walking to new orleans

Apologies to Fats Domino for stealing his line -- especially since I'm flying, anyway, on JetBlue. But these rains threaten to slow air traffic to a crawl anyway. I'm heading back to New Orleans for another long stay--probably through October, to pick up where I left off on stories that continue to unfold, mostly about The Fight for Music in New Orleans and What That Means.
I'll arrive in time for the build-up to the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina, the levee breaches, and the floods -- all of which I anticipate with both dread (those network hacks looking for shots of desperate souls and still-wrecked houses, those politicians fronting fraud) and inspiration (the chance to break through the Iraq-presidential race-Paris Hilton headlock grip on media, and to mark a day of recognition for a city still in need).
I'll try to make sense of what I can in a piece for Salon.com on Tuesday.
I'll miss Erica, who's staying here in Brooklyn, most of all. I'd say that I'd miss the end of summer in New York but summer seems gone now. I'll miss out on attending Max Roach's funeral Friday at Riverside Church, which promises to be not just a worthy tribute to a seminal hero but also a gathering of musical masters.
But I've also missed NOLA: the cool folks at the Sound Cafe and Rose Nicaud in the morning; the musicians on Frenchmen Street and uptown and all over at night; the smart, committed nonprofit workers and ordinary people inspired past ordinary acts in between, no longer fighting a wave of water or even its immediate wake but instead a rising tide of unnatural obstacles, obdurate bureaucrats, and complacent inattention; the hellos in the street from perfect strangers who mean it.

Anyway, time to pack. I'll write soon.

August 22, 2007 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)

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ListenGood

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,
Joe Zawinul Brown Street (Heads Up) 
The list of great Viennese composers must include Zawinul--same for the honor roll of jazz innovators.
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