[Dixielandjazz] Where was Jazz in N.O. ? Where is N.O. Jazz now?

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 26 20:39:43 PDT 2005

Richard Redmond at eighthst7 at aol.com wrote:

> I have made 3 trips to N.O. in the past 6 yrs, and I never had any trouble
> finding a group to jam with. But I did have to make my desire to play known in
> most cases.   I was asked to join groups who noticed my Sop. Sax case.  While
> there is not as much OKOM as we would like, there is more now than in past
> years.  Pres. Hall, Palm Court, Natchez River boat, Fritzel's the Louis
> Armstrong show in the Bienville Hotel,  Court of two sisters, Daily jams in
> Jackson Square, Donna's and many other non-regularly scheduled events.  There
> are a couple of Publications which give events each week.  There is also a lot
> of street musicians and street entertainers to keep almost any one
> entertained.   I wish there was more, but N.O.has not been entirely devoid of
> OKOM.  If you go in August, you will find that not much is cooking as the
> musicians are largely out
> of town touring.  They leave because of the heat.  That is the way it was, but
> what the future will bring is UNKNOWN.  WE CAN ONLY HOPE AND PRAY.

Even though N.O. became a bit tawdry and the clubs became strip joints and T
shirt shops, there was always New Orleans Jazz in New Orleans, or Gretna. it
was just a bit harder to find, and perhaps off the beaten tourist path.

Even today, guys (many) like Jack Fine, a wonderful "New Orleans" trumpeter
from NYC who "retired" to N.O. 15 years ago, have bands performing in
addition to the above. And 25 years ago Pete Fountain and Al Hirt were
performing regularly in Hotels as I remember. For most jazz fans, it didn't
get much better than that.

IMO the future will bring more Jazz to New Orleans, IF the band leaders get
off their duffs and use a little imagination. As horrific as Katrina was,
and amid all the destruction, one side effect is a spotlight on New Orleans
music. Much like that spotlight of the Ken Burns Jazz program.

All one needs to do now is step into the light.


I've done 3 benefits so far. (All paying the sidemen $150 per gig) Generated
great interest in New Orleans Music. Sold beads for $1 per string, donated
the $1. If the girl buyers kissed me, I donated $5. If they flashed I
donated $10. On those  benefits, I netted a total of $11 after my donations.
However, I felt good, focused the audiences on New Orleans Jazz, donated
about all of my leader pay, helped raise $10,000 or so for charity and had
an absolute ball doing it.

Side effect of these benefit gigs was the generation of 8 gigs on my only
open nights for October and November.


At the Showboat Casino gigs, (16 per month with Paul Grant and The New
Orleans Swing) we are playing more New Orleans Jazz Tunes. Focusing the
audience on New Orleans Jazz. People shouting out "Go, New Orleans" etc.,
and second lining with us as we march from venue to venue inside the casino.
Result, an indefinite extension of our contract which we all thought would
be over by now.


Every Dixieland Band in the USA has a chance to increase PAYING gigs because
of what's happened. And to focus the audience on New Orleans Jazz. And you
don't have to be a rocket scientist or a marketing genius do this. Just put
a little THOUGHT into it, followed by a little ACTION.

Most OKOM bands, it seems, did not take advantage of the renewed interest in
Jazz that Burns et al generated. We are now in the same situation. Deja Vu.
Opportunity is knocking again. If bands and band leaders haven't yet figured
out what to do, perhaps we should start a thread about cryogenically
treating brains. 

Maybe doing that would help us open the door when opportunity knocks?

YCGGSOYA (You can't get gigs sitting on your ass)


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