From Great Britain to the Big Easy, we explore the sounds of musical and social breakouts. First, we hear how British blues pioneer John Mayall broke out of England with his band the Bluesbreakers, bringing British blues to a larger audience. We’ll hear some of Mayall’s sources and contemporaries, like Big Maceo and Eric Clapton. Then, it’s butt shakes and backbeats with Big Freedia, the Queen Diva of New Orleans Bounce, a rhythmic dance music with sources in hip hop and rap, as well as much earlier jazz and R&B. We’ll explore some of those sources, and strut with Kermit Ruffins and Sam Morgan, head “Down Yonder” with Smiley Lewis, and “Take it to the Street” with Rebirth Brass Band.
Photo credit: David Gomez
It’s a two-hour walk through streets of the city as we dive into two great eras of New Orleans music. First, it’s the 1940s and 50s R&B hit factory with studio man Cosimo Matassa, producer, arranger, trumpet player Dave Bartholomew who passed away recently, drummer Earl Palmer and more. We also chat with The>Meters—Art Neville, George Porter, Leo Nocentelli and Zigaboo Modeliste—and we get to the bottom of the bottom, find out what’s in the pocket and get a definition of funk from the four men who continue to dish it out.
This Independence Day weekend, we celebrate the cultural minglings in New Orleans, the city whose unparalleled diversity gave birth to some of the most revolutionary sounds in American music. We visit New Orleans’ French Quarter Festival: a free, homegrown, four-day annual event featuring a vast array of local music presented on stages throughout the city’s oldest neighborhood. We’ll hear from Soul Queen Irma Thomas, piano patriarch Ellis Marsalis, and the Preservation Hall Brass Band. We’ll also catch the French-Creole jazz of Don Vappie and Evan Christopher, Cajun dance music from Bruce Daigrepont, vaudeville and gospel from Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony, Klezmer-funk fusion from the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and traditional jazz from Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band. Join the festivities with this holiday display of musical fireworks.