Bilbo Birthday for Harold Dejan (Olympia Brass Band)

I celebrate the Bilbo Baggins birthday of Harold “Duke” Dejan, founder of the second generation of the Olympia Brass Band by starting this week’s show with “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” and “It Ain’t My Fault.”

Harold Dejan at top with the saxophone section of the Algier’s Naval Base Band during WW II. From the Louisiana State Museum collection.

Dejan, a saxophonist and bandleader, would be eleventy one years old on February 4. We lost him in 2002 after many decades of keeping the brass band tradition alive before the new generation of brass bands such Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, Soul Rebels, Hot 8 and this year’s grammy nominated New Orleans Nightcrawlers took up the mantle and greatly expanded the audience.

I flow into a short set of not-frequently-played Mardi Gras numbers – The Original Pin Stripe Brass Band with “Dancin’ at the Mardi Gras,” Cha Wa’s “All on a Mardi Gras Day,” New Orleans Suspects’ “Yo Flambeaux,” and Davis Rogan’s “Mardi Gras Chicken” — a new edition to the Mardi Gras library from last year.

This year, there will be no official Mardi Gras parades because of COVID-19 safeguards. However, the city is adapting by decorating homes like floats.

Speaking of new, the next set features a new release by The Crooked Vines from their Mostly Live record, a track from Bon Bon Vivant‘s recently released Dancing in the Darkness and Glen David Andrews “Where We Gonna Go.”

Well, no matter where you go, keep this show rolling cause with the help of Andrews and Galactic, it gets funky with “Day of the Dolphin” by Brides of Jesus (Billy Iuso) and Walter “Wolfman” Washington‘s “Glasshouse.”

Aurora Nealand project

Later highlights include Marla Dixon singing a heart-rendering rendition of “When Things Go Wrong” at the Dew Drop with her Shotgun Jazz Band and Aurora Nealand’s fascinating project The Monocle where she plays all the instruments and handles vocals “Another Man” from Kindhumankind.

I’ll lay into more Mardi Gras music next week. Thanks for tuning in.

Author: Tim Sweeney

Host of Sweeney's Gumbo YaYa - a two-hour radio show featuring the music of New Orleans -- every Thursday starting at 10 a.m. (PST) on community radio station KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia, Washington -- www.kaosradio.org. Show also airs on Fridays, 7 p.m., KMRE, 102.3 FM, Bellingham.

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