|Donna Olson Introduces|
RJ Spangler and TBone Paxton played Sunday with Matt LoRusso on guitar, Jeff Cuny on bass. Jeff just finished his Master of Music in Jazz at WSU. Bravo!
Storytelling + music + history. Does it get any better than that? RJ is reading a book by Ned Sublette, musicologist that traces the African/Caribbean/Cuban roots of New Orleans music. New Orleans history, back to the Bourbon cousin French/Spanish colonizers.
Go Down to New Orleans. John "TBone" Paxton took the lead on this song to start us swinging. Note on Professor Fess Longhair - there's a bust of him in Tipitina's Bar. Enjoy another cover of Tipitina by Dr. John and Johnny Winter.
Basin Street Blues, written by Spencer Williams in 1928, made famous by Louis Armstrong the same year; this video featuring Jack Teagarden on trombone. RJ mentioned Dr. Michael White, swinging clarinet player. We were treated to an experimental combination, starting as a ballad and switching it up swing. We heard it here first!
Strongly featured in the richness of New Orleans music, and as shared with us by RJ, are producers/players like Dave Bartholomew, who produced Fats Domino. His son Don B. continues the family music dynasty. The Batiste Family. Neville Brothers. Marsalis Family.
Iko Iko is a call and response Mardi Gras Indian tune. Big Chief, Flag Boy - designations of parade positions in a turf war that became a friendly costumed musical rivalry; raising money for charity and to bury the familial departed. Grateful Dead, Dr. John - even Jimmy Fallon and The Roots have covered this fine example of clave rhythm pattern.
Back now to the Come on, Baby, Let The Good Times Roll, Parts 1 and 2. The 1960 recording by Earl King, has Part 1 on the A side, Part 2 on B. Written by Shirley & Lee, their 1956 recording climbed to #20. Jimi Hendrix covered it, as did these others.
Next up was a walking ballad. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
RJ shared more stories: of Guitar Slim in Florida with a young musician he let run the session. Ray Charles was the man's name. Danny Barker, who played banjo and guitar in Harlem in the 20s and 30s, joined Cab Calloway's band, then went back to New Orleans, where he helped rebirth the New Orleans brass band tradition.
For those of you who need to know where the music is playing when it's out of town, Offbeat Magazine has New Orleans on the Road. April 2018 issue cover feature is the French Quarter Fest Issue.
To close the set RJ, Tbone, Jeff and Matt treated us - and we joined in - with Eh, La Bas, traditional New Orleans song. You can play here with the Creole, French, English lyrics.