[Dixielandjazz] Rain Enhances Music at Satchmo Summerfest

Texasjazzlover rebecca.e.thompson at verizon.net
Wed Aug 6 11:33:07 PDT 2003

Thanks to Norman Vickers for his article on this year's Summerfest in New
Orleans.  I would like to add some side notes.

There were rain showers every day during the Summerfest.  The one on
Saturday turned out to be a downpour and the sound technicians scrambled to
cover all the speakers, mikes, etc.  It happened just as Duke Heitger
started his set and got one song off before the rain came.  When it stopped,
Connie Jones asked Duke if he would continue without the aid of
amplification.  He agreed and the crowd LOVED it.  They couldn't bring the
sound back on for the rest of the performances, so Banu continued without
the aid of mikes.  It was harder on her since because of her vocals, but
being the trouper she is, she pleased the crowd anyway.  The rain cooled
down the temperature and the weather was very pleasant.

Dr. Michael White continued with his band (Lucian Barbarian on trombone).
There were comments from EVERYONE in the crowd that they liked the music
much better without all the amplification.

Another shower came on Sunday too, and made the outdoor experience more

Another thing I would like to add to this festival is about the after hours
entertainment.  Our friends from Blue Street Jazz Band, Fresno, California
sat in at Fritzels every night.  The scheduled band is Ryan Burrage and the
Rhythmakers.  It is a trio, so Dave Ruffner's trombone and Forrest Helmick's
trumpet rounded out the band.  Nathan Ketner also sat in for a couple of
sets playing Alto, and Jason Jurcak, bass  The crowd was wild and
enthusiastic and stayed until closing at 1 a.m.

Al, the new owner, told me that beginning in October, Jacques Gauthé will
join Ryan for the weekend gigs.  This was our first time to hear Ryan and we
were very impressed with this young clarinetist.  He plays the Albert system
and the deep wood tones are very much "New Orleans music".

Jim and I also took Tad Jones' tour on Monday of the neighborhood where
Louis was born (as well as Buddy Bolden) and then on to the site of the
Waif's home where Louis spent 18 months.  After that, we went to the Satchmo
Birthday party with cake and ice cream in Louis Armstrong Park. We ended our
celebration with a ride on the Natchez with Duke Heitger giving a lecture
about jazz on the river.

After the lecture, Duke and his Steamboat Stompers played for an hour.

During all the festivities, we were able to see and talk to other jazz fans
we have met in the past and meet new friends as well.

Just a side note about Tad Jones, the historian who discovered Louis' "real"
birth date.  His great grandfather owned the property which was eventually
sold to the Knights of Pythias who built the first black-owned
building.(1907)  They rented out the upper floors to black professionals of
the day.  Up until then, most worked out of their homes.  A huge ballroom
was on the top floor and it is where Louis and other jazz greats performed
regularly.   That high rise building still stands, although someone covered
the front with aluminum squares.  Perhaps some day that aluminum will come
down and the beautiful brick work will be seen again.


Rebecca Thompson
Flower Mound, Texas

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