Big Easy Blues Festival at Lakefront Arena

Though it’s the third annual event and the lineup is fairly impressive you wouldn’t know it from the publicity.  They have no web site and the only press I have seen is the listing in today’s Times/Picayune.  But if you are into blues and soul head over the show.  Expect to see Mel Waiters, Sir Charles Jones, Clarence Carter (pictured), Latimore, Ms. Jody, Lenny Williams, and Floyd Taylor.

Trombone Shorty Signs with Verve Records

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews becomes the latest musician out of the Crescent City to sign with a major label.  His first disc on Verve Forecast, Backatown, drops on April 20, 2010 just in time for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  The record, which was produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman, features numerous guest artists including Lenny Kravitz, Allen Toussaint and Marc Broussard.

Preservation Hall’s Ernest “Doc” Watson Passes

The saxophonist (photo credit- Shannon Brinkman) who was the last surviving member of the second generation of the Olympia Brass Band died at the age of 77 on February 19, 2010.  He was born on June 2, 1932.  The legendary Harold Dejean recruited him to join the Olympia in the mid-1970s after a long stint with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band in the 1960s.  He continued playing with the Preservation Hall band until late last year.  A funeral will be held Saturday, February 27, 2010 at St. Catherine Drexel Church on Louisiana Avenue.  There will also be a musical memorial service at the church Friday evening beginning at 7 PM.  Musicians are encouraged to come out and pay tribute to this icon.

French Quarter Festival Releases Music Lineup


Hot on the heels of one of the most successful Carnival seasons in recent memory and Saints victory in the Super Bowl, the festival season kicks off in earnest with yesterday’s announcing the lineup for the French Quarter Festival, now presented by Capital One.  The festival is scheduled for April 9-11, 2010.  The list is packed with fan favorites including the Radiators, Anders Osborne, 101 Runners, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Bonerama, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, the Panorama Jazz Band and many others.

Loren Pickford to Play Piano and Sing at Dos Jeffes

Since returning to New Orleans from his Katrina induced exile, multi-instrumentalist Loren Pickford has been digging deep into his well of New Orleans musical connections.  He has been gigging a bit and sitting in a lot.  Tonight, he will be playing piano and singing in a solo gig at Dos Jeffes.  Although I wouldn’t be surprised if any number of other musicians show up to sit in.  Next month things get busy for the veteran player. March 10th he headlines at Snug Harbor, leading a quartet playing alto saxophone and flute, with Chuck Chaplin on piano, Peter Harris on bass and Julian Garcia on drums. April 10th and 11th he will be at the Pensacola Jazz Festival.

Wanna Hear “Stand Up and Get Crunked” One More Time?

The Ying Yang Twins will be performing their now iconic New Orleans Saints theme song at Harrah’s Casino this evening at 8 PM.  The free concert is part of the 12th Man Fan Appreciation Day that began at 9 AM (!) this morning.

Just When You Thought the Parades Were Over

This afternoon at 5 PM, there will be a second line-style jazz funeral to bury the infamous nickname of the New Orleans Saints.  The ‘Aints will go out in style with a parade led by trombonist Glen David Andrews.  The Baby Boyz Brass Band will provide the accompaniment. The parade will start this afternoon in Tremé with a service for the “Aints” bags at 3:15 in the parking lot of the Charbonnet Funeral Home. The second line will depart at 4:00 PM from the corner of St. Phillip and N Robertson and finish up at D.B.A. around 6:00 PM. Fans are encouraged to bring their bag heads and any other negative emotions to place in a faux coffin.

Los Hombres Calientes’ Principals Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield To Reunite


The cause of Haiti is bring back together two of the three founding members of the great Afro-Cuban jazz band, Los Hombres Calientes.  For reasons unknown to this writer, Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield parted ways over four years ago as Mayfield concentrated on his new interests with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and his club, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse.  Mayfield also parted ways with his long time label, Basin Street Records.  They are reuniting the band this Tuesday night at the House of Blues to raise money for the earthquake-shattered island of Haiti.  The band recorded there among other places in Latin America during their seven years of existence.  Summers plays this evening with his new band, Jazsalsa at the Maple Leaf.

Four Luminaries to Discuss New Orleans Communities for Black History Month; Kermit to Play

This evening, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Alvar branch of the New Orleans Public Library, four representatives of the deep culture of New Orleans with discuss the complexities and changes in New Orleans communities.  Leading the discussion will be Luther Gray. Gray is the founder of the Congo Square Foundation, the leader of the musical group Bamboula 2000 and the man who spearheaded the effort to place Congo Square on the National Register of Historic Places.  The panel will feature trumpeter James Andrews, poet Mona Lisa Savoy and Ronald Lewis, the leader of the Big Nine Social Aid and Pleasure Club and the founder of the House of Dance and Feathers.  Kermit Ruffins (pictured) will perform and refreshments will be served. The library is located at 913 Alvar Street.

Oh, What A Day!


Mardi Gras dawned extremely cool, but the weather didn’t affect the turnout of the early rising revelers (photo credit- Kim Welsh).  The Society of St. Ann changed their route, bypassing the Mimi’s in the Marigny, but the corner was still crowded with costumed denizens of the surrounding neighborhoods.   By mid day the bright blue sky and warming sun allowed the temperature to rise just enough to unloosen scarves.  Zulu rolled on time and the masses exulted in the generosity of the krewe, which had just lost its king from 1997.  He will be buried on Thursday.

On N. Claiborne Avenue, the Mardi Gras Indians were out in force clearing the crowds under the bridge and along the side streets with their beautiful costumes and powerful music.  The younger gangs led the way, especially the Hard Head Hunters, who had crossed the canal from their stomping grounds in the lower 9th Ward.

Back in the Faubourg Marigny, Frenchmen Street was in full swing as the sun began to set the thermometer began to dip.  Brazilian revelers fired up a gigantic party with their matching shirts and loud samba rhythms.  Elsewhere on the three-block stretch, the Krewe of Kosmic Debris ended their daylong parade with one last blast of brass band strut.