June not only holds the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States (Juneteenth or June 19), it is also African American Music Appreciation Month. Though my show is no longer airing live, you can still listen to recordings of the series of shows I made last year in honor of this month.(Use the links below to go to the page then activate the embedded player on that page.)
The June 3rd, 2021 show covers the post World War II music scene in New Orleans where Jump Blues evolved into R&B and then later got called Rock ‘n’ Roll.
The June 10th, 2021 show is about Jazz with references to stories about Basin Street, Danny Barker, Storyville and New Orleans dancehalls.
The June 17th, 2021 show makes a pretty solid argument for why New Orleans should also be considered the birth place of Funk.
Finally, I really enjoyed doing a Black Music Month appreciation show the year before where I provide some history on the month’s recognition and some great music. But for the record, every show is a celebration of African American Music because without African Americans, there would be no New Orleans music.
As part of my month-long celebration of African American Music Appreciation Month, this week’s show is devoted to New Orleans jazz created by musicians of color. Check it out with the player below. (Last week’s show focused on R&B)
Drummer Joe Lastie, a product of New Orleans Ninth Ward and a family of musicians, starts the show with a song he produced with Big Chief David Montana that honors the resilience of the love for New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina survivors. It’s a modern song steeped in the musical traditions that formed jazz.
While the origins of jazz are grist for scholarly debate, one thing is crystal clear to me. The music bubbled up from the creative cauldron of people of color living, working and playing in New Orleans. For more details (without getting scholarly), I like the National Park Service webpage on this topic written in part by Dr. Michael White and Ellis Marsalis. You can read that page while listening to the show which carries on with some of the more well-known pioneers of jazz: Jelly Roll Morton, King Joe Oliver, Bunk Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory and Lil Hardin. Okay, so Hardin was from Memphis but she ended up in Chicago with a scrum of New Orleans musicians and she helped whip them into shape, writing and arranging some of the earliest recordings.
You might find interesting this page on Onward Brass Band (also featured in the show) which tells the story of Paul Barbarin, Louis Cottrell, Danny Barker and others in that band. Check out the picture of them drinking (champagne?) with Janis Joplin.