02 May 2010

Spoiled Rotten: The Musical Overhaul of New Orleans Music

Due to a great friend, Dan, the VOR and I were able to obtain tickets to the 41st Annual New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival. The morning began a little nutty: I first had to pick-up my tickets/credentials for Mayor Landrieu's interfaith service, swearing-in, and gala; next I went to a little league mandatory safety clinic. While at the clinic I asked some other coaches to give me a primer for the fest. Roger and Skip provided me with excellent advice, especially when they suggested that we ride our bikes.

After the morning rounds I arrived back at the rental chateau and prepared for the afternoon. We mounted our street cruisers and pedaled our way up to the Fairgrounds. Once there we were thrilled to find not only a designated bicycle parking area but also the nicest lady who guarded our bikes the entire time (lucky thing because in my rush to get into the event I simply wrapped the lock around the VOR's bike and not mine). We moseyed into the event, got the lay of the land and headed over to watch The Rebirth Brass Band.

We were up close and got a great feel for the music. How the dude in the gray suit did not pass out from heat exhaustion I'll never know. While we were taking in the sounds a peculiar and familiar smell wafted over in our direction. The VOR looked at me and I confirmed yeah it was what she thought it was. For the record I never did touch, inhale, or taste the brownies with the "stuff" in them. But my next door neighbor (if you can call two houses out of five on the one mile of dirt road where I grew up "next door") was surely into "the stuff." Anytime he walked by there was a cloud of the stuff around him, he also grew it over the hill and sometimes would burn it, thus creating a huge inhale party for all of his buddies. I suppose his weird behavior turned me away from ever trying the stuff. Sad to say he committed suicide a few years back.

We then decided it was time to get something to eat. Me, the quail and andouille gumbo; her, the chicken and tasso over creole rice. Both were amazing!

Next it was off to see Allen Toussaint. Now here is it where it starts to get interesting (from a musical standpoint). A.T. was fantastic. He was in the WWOZ Jazz Tent which had a small pipe across which secreted a find mist of water to cool off the crowd. The mist created an auroa around the music which made it mystical. But we left his set early so we could make it back to the Acura stage so we could see Pearl Jam. I've always wanted to see them but I'm not a big concert kind of dude. After three songs I was a little ticked off which caused me to bluntly ask, I left A.T. to see this? I waited too long to see PJ, they peaked in the late 90s! Eddie Vedder's comments could have been said by Rod Stewart, they were predictable, plain, and stale. Yet, just a few yards away a career musician was playing his heart out and playing fresh music.

This post is a warning - watch out the music here can spoil you!

A good friend and classmate from divinity school was also in the crowd but we could not reach each other, but we did meet up in church this morning. During my first year at CRDS, Lawrence gave me my first introduction to Jazz, specifically with A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. It was interesting to have Lawrence in the congregation this morning for I really feel if he had not gave me that introduction I don't know if I would have ever been turned onto jazz or, thusly, onto New Orleans for that matter.

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