Monday, October 25, 2010

Traditional music gets a youthful boost

Palmetto Bug Stompers at DBA
One of my first dates in college took me to Preservation Hall. I don't remember my escort at all, but I do remember the dark, dusty den where we sat on the floor, listening to traditional jazz music.

I was in awe of the musicians and also wondered if the saxophone player would even make it through the set. They were all very old. Sweet Emma Barrett was on piano and she was born in 1897! And there was only one white guy. I couldn't help but wonder who would replace them when they passed away?

But sho' nuff, they have been replaced. There's a whole new batch of musicians of every race and age and even new female vocalists, warbling those great old songs with new vigor. You can hear them at various clubs along Frenchmen Street, most any night of the week.

Rites of Spring at Spotted Cat
I was on Frenchmen this evening for my Monday night Lindy-Hop class and by 9 p.m., Maison, DBA, Spotted Cat and Muses were all full. There are a few other bars, but I didn't check them all out for this little story.

Glam Jayna Morgan
NOCCA - the New Orleans magnet high school for the arts, Loyola's Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and Tipitina's Foundation have helped spawn a new generation of musicians. Of course, the music clubs keep them actively playing and they love that too. Most of them play in multiple bands, even more than one gig the same night. I spoke to Robert Shaw, a stand up base player, the other day, and he plays in six bands: Palmetto Bug Stompers, Cottonmouth Kings and Loose Marbles, among others.

I heard a band Sunday night at BMC and the lead singer sounded just like Dr. John, but less gravely.

I've always loved the old music. My childhood friend Nancy used to call me Arthur Godfrey because I knew the old tunes when I was just a kid. But, see? I was just ahead of the trend.

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