Today, MCOTD‘s fifth anniversary, we revisit a few early favorites.
September 5, 2009
One left Cuba after the revolution, the other stayed. Here they play together: pianists—father and son—Bebo (1918-2013) and Chucho (1941-) Valdes.
September 11, 2009
If spirit could be sold, New Orleans would be rich.
Rebirth Brass Band, live, New Orleans, 2009
September 23, 2009
Nobel-Prize-winning economist devises a way to turn faces—images of them, that is—into marketable commodities: the more expressive the face, the greater the value.
Haiti is named one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
Arcade Fire, “Haiti”
Without music where would we be?
sounds of New Orleans
Let Me Do My Thang: Rebirth Brass Band (Keith Reynaud, 2000)
Day after day tiptoeing through minefields, until finally our luck runs out.
a week in New Orleans: day one
In no other city are the streets so musical.
Treme Sidewalk Steppers Second Line, 2/1/09
Rebirth Brass Band, “It’s All Over Now” (B. Womack & S. Womack)
Kevin Harris (tenor saxophone) & other Sixth Ward musicians
This is a city, too, for stylin’ dogs.
Barkus Mardi Gras Parade, 1/27/13
The parade never ends.
Rebirth Brass Band, New Orleans (Treme Sidewalk Steppers Annual Second Line Parade), 2/6/12
A highly anticipated moment of the social aid and pleasure club parade season is when the Treme Sidewalk Steppers emerge from the African-American Museum. First, comes the call of the trumpet and then a flash of color can be spied as a member waves a feathered fan and dances out the door. One by one, the Steppers strut their stuff as they energetically file down the sidewalk with a “look-at-me” attitude. Those in the waiting crowd on Gov. Nicholls Street, peer through the iron fence that surrounds the lovely building and gardens, trying to get a better look at the spectacle. They cheer at the triumph.
The Treme Sidewalk Steppers . . . was established in 1994 by a group of friends who were enthusiastic second line followers.
“We’d always go to the parades and parade on the sidewalk and have fun,” Sidewalk Steppers president Charlie Brown explains, “so we decided we might as well come up with our own.”
Brown as well as some dozen or so originators, including New Birth Brass Band’s Tanio Hingle and Kerry “Fat Man” Hunter, all hailed from the Treme so the name of their club was a natural. “That’s our neighborhood; that’s where we’re from,” Brown proudly states. “Being the oldest Black neighborhood in America and being raised around all these different musicians and just to have the culture makes it special to us. It’s in your blood–that’s what makes it so authentic with us.
Since most of the club’s members grew up in the Treme neighborhood, they boast deep roots in and respect for the second-line culture. The Steppers take that base and serve it up with its certain, individual style and personality.
“We try to keep it in the tradition but we have our own little swagger,” Brown says. “We try to be unique in our dress and our ways. We love the fun in dancing and showing off our little parade gear. We take pride in it. We don’t take shortcuts with our parade.”
The Sidewalk Steppers’ outfits are usually specially designed and tailored for them rather than store-bought. Creating their decorative fans is a group effort that’s accomplished under the direction of original member Corey Holmes. . . .
While some clubs keep the colors of their outfits secret, the Treme Sidewalk Steppers declare them right on the route sheet . . .
“We want the people to know,” Brown explains. “Maybe our followers would like to dress in the colors we’re wearing. We invite that. We really love the people that love us and we appreciate them all. The followers made us–they made us as good as we are or are supposed to be.”
The Treme Sidewalk Steppers also kept the second liners in mind when drawing up the parade route. The procession primarily travels on wide thoroughfares like Basin Street, Broad Street, N. Claiborne Ave. and St. Bernard Ave. that offer the crowd room to move.
“We use main streets so people can be comfortable and we try to spread out so you can enjoy us and view us well,” he explains.
“The Sidewalk Steppers mean everything to me,” Brown says with deep sincerity. “We give thanks to all the people who came before and how they gave this history to us and showed us the way.”
Some places actually exist because they could never be imagined.
Treme Sidewalk Steppers Second Line, Rebirth Brass Band (with guest Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, trumpet), New Orleans, 2/1/09
Happy Mardi Gras!
Mardi Gras in New Orleans (with Arthur Hardy)
Here’s another take on the brass band.
Ray Anderson’s Pocket Brass Band (RA, trombone; Lew Soloff, trumpet;
Matt Perrine, sousaphone; Bobby Previte, drums)
Live, Powerplay Studio, Switzerland (Maur), 5/27/10Vodpod videos no longer available.
Live, Trondheim Jazz Festival (Norway), 5/14/10Vodpod videos no longer available.
Cy Twombly, April 25, 1928-July 5, 2011
The death of Cy Twombly has an oddly catastrophic feel—oddly because he was eighty-three and a canonical master, but catastrophic because he takes with him a certain epochal, now thoroughly historical, sense of wide-open liberty in very high culture. Such was the cynosure of new art in New York sixty years ago, when Twombly had his first show of startlingly scrawly, somehow furiously languid paintings and drawings. Unlike the heroes of Abstract Expressionism and his comrades Rauschenberg and Johns, he never drove that afflatus. Rather, he took it as a routine state of mind and soul. This could seem dandyishly insolent of him: shrugging off the requirement for logical necessity in big-time avant-garde art. He made clear that he did what he felt like doing. His feeling-like-doing-it was the point, ever just a dramatic whisker short of pointlessness. Who did he think he was?
—Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker (blog), 7/6/11
This guy I can’t get enough of.
Vernard Johnson, “Don’t Wait ’Til The Battle Is Over, Shout Now!”; live, TV broadcast (Bobby Jones Gospel)Vodpod videos no longer available.
Time for just one note? 6:23.
Lee Friedlander, Cherry Blossom Time in Japan (2006)
Yesterday, opening my Emily Dickinson collection (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin) at random, I came upon this.
We do not play on Graves —
Because there isn’t Room —
Besides — it isn’t even — it slants
And People come —
And put a Flower on it —
And hang their faces so —
We’re fearing that their Hearts will drop —
And crush our pretty play —
And so we move as far
As Enemies — away —
Just looking round to see how far
It is — Occasionally —
—Emily Dickinson (#599)
listening room: what’s playing
• Echocord Jubilee Comp. (Echocord)
• Art Ensemble of Chicago, Full Force (ECM)
• Art Ensemble of Chicago, Urban Bushmen (ECM)
• Rebirth Brass Band, Feel Like Funkin’ It Up (Rounder)
• Marc Ribot, Silent Movies (Pi Recordings)
• Wadada Leo Smith, Kabell Years: 1971-1979 (Tzadik)
• Charles “Baron” Mingus, West Coast, 1945-49 (Uptown Jazz)
• John Alexander’s Sterling Jubilee Singers, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb (New World Records)
• Rev. Johnny L. Jones, The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta (Dust-to-Digital)
• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa)
• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
—Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
—Daybreak Express (Various, jazz)
—Out to Lunch (Various, jazz)
—Jazz Profiles (Various, jazz)
—Jazz Alternatives (Various, jazz)
—Morning Classical (Various, classical)
—Afternoon New Music (Various, classical and hard-to-peg)
—Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
—Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture, “new bass and beats”)
—Sinner’s Crossroads (Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Give The Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis)
—Downtown Soulville with Mr. Fine Wine (soul)