where y'at?

That's how locals answer their cellphones in New Orleans.

And it's sort of what one of my dear readers was asking when she caught me doing everything but posting:

did you: -slip on leftover mardi gras beads and are now in traction -get kidnapped by rogue voodoo ghosts -oversleep ?

Well, Mardi Gras beads and ghosts of some sort did sort of grab me and, yes, I spent too much time sleeping.

But I've had some lucid waking moments, including:

• time spent at the recent Congressional Field Hearing in New Orleans on the housing crisis, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca.), at Dillard University. It was marvelous theater, a good example of democracy in action, and will matter only if the draft legislation now working its way through both houses of Congress amounts to something. (For a good account, and audioclips of the hearings, look here.)

• a chance to sit in on a meeting on the ten-member committee setting goals for a nascent "New Orleans Jazz Advocacy Task Force." Bethany Bultman (of the New Orleans Musicians Clinic), who hosted the meeting, was half-joking when she called the assemblage a "Traditional Jazz Anti-Defamation League." You'll here more on this group soon. And should you arrive at Louis Armstrong Airport soon and find a brass band playing when you land, along with flyers promoting the real-deal gigs, you'll have these folks to thank.

March 9, 2007 4:29 PM | | Comments (0)

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Evan Christopher Django à la Créole (Lejazzetal) 

Clarinetist Evan Christopher, a California native, moved to New Orleans in 1994. In his frequent duets with Tom McDermott, and as a standout member of trumpeter Irvin Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, his erudite and personalized approach to traditional jazz commands attention.

Dr. Michael White Blue Crescent (Basin Street) 

Long before the floods that devastated his city, clarinetist Michael White wrestled with the challenge of preserving New Orleans traditional jazz without embalming it. He sought to write tunes built on time-honored local forms that spoke to the here-and-now. But Dr. White struggled to compose anything at all during the past three years--until late 2007, when original music began pouring forth.

 
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Red Earth: A Malian Journey (DDB Records/Emarcy/Universal) Despite her place in the top rank of American jazz vocalists and her crossover success, Dee Dee Bridgewater has often felt displaced. "I'm always trying to fit in somewhere," she once told me. This new disc, which finds Ms. Bridgewater and her band in collaboration with a cast of Malian musicians and singers, is no further pose:
David Murray Black Saint Quartet featuring Cassandra Wilson Sacred Ground (Justin Time) 
Long among the strongest, most adventurous reedmen in jazz,
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