It’s a rare Leap Year show with Guilty Pleasures and Forgotten Treasures. As the 29th of February rolls around we take stock of our circles round the sun… just for cosmic fun. With fellow travelers: The Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Sun Ra and Our Native Daughters.
It’s Carnival time, and we’re hitting the streets for feasting and toasting, dancing and prancing, masking and merriment. We’ll visit with Maroon Queen Cherice “Reesie” Harrison-Nelson of the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indian tribe, as she sews this year’s suit. Then we’ll chat with Cha Wa, who combine funk and feathers to create their Mardi Gras Indian-infused New Orleans brass band sound and style. Plus Mardi Gras music from the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, West Africa and Brazil, and right here in New Orleans.
We take a deep dive into the vaults of Blue Note Records, the independent label that helped put artists like Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey and Jimmy Smith on the map. Flagbearer of trad jazz, bebop and the cool school, Blue Note is still at it after 80 years and has expanded its wheelhouse to include vocalists like Norah Jones, Ryan Adams and Van Morrison. We talk with producer extraordinaire and Blue Note president Don Was about the label’s past and new directions. And we confab with record maven Michael Cuscuna about digging through Blue Note’s back catalog and giving life to unreleased and out-of-print masterpieces. Plus, we hear from Aaron Neville, Jason Moran and Lonnie Smith about their part in the legendary label’s history. It’s a parade of jazz, old and new, borrowed and blue… and then some!
Jackson, Mississippi blues guitarist Eddie Cotton, Jr. takes time out from his performance at the 2019 National Folk Festival to talk to us about his gospel roots and his mission to bring Mississippi music to the world. Then we sit in on a live set from New Orleans’s Chickie Wah Wah with Texan songman Willis Alan Ramsey.