While the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s annual pilgrimage was missed this year, WWOZ filled the gap with highlights from the last half century. You can still check out some shows at wwoz.org.
Music has the ability to lift the spirits during these trying times. And the blues will get you through. For instance, try French vocalist Cyrille Aimée’s jazzy take of the Michael Jackson pop standard “Off the Wall.” The King of Pop ruled R&B and pop in the early 1980’s. And R&B always had B, and so did jazz. Many think jazz and blues were born together in New Orleans n the late 19th Century. And every once in a while a track grabs you with its minimalism, blue note management and knowing delivery and you stop to think about the blues involved. Enjoy Cyrille’s version and let her blues take your mind off your blues.
Jazz saxophonist Charles Lloyd and Louisianan folk-rocker Lucinda Charles have combined for a blues drenched summit, Vanished Gardens. Both artists paid their blues dues. Lucinda began her career playing deep cuts from Robert Johnson and Memphis Minnie, while Lloyd blew in Howlin’ Wolf’s band. Throw in Americana, rock, country, and shake it up to create this sonic landscape. The Marvels consist of Bill Frisell on guitar, Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar and dobro, Reuben Rogers on bass, and Eric Harland on drums. Vanished Gardens was produced by Lloyd, Dorothy Darr, and Don Was.
Williams moaning vocals showcase her poetic gifts and the Lloyd’s soaring sax make this one of the year’s better releases.
Williams’s moaning vocals lend language to the instrumentalists’ improvisations, and their musical inventions trace the implications of her literary forays. A landmark achievement.
Here is a taste of the Jazz Fest 2018 performance on “Dust”
Nicholas Payton center stage at Satchmofest
Henry Butler at the 2017 Jazz Fest
Pianist/organist Joe Krown plays and talks about his wide range of blues, boogie woogie, jazz, ragtime and rock and roll with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Chuck Berry and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown in BCI #10. Shot at Pinecohn this oral history gives a bit of the feel of playing in the band, when to improvise and when to adhere to structure. Also Joe Krown Trio w/ R&B legend Walter “Wolfman” Washington hammers on some blues and funky old soul to round out the program.
Stanton Moore drops by Pinecohn Studios to talk blues and how he joined the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars and Galactic. A very busy drummer, Stanton plays regularly with Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and Tom Morello. Episode #4 features footage Ric Stewart shot in 1996 of Stanton with the Klezmers, a band he still joins! Rare candid moments of his Stanton Moore Trio are also included. Stanton talks about heavy metal, the source of his dynamic attack and great shows in BCI#4. Subscribe to the Blues Center’s YouTube Channel
Stanton Moore drops by Pinecohn Studios to talk blues and how he joined the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars and Galactic. A very busy drummer, Stanton plays regularly with Charlie Hunter, Will Bernard and Tom Morello. Episode #4 features footage Ric Stewart shot in 1996 of Stanton with the Klezmers, a band he still joins! Rare candid moments of his Stanton Moore Trio are also included. Stanton talks about heavy metal, the source of his dynamic attack and great shows in BCI#4. Subscribe to the Blues Center YouTube Channel to catch all the interviews!
This video made possible in part by a Community Partnership grant from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
Gil Scott-Heron was one of the most influential spoken-word poets of late 1960s and early 1970s. His post-beat poetry concerned a wide array of urban socio-economic, political, and racial issues. The ‘Godfather of Rap’ absorbed stylistic inspiration from Langston Hughes, Malcolm X and Huey Newton. A self-described “bluesologist” concerned with the traditions of blues and jazz music, he was born in Chicago, and grew up partly in Tennessee and the Bronx. Worldly and wordy from a very young age, he published his first volume of poetry at the age of 13. While attending Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, he started the band Black & Blues with musician/producer Brian Jackson.
The ‘revolution’ began when Heron recorded his well received debut album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox on Flying Dutchman Records in 1970. The album opened with the hip anthem “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” which derives its name from a catchphrase used by African-American activists during the 1960s. The next year, Scott-Heron recorded Pieces of a Man, marking a shift to a funkier-sounding yet more structured album. In 1974, Scott-Heron and Jackson released their collaborative album Winter in America on Strata-East Records, which retrospectively became their most critically-acclaimed work. Winter in America delivered a combination of blues, soul and jazz with his rapping and often melismatic singing. These early works of Gil Scott-Heron were seminal to styles of music such as hip-hop, neo-soul, and contemporary jazz.
“Miles was right. We didn’t understand harmonically or structurally what he and his band were doing. They had another kind of vocabulary, which came from a higher form of musical expression. It came from a special place—from Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane—and at the same time it was deep in blues roots and expanded into funk and rock sounds” – Carlos Santana recounts meeting Miles from Ashley Kahn’s book Santana.