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February 13, 2002 4:25 PM | | Comments (13)



excellent interview. working on a review myself right now. Ned Sublette is one of this country's intellectual and cultural treasures. And you can tell him I said that. LB

yes, bob. in fact just back from the gym. I have a 1-yr-old son and I'm in training so I can still play when he gets old enough.

Hey Larry -

Just read your Lincoln Center piece in the Journal. Nice. You still carrying around that basketball in your travels? Haven't seen you since Panama. If you're ever in Boston, give me a shout. Bob

Where Yat?
Musicians have always had a difficult time in New Orleans. Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? I returned to The Big Sleezy in 1994 after retiring from 30 long years teaching in New York. My MFA is from Tulane. Right now I am a vocalist with several bands, mostly on Frenchmen Street, and all of my closest friends are musicians. Very few can make a living just performing. I am an old geezer (74) but have been embraced by the music community and receive a lot of encouragement.
One huge problem in New Orleans for musicians is the attempt by some so-called residents to prohibit live music. These "guardians of the 'quality of life' in the French Quarter and the Marigny" want to transform our neighborhoods into the suburbs. They call the police to shut down venues that have live music. I say "so-called" because most of them are NOT New Orleanians, but are from the boondocks where live music is not the norm.
Another complaint is that writers who visit don't seem to know about or ignore Frenchmen Street, where it is really happening. The two or three blocks from Decatur to the north have most of the great stuff that New Orleans is famous for. Snug Harbor, d.b.a., and the soon-to-reopen Spotted Cat, and others have the best jazz in the city. Almost every night and some afternoons one can find terrific groups playing their hearts out. Come on down.

This message is for Larry Blumenfeld,

Hello sir. Would you please let me know how I can get a CD to you. I have some very fresh original, cutting edge jazz that I would love for you to hear. Thank you very much,

Matt Ritvo 818/400-7724


I wanted to let you know about an interview I did with author Ned Sublette who has written two incredible books about New Orleans. The interview is up on my blog:

Thanks - glad to have found your blog.

Chris Becker

Hey Larry. Sorry I didn't know about your story on Kermit at the Armstrong House sooner as we would have loved to have published it.

Jason Patterson asked me to contact you to tell you about the 9th Annual Satchmo Club Strut in New Orleans on Friday, July 31, 2009. Can we entice you to come and join us for music and fun? I have a press release I'd like to send you and will also give you the music schedule as soon as Jason finishes it.



Susan Wayman

Hello Larry,
I am copying the press-release of CYRO BAPTISTA's new release. Let me know if you would like a copy.
Thank you! Eleonora

For Immediate Release:
Monday, June 22, 2009
Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits INFINITO
Featuring: Brian Marsella, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, Tim Keiper
Special Guests: Kevin Breit, Erik Friedlander, Romero Lubambo,
Ikue Mori, Anat Cohen, Beat The Donkey, Maracatu New York, Peter Scherer

“If you like mind-bogglingly precise rhythms and instrumental tightness interspersed with free jazz freakouts,
then Banquet of the Spirits is for you.” - Matt Brockett,

“[Banquet of the Spirits] is constantly changing instruments and styles to crank out high-energy romps
with contagious enthusiasm” – Sean Fitzell, All About Jazz-New York

“…Cyro Baptista is truly one of the greatest musicians in the world…” – Wynton Marsalis

“Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista is the man the stars call…” – Time Out New York

The liner notes of this CD include the album’s creed: “We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We came from the infinito to give our shout of peace”. This quote offers the listener an insight into the genesis of the newest offering from groundbreaking percussionist and composer Cyro Baptista. “This album is very special for me because it has fragments from all my previous albums as well as participation from musicians who I’ve had very deep collaborations with at different moments in my career”, says Baptista of his new record entitled Infinito. Infinito is the highly anticipated follow up to the critically acclaimed self-titled debut album by Cyro’s newest project – Banquet of the Spirits. This marks the 7th solo album for Baptista. The album is due out July 28th on saxophone wizard and composer John Zorn’s Tzadik Label.

Since arriving in the U.S. from his native Brazil, Cyro has become one of the most sought after percussionists in the world. He has lent his sound to six GRAMMY award-winning records and over 250 albums with many of the most distinguished musicians in the world. Baptista has ongoing collaborations with Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Yo Yo Ma, John Zorn, Trey Anastasio (Phish) and numerous others. Most recently, Cyro continued his musical relationship with Sting recording on his newest CD, If on a Winter Night… due out in October 09. In short, if you’ve listened to the radio in the past 30 years, chances are you have heard Cyro’s caxixi, pandeiro or one of his (now famous) homemade instruments.

For his newest ensemble – Banquet of the Spirits, Baptista handpicked three of the fastest rising stars in the “downtown music” scene. Brian Marsella on keyboards and melodica (Beat the Donkey, Matisyahu), Shanir Ezra Blumenkanz on bass and oud (John Zorn, Pharaoh’s Daughter) and Tim Keiper on drumset (Vieux Farka Touré, Beat the Donkey) make up the core band. The band’s cohesiveness and dynamism have consistently grown over the past three years through touring the world and playing some of the biggest international festivals.

Much of this new album was recorded at Jay Beckenstein’s (Spyro Gyra) legendary BearTracks Studio and was the last session before its unfortunate closing. “For me, this album already has a sense of history to it before it has even been released. Between the closing of BearTracks and having all of my friends involved in the recording – it’s sort of a culmination of everything I’ve been working on for the last 10 years or so”, says Baptista. On the title track Infinito Coming Cyro brought two of his long time collaborators to the studio – Scott Kettner (Frank London, Nation Beat) and Kevin Breit (Nora Jones, Cassandra Wilson). Kevin and Cyro formed the band Supergenerous in 2000 and released an album that year on Blue Note Records. They have been playing under that name ever since and recently released their second album São Paulo Slim. Scott Kettner, who helped to co-write the title track, appears on the album with members of his percussion group Maracatu New York - NY’s only ensemble dedicated to Maracatu, the traditional style of drumming from the Northeast of Brazil.

Batida de Côco is Cyro and Teese Gohl's fresh take on a classic Hermeto Pascoal melody. On this song, Cyro uses members of his long-time project Beat the Donkey, including “forever donkey” Zé Mauricio keeping the song honest on the congas. In addition are the extremely talented young reed player Anat Cohen and the one and only Sérgio Brandão (Paquito d’Rivera, Herbie Mann) on bass. Baptista was commissioned by the Corning Museum of Glass to write a song involving glass instruments, the result: In Vitrous. On this song, Cyro plays glass instruments blown specifically for this recording.

Guitarist Romero Lubambo (Dianne Reeves, Gal Costa) is perhaps the most ubiquitous special guest on the CD. In Cyro words: “Romero Lubambo has played on ‘I don’t know how many’ Grammy-winning recordings and is also one of my best friends. He left a deep groove on this album playing on 5 cuts and co-composing with me Adeus às Filhas, a song we wrote for our daughters and Noia which is dedicated to my wife Eleonora, the love of my life”.

Kwanza, written by the band’s piano player Brian Marsella, was recorded in just ‘one take’ prompting Cyro to call this song “Banquet at its best! A miracle!” Also appearing on the album is the underground hero and pioneer of laptop electronics Ikue Mori (John Zorn, Arto Lindsay). Her amazing textures and colors can be felt especially strongly on Coronation of a Slave Queen. Erik Friedlander (Laurie Anderson, Courtney Love) also plays a crucial role on this album. As Cyro put it, “only Erik Friedlander could solve the puzzle of Blind Man, a melody that haunted me for my entire life”.

This album truly follows the Anthropofagic spirit that has kept Cyro’s music innovative and pertinent over his auspicious career. Baptista has long been thought of as a percussionist and composer who is constantly pushing the envelope in an effort to eliminate the boundaries of conventional music – Infinito is no exception. With the help of many distinguished guests, Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits has cranked out a follow up release worthy of the praise it is already receiving: “another wonderful CD from the driving force of Beat The Donkey, Supergenerous, Vira Loucos and so much more” – John Zorn.

For interviews, photos or a promotional copy of the album:
Media Contact: Justin Bias - OMM Music,

Click here for an exclusive video of the band playing a track off the new album: (use password: cyro)

For more about Banquet of the Spirits or Cyro Baptista:

Hi Larry! Any chance of getting my big band CD's reviewed? If so, please send me a mailing address.


Mike Barone

Mama Digdown's Brass Band, a Madison, Wisconsin group heavily influenced by New Orleans funky, street style hiphoppy brass ensembles is coming to the East Coast to do some shows. You might like them-

June 17th - Bertha's Restaurant & Bar, Baltimore MD
June 18th - Chick Hall's Surf Club, Bladesnburg, MD (outside Washington DC)
June 19th - Turntables on the Hudson @ Water Taxi Beach, Queens, NY
June 20th - Mermaid Parade, Coney Island
June 20th - Flatbush Farm, Brooklyn, NYC
June 21st - Rose Live Music block party, Brooklyn NYC


How ah ya!? Hope this email finds you well. Firstly, we’d just like to say “THANKS” for all the New Orleans love in your blogging. We are fans. Being two gals from the South, New Orleans holds a very special place in our hearts. Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, first tattoos, and many more shenanigans….

We’d like to invite you as our guest to the inaugural Launch Benefit for DecadesOut, a non-profit organization we’re working with, Wed evening, June 3rd . DecadesOut is a newly formed collective which focuses on the production of theatre, film, literature, video and visual arts projects based on socially relevant topics of a humanitarian and scientific nature. As the age of science has become a steady framework for humanity’s development, there also needs to be an outlet dedicated to artists as they engage in the growing dialogue between science and society. In a nutshell, DecadesOut exists so artists from diverse backgrounds can freely explore the relationship between the physical & social sciences and humanity.

Currently in production are two documentary films, one of which we felt you might have a specific interest in. The aptly titled New Land, New Life, explores the mass migration of New Orleans residents displaced during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath and shares the stories of how they have created new lives for themselves and have impacted the towns and cities they have joined. This project was inspired when Frank Kulzer, executive director, traveled to New Orleans on assignment with GQ to talk with the Jazz musicians about their life after Katrina.

If you’d be interested in attending, we’d be thrilled to have you as our guest at the launch event, June 3rd at the Classic Car Club at 7pm. The New Orleans Preservation Society will be attending the event, along with some other interesting characters, including Old Louisiana Rum, which is being made in the 9th Ward. We’ll be debuting the trailers for the two documentaries and announcing our upcoming programs. There will be a live and silent auction, eats from Celebrity Chef Sue Torres, music from the swing band, The Lounge Leader, as well as a showroom full of some of the most sophisticated cars ever made! Please find more information about our event below.

We’d love to hear from you and would be over the moon if you are keen to write about Decades in your blog. Executive director, Frank Kuzler, is available for interviews and please do not hesitate to contact either one of us if you’d like more information. And certainly let us know if you would like to our guest for the evening festivities, we’re so looking forward to meeting you.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

7:00pm – 11:00 pm

The Classic Car Club Manhattan
250 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013

The Event:
We will be debuting the trailers for two documentary film projects we currently have in production. The first trailer is for, New Land, New Life, and deals with the relocation and displacement of Hurricane Katrina victims. The second film is entitled, Burning to Communicate, and explores the birth of Off-Off Broadway Theatre.

We have hors d’oeuvres sponsored by Celebrity Chef, Sue Torres, and Manhattan Fruit Exchange, our open bar will feature beer from Fire Island Beer, Greg Costello Wines, Fat Cat Wines and Old Louisiana Rum which is a specialty rum which is being made in the 9th Ward with live music from the swing band The Lounge Leader.

Ticket price is $100, and is open to the public. Please go to to RSVP. To purchase tickets, go to, and enter “DecadesOut” in the search field. Or mail a check (payable to DecadesOut Inc.) to us at:
DecadesOut Inc.
110 Wall Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10005


Shaunna Harry & Parker Shipp,

Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog as I was searching for jazz sites and was excited to see you focus on New Orleans.

My name is James and I'm on the team behind "From the Mouthpiece on Back", a feature-length documentary about courage, hope, optimism, love, respect, some wind and water – and the kick-ass brassy jazz band, TBC Brass Band, from New Orleans.

Questlove from The Roots appears in the movie, and award-winning actress Kerry Washington narrates.

Our goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible to inspire others with TBC's story, to help TBC enhance its opportunities for success post-Katrina, and to donate a portion of any profits to help rebuild the great city of New Orleans (by sponsoring the "FTMOB Team Home" at Make It Right charity and by helping the Silence Is Violence charity and TBC itself). (We also hope to get out of debt for making the movie.)

It'd be great if you could mention the movie on your blog!

Thanks and best regards,


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