RJ Spangler Trio with John "Tbone" Paxton played Mardis Gras jazz music Sunday, February 12 at the Salem-South Lyon District Library. New Orleans complete with Mardi Gras beads!
RJ knows his music history, so we learned as well as danced in our seats. Opening with Basin Street (Jack Teagarden video) written by Spencer Williams in 1928, recorded by Louis Armstrong same year. Armstrong's band performs in 1964 here. Next the musicians swung into Some of These Days, a Tin Pan Alley writer Shelton Brooke tune, published in 1910, made famous by Sophie Tucker. Hoagy Carmichael's New Orleans was next up. You can hear Art Pepper on alto in this recording.
Chocko Mo Feendo Hay or Joc-a-mo-fee-no-ah-nah-nay or Chaque amoor fi nou wa na né. Is it Creole + West African Yorumba? Johnny Crawford wrote phonetic interpretations of beautifully costumed paraders he heard musically jousting in the 1950s. Danny Barker performed this song with the same chant, without the Iko Iko. Barker spent years in NY before going south, training musicians in the old brass band tradition. Wynton Marsalis came out of this sound school.
Hey Pocky Way (Neville Bros. here), followed by Li'l Liza Jane, also with West African roots. This video is Ms. Nina Simone and her tambourine. You got up and danced, did'in cha?
Eh La Bas (Preservation Jazz Hall band). One of my trips to New Orleans, I went first to the Jazz Hall. On the door was a sign "gone to Detroit, back in 2 wks." !
On that trip I bought a Leo Meiersdorff print (a jazz musician himself.) I put it away and forgot it for a few decades. Last week, on the hunt for another piece of art, I found it, unframed. I dismantled one of my own framed watercolors, and stuck the piano player in it. Love this!
One more song! Going Down to New Orleans, written by New Orleans native Earl King. RJ said you hear this song coming out of car radios, bars, and apartments with windows open. A great article on King's life and legacy is here. Another Detroit connection: King came to Detroit to find a place at Motown, and 3 tracks with King playing can be heard on Motown's Blue Revolution, recorded in 1996.
For those who want more music - Rhythm Rockers (with RJ and Tbone) will be at the Rochester Mills Beer Company on February 28, Fat Tuesday, even if it's not on the pub calendar yet.
For those who can't wait, stream WWOZ - home of New Orleans jazz music.
The concert was made possible with The Metro Detroit Book & Author Society 2016 James Dance Performance Grant. Patrons can enjoy 2 more concerts this year at SSLDL!