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Memo to Quint Davis April 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in 504, African Music, blues, Jazz, Jazz Fest, music, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Yesterday we pretty much planted ourselves at the Abita Stage at French Quarter Festival, with the idea that Mrs. Toulouse (nee’ Mrs. Wet) would really like to see Little Freddie King. (She was not disappointed).

All I could think of as I watched a parade of fine acts was that this is what Jazz and Heritage looks like. Casa Samba drew an estatic response from the crowd, who discovered a kindred set of booty shakers. And once the girls in the g-strings took the stage Boy suddenly lost interest in his phone’s video game and started paying attention.

We watched the Fatien Ensemble, organized by Dr. Micheal White and Jason Marsalis with superb African drummer Seguenone Kone merging jazz and African rhythms. (I caught Kone doing a show with Sunpie Barns a while back at the Maple Leaf, a magically ecstatic pairing), And of course we caught Little Freddie King. After wards Reynard Poche, New Orleans sideman extraordinaire took the stage with his own funk group. We left before 101 Runners, sadly, as they are a fantastic mix of funk and Indian.

And as I contemplated Jazz Fest next week (while I’ll be signing my book I’ll be missing out of Bon Jovi. Oh dear), I thought: this stage on the batture of the river where this city began, these acts on this stage; this is what the intersection of European and African music a century ago has done for the world.

This is our heritage.

Thank you French Quarter Fest and the artist sponsors for not forgetting why we live here, and why the visitors come. It is not for Bon Jovi.

P.S.–The sponsor for Fatien was Threadheads. Check out their site, activity and fund raising raffle.

Gangbe’ Brass Band of Benin (West Africa) May 5, 2007

Posted by The Typist in African Music, Dancing Bear, Jazz, Jazz Fest, New Orleans, NOLA, Rebirth, Toulouse Street.
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While the big crowds were Festering with the Allman Brother Band, featuring I presume Cher’s ex, I caught the Gangbe’ Brass Band of Benin at Congo Square at Sunday’s (May 5 2007) Jazz Fest. These guys are fantastic, combining traditional African rythems and melodies with European brass instruments. They are a glimpse into how jazz was borne of African roots and European instruments here in New Orleans over a century ago.

I immediately ran off to the music tent to buy a CD, but the hopeless Border’s clerk said they couldn’t find any to order to the half-dozen of us all standing in line to ask the same question. That’s odd, as Amazon seems to have both of their import releases in stock. If they’re going to have a music tent at Jazz Fest, it should be run by people who at least make an effort to stock the performers instead of filling an entire rack with the Allman Brothers and another with Rod Stewart.

Anyway, here’s as much of one song as my camera could capture. If this taste whets your appetite, or you were among those who caught them at Jazz Fest or Tipitina’s during Fest, then hie thee over to Amazon and scoop up one of their CDs like this one.. I did.