Mouth Watering Jazz Fest Food Inspires This Week’s Show

Perhaps the hardest part about listening to the WWOZ live feed of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is hearing the on-air hosts talk about the food. Shrimp and lump crab ravigote, fried green tomatoes, catfish almondine, Key Lime tart, crawfish strudel — for starters. Listen to today’s show to be subjected to similar punishment with appropriate musical accompaniment.

Crawfish sack and crawfish beignets served by Patton’s Caterers at Jazz Fest this year.

The show starts with the basics of greens, gumbo, red beans and fried fish. Or put in terms of songs: Champion Jack Dupree’s “Cabbage Greens #1,” Rebirth Brass Band’s cover “Shrimp and Gumbo,” Professor Longhair’s “Red Beans” and Charmaine Neville’s inspired version of the the Louis Jordan classic “Saturday Night Fish Fry.”

During the air breaks you’ll hear descriptions of food sold by vendors at Jazz Fest such as fried crab cake with smoked tomato and jalapeno tartar, alligator pie, crabmeat stuff shrimp — just to name a few.

I do songs about catfish stew (Bobby Rush), chicken (C.J. Chenier) and a wide range of other songs from coffee to sweet potatoes.

Crawfish strudel with white chocolate bread pudding served by Cottage Catering at Jazz Fest this year.

At one point, I list off all the dishes served at Jazz Fest that have crawfish in it. There’s lot of them as well as good old spicy boiled crawfish where you “Suck the Heads and Squeeze the Tip” following the Radiator’s song advice.

I also do a sweet set and list of menu items on desserts near the end. So stay with the whole show. And thanks for tuning in.

Audio slideshow of latest trip to New Orleans

I miss the days when my Dad would pull out the slide projector and set up the screen and we’d look at the slides of our last vacation.  Well, get my show started and you’ll hear an audio slideshow of my trip to New Orleans last week.

Since this show was part of the KAOS pledge drive, I have the honor of Anch Bergeson, host of Sundrenched, and Vertis Love, host of Old Ship of Zion (KAOS shows) as company.  I kept our discussion of New Orleans but edited out the pledge requests. However, if you want to support our community radio station, its easy to do.

maple-leaf
Vincent Broussard of Rebirth Brass Band powers his saxophone at the Maple Leaf Bar.

For West Coast visitors, there’s a nice alignment for catching Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar on Tuesday nights.  Usually, flights are cheaper on Tuesday and the two-hour time change helps in terms of staying up late enough to see this venerable band that usually doesn’t start performing until after 10:30 p.m.  This show recognizes how I started last week’s trip with Rebirth’s “Who’s Rockin’, Who’s Rollin”

My next set portrays our ride on the Natchez boat down the Mississippi, an easy and fun tourist activity and I feature two bands we saw later in the day at clubs on Frenchmen Street (Bon Bon Vivant and Tin Men).

I do a set featuring coffee because my wife, Kim, still raves about the cup of coffee she had at Morning Call located at City Park. Most tourists get their cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. Morning Call used to be there but now they have a wonderful place at City Park. I finish the set with a Corey Henry song because we ended the day at Vaughan’s in the Bywater for his weekly late Thursday night performance.

Lena Prima, Louis’ daughter, is a wonderful performer with an excellent band and  a crowd-pleasing songbook.  She holds court in the Carousel Room of the Monteleone Hotel every Friday night.  I play “Scuba Diver” off her live album which pretty accurately captures the music but to catch the antics, you’ll have to wait for my narrative after that set.

helen.jpg
Helen Gillet at the Courtyard Brewery

I caught up with Helen Gillet at the Courtyard Brewery’s fourth anniversary party and she gave me her latest release and I play “You Found Me.”  Charles Sheffield “It’s Your Voodoo Working” and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s “Swamp Ghost” symbolize the Krewe of Boo parade we caught.

 

It took some deciphering but we figured out how to catch up with the Men of Luck’s Second Line parade on Sunday.  Cyril Neville’s “Running with the Second Line.” capture that feeling.

 

streetcar second line2.jpg
Men of Luck Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade hits St. Charles Street

 

Here’s what one day at JazzFest 2018 looked like

Thank you Anch and Scott for covering my show the last two weeks while I journeyed the length and depth of Florida visiting relatives. My trip started with a couple of nights in New Orleans, including the last day of Jazz Fest.  Here’s some pictures from that day.  Don’t forget to tune me in this Thursday (May 24) to hear these folks.

IMG_6113 (2)
Rode our bikes to the festival grounds and saw this control box painted to honor Deacon John Moore

IMG_6129 (2)
Original member of the famous Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band, Leroy Jones and his group entertained in the Economy Hall Tent.

IMG_6139 (2)
Keeping the tradition alive, the Young Pinstripe Brass Band at the Jazz and Heritage Stage

IMG_6145 (2)
Nice to see the truck, sad to remember that Mr. Okra died this year.

IMG_6148 (2)
George Porter (on bass and tie dye) and his Runnin’ Pardners held down the Gentilly Stage.

IMG_6159 (2)
Great opportunity to see the famed Zion Harmonizers in the Gospel Tent

 

IMG_6176 (2)
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue rocked the Acura Stage to close out the festival.

Recent NOLA trip inspired latest show

One of the great aspects of doing a show on New Orleans music is the impetus it provides me to get my butt down there regularly.  My latest trip was an epic one. Go ahead and get yesterday’s show started while I tell you a bit more.

new-releases.jpg
Me and Visa have a long-term relationship after my trip to the Louisiana Music Factory. The good news is I’ll be digging deep into these and other releases in weeks to come on Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa

I stayed the first week with members of Olympia’s Artestian Rumble Arkestra not far from the nightclubs on Frenchmen Street.  I also used the opportunity to see some high school buddies who didn’t need much encouragement to drive in from their homes in Florida and Georgia to spend some time with me in New Orleans.

But there were many other great highlights, one of which is featured in yesterday’s show – an interview with trumpters Kermit Ruffins and Irvin Mayfield about their latest release, A Beautiful World.   They were generous with their time and stories and the whole experience was enhanced by our location — the Mother-in-Law lounge which for many years was the home and business of patron saint of my show and blog, Ernie K-Doe.

I’ll have more to share in the weeks to come including interviews with Bonerama band leaders Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, co-founder of Roots of Music and Rebirth Drummer Derrick Tabb and co-founder of the Black Men of Labor Fred Johnson with Treme Brass Band leader Benny Jones.

Artesian Rumble Lands on Frenchmen Street

Thank you Anch for covering my show yesterday.  I’ve been in New Orleans with some of the members of the Artesian Rumble Arkestra. This activist Olympia band is a regular participant in HonkFests and I’ve had the honor of being allowed to tag along with them as they journey into the birthplace of jazz.  Two band members in attendance are also air show hosts on KAOS – Juli Kelen and David Moseley.

One of the highlights of the trip here is to experience the Black Men of Labor parade this Sunday and this afternoon we will meet with two of the founders – Fred Johnson and Benny Jones.  Some brass instruments were brought down to donate to the youth music programs, Roots of Music but before handing the instruments over, some of the band members took the instruments on a test run outside where we are staying which just happens to be on Frenchmen Street. Other band members accompanied them with instruments they brought from home or improvised with trash can lids and a bicycle bell.

The last few nights, we’ve been going to the Frenchmen Street clubs to catch music both in the clubs and on the street.  Well, today, about 10 blocks from that scene but still on Frenchmen Street, the Artesian Rumble Arkestra made its New Orleans debut.

New Orleans guidebook writer to be on Gumbo YaYa

It was a typical New Orleans experience meeting Michael Murphy.

My sister, brother-in-law and I were standing on the sidewalk along Chartres Street looking around, pointing and arguing.  An invitation for just about any social-by-nature New Orleans denizen to politely butt in. In this case, we were in the hands of a professional.

Guidebook writer and tour guide extraordinaire Michael Murphy had just stepped out of a nearby bookstore when he untangled our conversation. My sister had thought that Morning Call Coffee Stand , which had abandoned the French Quarter in the 70’s in favor of a strip mall in Metairie, had returned to the area. Nope, Murphy explained. It opened up a great new location at City Park–a satisfying compromise of continuing a century long legacy of serving cafe au lait and beignets to locals while still taking full advantage of the city’s daily onslaught of sightseers.

Michael_Murpy_FEAR_Da_web-300x260As will happen in New Orleans, a good deed of offering directions turns into a 15-minute conversation where we each share how we ended up in a city we all loved.

In Murphy’s case, it was love at first sight, having visited the city in the 80’s on a business trip.  He moved down about seven years ago and has made it his calling to acquaint others with the charms of the city. In addition to being a hotel concierge and conducting private tours, he’s the author of four unique guidebooks.

“Eat Dat” is not your typical restaurant guide. While the book provides “best of” lists, it  really shines when Murphy focuses on the stories and personalities behind the cuisine. “Hear Dat,” to be released in mid-April, introduces readers to the wide range of New Orleans music and night clubs and the talented professionals who make it happen. It’s a tough assignment. But he does a good job of covering the broad range of live music you will find in New Orleans from Jazz and R&B to Hip Hop and Alternative Rock. .

Having bravely written about food and music in a city that takes both personally and seriously, Murphy throws caution to the wind with another release, “Fear Dat” about New Orleans voodoo and stories of “assorted butchery & mayhem.” He also has written a very practical guidebook called  “111 things Not to Miss in New Orleans.”

Murphy and I will rekindle our relationship on the air on Thursday when I hope I can get him to share a few ideas on how visitors to New Orleans can make the most of this year’s festival season.

Podcast of the show, including the interview with Michael Murphy. I apologize for the distortion in the interview. New recorder and not used to using it on live interviews.

It’s looking a lot like Mardi Gras

A walk around Uptown and Central City New Orleans today left no doubt that Mardi Gras season is upon us.

IMG_2016Officially, the carnival season begins the 12th night after Christmas (the Epiphany), creating a seamless flow from Winter Holiday to Mardi Gras parties.

The season starts cautiously but gradually works up to the crescendo that is Mardi Gras Day or what some call Fat Tuesday–the last day before the faithful must endure the rigors of Lent.

We’re at the penultimate weekend of Mardi Gras when over a dozen parades will roll down St. Charles Avenue as well as through the French Quarter.

Women (Krewe of Cleopatra), wine-lovers (Krewe of Cork), alien fans (Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus) and those who prefer shoe-box sized parade floats (‘tit Rex) are just a few of the rolling shows happening this weekend.

But the Mardi Gras spirit is not limited to the parades. Doors are festooned with wreaths of purple, green and gold, along with banners, masks, signs, and, of course, braids and braids of beads. IMG_2008

And after school lets out, you can easily hear the drum beat of student musicians sharpening their band performance and building endurance for the marathon of parades to come.

I’m going to celebrate Mardi Gras in Olympia.  (Wouldn’t want to miss Artesian Rumble Arkestra’s annual pub crawl)  and I’ll be back in time for the world debut of Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa – Thursday edition. It will, of course, be a show featuring Mardi Gras music. Until then, let the good times roll.

IMG_2026
KIPP Central City Academy rehearsing for Mardi Gras.