October 2007 Archives
"Of all the suits I made, there's a better one in my head. And I got to get it out."
--Big Chief Allison "Tootie" Montana, from an interview in Royce Osborn's "All on a Mardi Gras Day"
"Which of your tunes do you think is the best?"
"The one coming up tomorrow. Always."
--Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, from a TV interview included in Ken Burns's "Jazz"
When cops converge and musicians get arrested while singing a hymn, something unholy is afoot.
Below is my piece posted today at Salon.com that discusses this latest chapter in the post-Katrina fight for culture in New Orleans. This was big news in New Orleans, and has stimulated much local debate: The issues raised deserve national attention. I'd be glad to hear your comments and thoughts -- especially so, if you care to post comments at the Salon site.
There's more to say than I could fit in the story: I'll spill it out here in days to come. And I'll keep you posted on what comes of a telling controversy.
Band on the run in New Orleans
Police have cracked down on funeral processions, a time-honored cultural tradition in the historic black neighborhood of Tremé. But musicians vow to play on.
Here's some excerpts from my weekend piece on new jazz CDs in The Wall Street Journal, in case you missed it. What did not make it in -- a matter of timing, not taste -- is Herbie Hancock's latest, River: The Joni Letters (Verve): This is truly rewarding listening. Hancock recasts Mitchell's songs as sung by vocalists ranging from Tina Turner to Luciana Souza with invention and grace. But the best singing on the CD comes from Wayne Shorter's tenor and soprano saxophones; there's deeper humanity in Shorter's hushed tones and more conversational meter to his phrasing than nearly any vocalist can muster. This CD may center around Hancock's (and Shorter's) relationship with Mitchell and her songs, but more significantly and rather gloriously, it extends the four-decades-plus bond between Hancock and Shorter.