussion to see who will let me join in on the fun!  If you want to join us, the address is 5110 Danneel St., New Orleans, La. 70115.

Bon Operatit! At The Four Points Sheraton In The Quarter

Just in time for Valentine’s Day Bon Operatit! is back at the Puccini Bar in the Four Points Sheraton with a theme of “I Do!”.  Come hoist a glass and listen to opera where New Orleanians of all classes went to see the popular entertainment of the 19th century.  The Old French Opera House, now the site of the Sheraton, was the place to be over a century ago.  If you want to have more fun than you can imagine listening to opera and do it with a refreshing adult beverage in your hand, be there this Wednesday starting at 7:00 P.M.  Maybe they’ll even have a sing-along!