First Band Studio Performance Since COVID Marks JazzFest Preview Part 2

I will take full credit for the brilliant alignment of this week’s show theme and the live studio performance of Bon Bon Vivant in the KAOS studio on the campus of The Evergreen State College. Why not? Start the show and read on.

Bon Bon Vivant is scheduled to play its first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year. If all goes well, it will be the first JazzFest since 2019. Last week, I featured New Orleans bands who are scheduled for the first weekend of the venerable festival. And as luck would have it, Bon Bon Vivant is scheduled for the second week. So you’ll hear this exciting band perform five of their songs live in the KAOS studio “Last Night’s Glitter,” “Ship is Sinking,” “Nature Vs. Nurture,” “Lady Luck, ” and “Tracks.”

You’ll also hear other New Orleans acts featured on the second weekend lineup of JazzFest, including Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Irma Thomas, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, New Orleans Jazz Vipers, Meschiya Lake, Ted Hefko, Sarah Quintana, John Mooney and, of course, Trombone Shorty who traditionally closes the festival but for this show opens it.

(From Right) Jeremy Kelley, Abigail Cosio, Jason Jurzak, Glori Cosio and Deacon Marrquin -Bon Bon Vivant based in New Orleans and performing above at Spanish Room in Tacoma.

Back to Bon Bon Vivant, this is their second visit to the KAOS studio but the first since the pandemic. In fact, it was the first studio appearance of any band in the studio since the pandemic. It was fun to see the studio gradually fill up with curious Evergreen students involved in the station — well until they all had to go to class. Journeyman studio engineer and recent Evergreen graduate Isaac Chavez handled the work of getting the five-piece band in the tight quarters and sounding right.

Between songs, you’ll hear Abigail Cosio and Jeremy Kelley (wife and husband team) with the help of other band members talk about what it has been like to be a musician in New Orleans and touring in this era, about being scheduled for JazzFest for the first time, how they met and their ties to the Northwest. You’ll also hear some great information about the Krewe of Red Beans -a group, which could have just been one of a dozen parade party clubs, that has turned into a fundraising and brainstorming dynamo focused on nurturing the art and music culture of New Orleans. The Krewe parades on Lundi Gras (the day before Mardi Gras) and enlists Bon Bon Vivant as one of its bands. The Krewe also allows members from around the world, including me, to join and support their mission. You’ll hear all this in the first hour. I hope you’ll listen to this creative band and check them out. They are very good at doing online performances as well.

Of particular note of this live recording is that you can clearly hear the original lyrics sung by Abigail (also written by her) with the help of her sister Glori and Jeremy.

Thanks for tuning in.

Live Shows Return to NOLA and Celebrate Sweet Emma

Get a first hand impression of what it is like to be a musician as live music moves back indoors in New Orleans, learn about the New Orleans drummer who brought the blues backbeat to Chicago and celebrate the 124th birth anniversary of a pioneering African American female pianist, vocalist and bandleader who once shared the silver screen with actor Steve McQueen. All this and more when you listen to this week’s show (right below)

Welcome to another edition of Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa – the home recorded series is about to hit its one-year mark. Just last week, at the direction of the Mayor of New Orleans, live music came back inside — with some restrictions. Jeremy Kelley, saxophonist and co-leader of Bon Bon Vivant joins us at about the 70-minute mark to talk about what its like to be getting back to doing live, in-person shows (both the joy and horror of it). As promised on the show, here’s a link to outdoor New Orleans venues that are considered safer than going inside.

But before we hear from Jeremy, we catch songs by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Corey Henry, Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses, Galactic and Leyla McCalla.

You’ll also hear three songs featuring Sweet Emma Barrett who was born this week 124 years ago and was a pioneering Jazz woman who taught herself on piano, led her own band and was a highly recognizable character with her red outfit crowned by a skullcap with leg garters that jingled with bells when she played the keys. You might recall a few shows back, I featured dancehalls, including the Happy Landing Club. During the 1950’s, she and her band played there regularly. She also was a regular with the early Preservation Hall Jazz Band and you can see her play and sing briefly in the 1965 film Cincinnati Kid starring a brooding Steve McQueen. Here’s the clip.

Performing on two of the Sweet Emma songs is another Preservation Hall regular of the time Alcide “Slow Drag” Pavageau. I mention this mainly as an excuse to play Helen Gillet’s song dedicated to the stand up bass player who made his own instruments out of old barrels and who you might recall was depicted in the play and Netflix show Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Another birth anniversary celebration takes us up to Chicago with Armand “Jump” Jackson, a New Orleans drummer, who was also a bandleader who got into record producing. He’s noted for emphasizing the blues backbeat and you’ll hear one song that perhaps over-emphasizes that beat — “Midnight Shuffle.”

The show meanders on in the last 30 minutes with tracks by Joe Krown, Harry Connick Jr., Charlie Dennard, Charlie Halloran, Kid Eggplant and The Electric Arch. I think it works but let me know if you think differently. Cheers!