Category Archives: New Orleans Music

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Tips for Making the Most Out of the Jazz Fest Music Lineup

Yellow logo of shilouttes second lining

2014 Jazz and Heritage Festival

Whether you go to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one day or all seven, you want to make the most out of the experience—especially when it comes to catching all the great live music you have at your disposal. With thousands of musicians to see across 12 stages, you could use a few tips to keep you from wasting any time and instead maximizing it so you can enjoy all of the food and music you can handle.

Research Ahead of Time

While it’s definitely fun to just aimlessly walk around Jazz Fest, if you want to see as much on the Jazz Fest music lineup as possible, like anything, it’s going to take a little planning. You may already have in mind a few artists you want to see, particularly some headliners, but what about the rest of the day? Maybe you’ve heard of some local musicians, but maybe you haven’t.

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French Quarter Bars Historic Hotels Holidays New Orleans Attractions New Orleans Dining New Orleans Music Uncategorized

New Year’s Travel Resolutions

Southern Comfort exterior

 

 

In the hustle and bustle of the passing year, it can be easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to take some time to do a little traveling. Unless finances are keeping you from it, there’s really no need to forgo traveling—even if it means a quick weekend getaway to somewhere close by. Traveling gives you the opportunity to recharge your batteries, to see and experience new places, to try new foods and create memories that can last a lifetime. Here are a few New Year’s travel resolutions for 2014 that you can add to your list.

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New Orleans Music

Frenchmen St: Bourbon St’s Authentic Musical Alternative

 

Colorful sidewalk view of the block of Frenchmen St with storefronts and sigh of Snug Harbor

 

Much to the chagrin of locals, Bourbon St and its associated partying and debauchery are often one of the first associations tourists have with the city. It’s a common destination—perhaps all too common—and it can sometimes trump the plethora of other music and activities the city has to offer. One of those beloved local attractions is just past the edge of the French Quarter in the Marigny—Frenchmen St.

Frenchmen St is a strip of music venues, restaurants and bars that runs in a diagonal between Esplanade Ave (at the eastern edge of the French Quarter) and Elysian Fields Ave in the neighborhood known as the Faubourg Marigny. Considered an artsy district with more alternative-styled inhabitants than other neighborhoods in the city, the Marigny is the perfect setting for the crowds that frequent Frenchmen St.

Music venues are the main draw to this iconic New Orleans street, and Frenchmen St is home to some of the best music you’ll find in the city. Looking for traditional jazz? Check out the small but intimate settings of the Three Muses or the Spotted Cat or the table-seated environment of Snug Harbor, a popular tourist destination. More interested in brass bands, funk or anything else you can dance to? Try the Blue Nile, Maison or Café Negril.

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New Orleans Music

Tipitina’s – Where Live Music Meets History

tipitina's

This week, Tipitina’s (501 Napoleon Ave, Uptown) celebrates 35 years serving up some of the best live music the city has to offer. On the 6th, they hosted a Super Fais Do Do with Bruce Daigrepont. On the 11th, they featured Re:Orientation with Gravity A and friends. This weekend, their anniversary party on Jan 18th and 19th features a reunion of the Radiators as well as the Soul Rebels and Dirty Dozen Brass Band. On the 26th, the venue hosts The Nevilles, a longstanding New Orleans musical family. This selection of artists is just a taste of the quality live music that Tipitina’s might be hosting any weekend in New Orleans, and for the past 35 years.

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New Orleans Music

A Tribute to “Uncle Lionel Batiste”

Uncle Lionel playing the drum

Treme Brass Band

As everybody in New Orleans knows by now, “Uncle” Lionel Batiste, bass drummer for Treme’ Brass Band in New Orleans, 81, died on Sunday, July 8 after a brief bout with prostate cancer.  “Uncle” Lionel had become a poster boy for the resurgent New Orleans music scene in the last few years since Hurricane Katrina.  Long, lean, dapper, perpetually snappily dressed with a trademark gold cross and wristwatch worn over his knuckles, “Uncle” Lionel sauntered around the French Quarter and Frenchmen Street.  He was the face on the New York City Times Square banner for Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary, “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.”  His image graced the 2010 Congo Square poster for New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell, and of course, for the historic Treme’ neighborhood bicentennial poster. It’s 200 years in 2012 since the country’s oldest historic African-American neighborhood was founded.

But more than becoming a visual icon of New Orleans, “Uncle” Lionel was a consummate musician and mentor to many younger musicians.  The Treme’ Brass Band’s weekly gig on Wednesdays at the Candlelight Lounge in Treme’ became a hipster and tourist destination after HBO’s “Treme’” TV show began running in 2009,  but there was nothing touristy about the music, or the joy that the music brought.  “Uncle” Lionel was a direct link to an earlier time in New Orleans, when traditional brass band music wasn’t even especially well-known outside of New Orleans.  It grew out of the neighborhoods, and it was handed down in the old-school way, by the “older” guys teaching the younger ones.  If you want to hear “Uncle” Lionel playing and singing, Treme’ Brass Band records are available at Louisiana Music Factory, 210 Decatur St. in New Orleans, and for download at www.locobop.com.   Sound of New Orleans, www.soundofneworleans.com,  recently re-released its 1980s recording of Treme’ Brass Band, “I Got a Big Fat Woman,” and it’s about as authentic as you can get.

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New Orleans Music

It’s Carnival Time in New Orleans

If you go to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras. And it’s Carnival Time, and everybody’s havin’ fun! And you have to do the Mardi Gras Mambo. If you live in New Orleans or visit during Carnival, you cannot escape  hearing the basic soundtrack-these three songs are played on the radio and at parades constantly.  “Go to the Mardi Gras,” by Professor Longhair; “Mardi Gras Mambo,” by the Hawkettes; and “Carnival Time,” by Al “Carnival Time” Johnson. Of these, it’s interesting to know that Al Johnson, the pianist and singer who was born in 1939 and still looks closer to 50 than 72, wrote and recorded that incredibly catchy little tune when he was only 20. He walked into the legendary Cosimo Matassa’s studio (the place where Fats Domino’s hits were made) in December 1959, and producer Joe Ruffino recorded the song.  Its tricky first section still makes musicians who try to play it miserable, but it worked well enough to become a Mardi Gras anthem. It’s tricky because in the first section, right before the chord change, Al added an extra measure, tripping up the uninitiated musician.  Al still complains that often they don’t get it right. Doesn’t matter, it’s still eminently ear-worm material!

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New Orleans Music

Meschiya Lake, Great Jazz Voice

 

 

 

New Orleans is a place where the timeless sounds of jazz fill the air on any given night. One particularly notable voice in this great city is the smooth and sultry ragtime sound of Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns. Lake, who has called the Crescent City home for over ten years, has quite the interesting past. Her career began in a South Dakota steakhouse at age nine, where she won a $500 singing contest, and years down the road she ended up in a traveling circus, performing an array of acts, including insect eating and fire dancing. It was during this time when Lake fell in love with the city and soon became a fixture on Royal Street in the French Quarter, busking and becoming one of the city’s most admired street performers, often taking her act on tour both nationally and abroad.

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