Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra

That wasn't Squanto celebrating Thanksgiving with the settlers at the Hi Ho Lounge. It was several Mardi Gras Indians, without the feathers, singing and chanting their folk tales of New Orleans with an outstanding band of musical supporters. Friday night they came back and did it again. The smaller crowd saw an even better throwdown, with Sunpie Barnes taking several outstanding vocal turns and Reggie Scanlan on bass and Camile Baudoin on guitar really distinguishing themselves. Sunpie's tale of Shotgun Joe's demise started things off at an outstanding level and the evening just went on from there. The event was recorded and will eventually see the light of day as a full length album, but WWOZ may well use parts of it for fundraising purposes in the future.

Monday, November 9, 2009

David S. Ware on NBC website

David S. Ware, the outstanding jazz musician who is back to performing after receiving a kidney transplant, is the subject of feature story on the NBC Nightly News website. There is live footage from his recent Abrons Arts Center performance fully incorporated as well.

For right now, it is listed at the top of the ‘Latest Program’ list (click on this link to increase the front page view count!):

For future reference, here is the link direct to the story:

Bryan Lee hospitalized with staph infection

Louisiana guitarist Bryan Lee is gravely ill with a staph infection "and his oxygen levels are critically low" according to a friend who posted the information on a blues message board.

Mirliton turns into Bywater Altamont

Ratty Scurvics got things going in fine style at what was billed as the 20th Mirliton festival. The Markey Park event took place in perfect weather and drew a large but manageable crowd including a lot of kids and a growing number of politicians. Jackie Clarkson seems intent on policing this crowd personally each year but unfortunatly she left before the fisticuffs broke out. You know she would have landed a sucker punch on somebody in the fracas. Hurray for the Riff Raff started out a little slow but ended up winning over the crowd with its strong songwriting and vocals. Guitar Lightning Lee tore it up in anticipation of his Saturday night throwdown at Melvin's, then hung out on his motorcycle to catch the R. Scully Rough 7 which did not disappoint a suddenly animated crowd. With Ratty back on keyboards Scully took no prisoners. Happy Talk band was even better with Luke Allen singing and playing guitar, Alex McMurray on electric guitar, Helen Gillet on cello and Mark Bingham on bass. McMurray and Gillet challenged each other with magnificent virtuoso turns and things got so hot that toward the end of the set some loon charged through the crowd yelling "Stop it!" Stop it!" When he reached the front of the stage, hands waving in the air, he apparently said something about Alex McMurray's mother because McMurray charged off the stage after him. Bingham, looking extra mad, dove immediately into the fracas. The whole exchange almost seemed like it was the opening act of the Fringe Festival but the guy did get thrown out so I guess it was all real. "I think he objected to Alex writhing around on the stage" observed Bingham. If Jazzfest 40 was Woodstock 40 redux, this was the Bywater Altamont. Fortunately DJ Jubilee was up next to chill everybody out before McMurray re-introduced the mayhem leading the Valparaiso Men's Chorus with Schatzy on accordion, Matt Perrine on sousaphone and a "chorus" of up to 20 men and Jonathan Freilich singing famous sea chanties such as "Give Me Some Time to Back That Ass Up." Mirliton executives rewarded the crowd by offering free beer toward the end of the set, which could have turned into another riot except they ran out and everyone when over to Markey's for another drink.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Under a Voodoo moon

Voodoo Fest was very enjoyable, the best rock festival going if you ask me. Of all the stuff I saw the most impressive moments were delivered by Down -- what a band! -- and George Clinton, who kicked Kiss ass all the way to the parking lot. Glad that one is preserved for posterity by OZ. Same goes for Trombone Shorty, the most impressive link between generations. Really missed the Land of Nod stage, thought Preservation Hall dropped the ball this time around, and am waiting for the announcement that the Bingo! folks have signed with Disney. Gotta say I'm sick of all the tweeting and demands for instant information. I actually had fun myself. Gee, what a novel concept.