[Dixielandjazz] Trad event on Steamboat Natchez held Wednesday July 7

Norman Vickers nvickers1 at cox.net
Fri Jul 9 07:25:48 PDT 2004


I just returned from what is hoped to be the first annual trad event on the
Steamboat Natchez in New Orleans.
On Wed. 7-8 four bands gathered for an evening performance:

Duke Heitger Steamboat Stompers
Banu Gibson and New Orleans Hot Jazz
Jim Cullum Jazz Band
Dukes of Dixieland

Natchez did not cruise that night, but remained tied up at the dock. ( There
is some  musical advantage not to cruise--avoid the noise and vibration of
the motors and paddlewheel.)

Bands alternated with one band playing on upper deck and another playing on
the middle deck. The event went from 5:30-10:30.

Jim Cullum's band was in town with a group of travelers scheduled for their
trip on one of the Delta Queen Riverboats.  I saw friends Linda and Mike
Foley of Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.  There were about eight of us
from the Jazz Society of Pensacola who came over for that event.

There were drinks available, of course, and an adequate and reasonably
priced buffet available.

Cullum's band included-cornetist leader Jim Cullum, pianist Jim Turner,
clarinetist Ron Hockett, bassist Don Mopsick,trombonist Kenny Rupp,
banjoist/tenor guitarist Howard Elkins, and a young hot drummer Mike

Vocalist-tenor guitarist Banu Gibson's band included visiting pianist John
Sheridan, trumpeter Connie Jones, trombonist Rick Trolsen, bassist James
Singleton and drummer Jeff Juliano. Banu's husband Buzzy Podewell and New
Orleans bassist Tom Saunders joined Banu on her last set.

The Dukes of Dixieland, with their " gig when they don't have an out-of-town
gig" on the Natchez since 1991, perform nightly on the steamboat.  The Dukes
personnel are: leader-drummer-vocalist Richard Taylor,trombonist Ben Smith,
pianist Scott Obenschain, clarinetist Earl Bonie, bassist Everett Link and
trumpeter Michael Fulton.

Cornetist Duke Heitger, in my view the handsomest white jazz guy currently
performing, had as personnel for his Steamboat Stompers, clarinetist and
soprano saxophonist Evan Christopher, pianist Steve Pistorius, bassist Kerry
Lewis and guitarist John Parker. Cullum's drummer Mike Waskiewicz joined the
Steamboat Stompers for the last set. The Steamboat Stompers perform
regularly on the day cruises of the Natchez.

New Orleans bassist and radio personality Tom Saunders held forth in the
Magnolia Suite with CD sales including some rare jazz recordings he had
remastered.  Tom is well known for his popular Traditional Jazz Radio show
which aired on New Orleans Community Radio Station WWOZ for 13 years.

Overall, it was a wonderful evening of great music, reunion with friends,
good food and an ideal setting.  Think of it, twilight with the activity of
the French Quarter on one side and the Mississippi river traffic and lights
along the harbor on the other side. I think I'll skip Heaven, and just go to
New Orleans!

In conversation with Heitger a couple of days after the event, he said that
the decision for a repeat of this event would be made after conference with
the steamboat company.  From a personal point of view, I certainly hope
there is a repeat.

For those of you who missed the event, the Steamboat Natchez cruises at
11:30 am and 2:30 p.m and  the two-hour dinner/jazz cruise departs at 7:00
p.m. from the wharf at Jax Brewery in the French Quarter. Heitger's
Steamboat Stompers perform for the day cruises and the Dukes of Dixieland
for the dinner/jazz cruise. At least on any cruise, you get a Duke!

Contact :  New Orleans Steamboat Company, #2 Canal St., Ste 2500, New
Orleans, LA 70130-1587.  Phones 504-586-8777 or 1-800-233-2628;

Norman Vickers
Jazz Society of Pensacola, Inc.


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