- Compelling characters embodied by terrific actors;
- plausible and suspenseful quick-cutting across and interweaving of plot strands;
- confident command of realities afflicting post-Katrina/pre-Gulf oil spill New Orleans, and
- the extraordinary depiction of living, breathing, hugely enjoyable music as a central factor in peoples’ lives, whether or not they’re professionally involved.
Of course the soundtrack, much of it shown as live performance, was dynamite, and seemingly non-stop. Highlights included several scenes of the Rebirth Brass Band; the character Delmond Lambreaux (actor Rob Brown mimes to Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown‘s trumpet playing) in collaboration with saxophonist Donald Harrison and Mardi Gras Indians at Jazz Fest; hot trad-style soprano saxophonist Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses in a chic supper-club (the clip below is not from the program, but has Nealand soloing) –