Shot entirely on location in New Orleans USA featuring the music of Lena Prima and her band (1:23) The Unknown Brass Band ("Tuba Skinny") (2:01) The Yisrael Trio (3:15) Doreen's Jazz New Orleans (4:19) and ... almost ... Grandpa Elliott Small (8:44)
If your name is Lena Prima, you can't help but get good gigs in New Orleans. Like the Carousel Bar at the storied Monteleone Hotel on Rue Royale in the Quarter. But not everyone can play the Carousel. Many musicians play the streets where genius still gets a chance. In our third trip back after the floods of Katrina/Rita, it's clear that genius is busking.
What we knew then as "The Unknown Brass Band" is actually an early assembly of Tuba Skinny, the notorious NOLA busking band dedicated to the living legacy of Tuba Fats. Tuba Skinny is one our all time favorite bands, and this is where I ran into them. What a moment for me and my camera! Find out more about Tuba Skinny: http://tubaskinny.com/
Someone has gone around town and pasted "D"s over the "W"s on many "one way" streets, so you understand they still get the message in the town that withstood The Flood, BP and NFL pay-for-performance clauses.
On a "one day" street just around the corner from Preservation Hall and four blocks from Congo Square where jazz was born, you can find true genius at the intersection of Rue Royale and Rue Saint-Pierre, on a curb outside Rouses Market. Doreen Ketchens, "Queen Clarinet", a classically trained musician who learned how to play jazz on these once flooded "one-day" streets.
One Day ... indeed: 29 August 2005.
And this is the town that has a bumper sticker advertising the obvious: "We put the fun back in funeral" ...
To find out more about jazz in general, and its deep taproots into New Orleans, contact a ranger at the Jazz National Park. No kidding! http://www.nps.gov/jazz/index.htm
To find out more about Congo Square as the birthplace of jazz and other deep cross-cultural beats, see Freddi Williams Evans' book from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press: http://www.ulpress.org/catalog.php?it...
The Congo Square bronze sculpture seen at the beginning of this video was created by Adewale S. Adenle and dedicated in April, 2010. To find out more about this New Orleans sculptor, see:http://www.artdewale.com/#/the-artist...
This video -- and the inquisitive spirit within it -- are inspired by the local wisdom of Eva Gallerani, long-time concierge at the Hotel Monteleone. Eva was on vacation during this visit, and it's unfortunate for us because she retired in July so we won't see her again. But she did report by phone what we observed to be true: New Orleans is back ... "more than ever". And we can say that the two folks replacing her -- Anita Graveson and Joey Lecour --are up to the task. So if you're there ... just ask!
Then there is music writer Tom Piazza's amazing journalism in the book "Why New Orleans Matters" which contains this astute observation:
"During that first week, a reporter from The Washington Post tracked me down and asked me about the musical heritage of the city, and if I thought New Orleans could survive this disaster. Such a natural question, and so impossible to answer. What I said was that if any city could survive something this deeply traumatic, New Orleans could. But it will depend on the world giving back some of the love and human beauty that New Orleans has given to the world for so long."