[Dixielandjazz] Where was the jazz? Reply and agreement!
Vaxtrpts at aol.com
Vaxtrpts at aol.com
Mon Sep 26 20:35:36 PDT 2005
In a message dated 9/26/2005 5:36:04 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
Cebuisle2 at aol.com
I am amazed at all the posts during the last weeks about jazz and musicians
in New Orleans. Steve's post about the return of the jazz scene leads me to
ask, "Where was the jazz scene about 25 years ago? My spouse and I traveled
there with the sole intention of hearing hot jazz. I think we hit the
Door and Preservation Hall. All the other clubs on the main drag in the
Quarter had screaming guitars and pounding drums. The waiter came over
we were even seated at the "Door" to take a drink order, and kept coming
even though we hadn't half finished out first drink-
The host at our motel warned us not to leave the well lit main street
(Bourbon?) as it wasn't safe for tourists. I recall driving down canal
midnight with the windows rolled up and the AC on full, it was so hot. All
considered, I was not impressed with the music scene in the Big Easy. What I
have read and heard since has not changed my opinion.
I read an article in U.S. News and Report recently in which a long time
resident of the city who formerly ran a recording studio there said the jazz
funerals had degenerated into drunken parties.and that a city parade permit
now required. And then there was the brick-in-the-mouth suffered by Al
which almost ended his playing career., and some of the social clubs
to parade any more due to racial troubles.
Guys, has there been a renaissance in N.O. these last few decades? Seems
most of the musicians mentioned recently were playing somewhere else when
big water came. Did I miss something on that ill fated trip 25 years ago?
Where was the jazz hiding?
Sorry to copy this whole post, but I thought it was VERY relevant.
Ted, I couldn't agree with you more! When we lived in New Orleans over 25
years ago, there were more clubs with jazz, but the club owners had just cut
back on the number of musicians in the bands because the union had voted an
increase in pay scale for the musicians. It was ALL about the bottom line with
the club owners. They didn't care one bit about the music. (Nothing new
here, huh?) Back then the clubs were: Crazy Shirley's, Blue Angel, Preservation
Hall, Famous Door, Maison Bourbon, Pete Fountain's, Al Hirt's, and Dukes
Place (Monteleone Hotel). There were some other clubs that mainly catered to
more modern jazz also.
The clubs on Bourbon Street started disappearing or changing to Rock. As
the years progressed, Crazy Shirley's was gone, then the Blue Angel, and the
Famous Door stopped having jazz. Pete moved to the Hilton and Al lost his
place. It got harder and harder for the musicians to make a living. I guess
things got even worse after the World's Fair flop.
I can't talk much about the last ten years or so, as I have only been back a
few times. I wasn't much impressed with any "resurgence" of jazz, at least
on Bourbon Street. I did hear some wonderful musicians playing there,
though. I know the French Quarter Festival (which doesn't pay very well for the
musicians) and the Jazz and Heritage Festival have been doing well.
We also knew that you didn't walk very far off Bourbon Street, even back
then. It was just too dangerous. The looting and gang stuff of recent events
is just "more of the same" from back then.
The Al Hirt Brick thing is a big over exaggeration that I won't go into at
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