Monday, September 15, 2008

Jazzebel

 
One of my new favorite blogs to read is Miss Ginger's. She has been keeping us up-to-date on how she and her fellow Houstonites (Houstonians?) are dealing with Hurricane Ike. I enjoy her sense of humor very much, and one of the things I most enjoy about her is her unabashed love for the city of New Orleans! If you've been reading me for a while, you know how much I love the place. It's a toss-up as to which I love the most: the music or the food? Take away either of them, and the city just wouldn't be the same. But since I've made this a Beth's Music Moment, I'd better write about the music, eh?
 
Many of the styles of music in New Orleans are closely related: Cajun and Zydeco are two examples. The two kissing-est cousins, though, are Jazz and Blues.
 
It's hard to say which came first. Both are rooted in the late 1800's and the oral tradition of Africans and African Americans. As a port city, New Orleans was a major slave-trade port; on Sundays, slaves were allowed to congregate in Congo Square, where they sang their native songs, danced, played drums, and shared their oral history. The unique mixture of cultures in New Orleans all contributed to the jazz sound. The strange amalgam of Mississippi delta field songs, spirituals, ragtime, Caribbean and Creole rhythms, and European-American sounds solidified into a uniquely American sound.
 
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, small jazz bands played at gatherings and funerals, but the place to go to hear and dance to jazz was Storyville, New Orleans's red-light district from 1896 to 1917. Legendary musicians such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton all got their start in the Storyville honkytonks. When the Storyville district was shut down in 1917, many musicians migrated to Chicago, Kansas City, and New York, providing the start of the fine music  in those cities.
 
What began in New Orleans is still a grand tradition there, and the talent of the musicians is astounding. When wandering the French Quarter, you might be lucky enough to see a procession with a jazz band--sometimes for a wedding, sometimes for a funeral. (Personally, I can think of no better send-off than a jazz funeral. Pay attention, Ken! Not that I'm planning on shuffling off this mortal coil anytime soon!) Step into any club with live music, and you could hear a great blues guitarist, or a Zydeco band jamming on accordion and washboard vest. Head over to the Funky Butt and you might get lucky enough to see a Marsalis brother. With a stop at Fritzel's, you'll get to hear European-style jazz, and no visit to New Orleans is complete without a stop at Preservation Hall, where you'll be hot, crowded, and uncomfortable on wooden benches...while you listen to the best traditional and authentic jazz that you'll ever get to hear. Your ears will be happy, I guar-ohn-tee!  
 
It all comes back to New Orleans. A unique city that birthed a unique, American style of music. I don't know how it could have happened anywhere else.
 
First, we'll start with a snippet of a jazz funeral. They're playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" and holding up photographs of the departed. After that, let's watch one of New Orleans's native sons, Harry Connick, Jr., perform the Allen Toussaint song, "Yes We Can Can."The words to that song seem especially pertinent at this moment in time. Harry got his start  playing venues in the French Quarter. Remember what I said about the talent of the musicians there? I rest my case.
 

Yes We Can Can

Now is the time for all good men
To get together with one another
Iron out our problems
And iron out our quarrels
And try to live as brothers
And try to find a piece within
Without stepping on one another
And do respect the women of the world
Just remember you all have mothers
Make this land a better land
Than the world in which we live
And help each man be a better man
With the kindness that you give
I know we can make it
I know darn well we can work it out
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can't we
If we wanna get yes we can can
I know we can make it a world
I know we can make it if we try
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, great, got your money
Yes we can, I know we can can

Take care of the children
The children of the world
They're our strongest hope for the future
The little bitty boys and girls

Make this land a better land
Than the world in which we live
And help each man be a better man
With the kindness that you give
I know we can make it (I know that we can)
I know darn well we can work it out
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, why can't we
If we wanna get yes we can can
I know we can make it a world
I know we can make it if we try
Oh yes we can, I know we can can
Yes we can can, great, got your money
Yes we can, I know we can can


 

 

11 comments:

krmprm said...

Certainly agree with you that New Orleans is
the birthplace of Jazz and the Blues, spiced
up with a blend of all the others you mentioned.
I really enjoy Jazz, and it is Son's favorite type
of music.  He vacationed there before Katrina.
I haven't been there, but I have heard the
Preservation Hall band in concert.  They were
marvelous!   I love the lyrics of the "Can-can
Song".   Have a good week.    Pat

buckoclown said...

I will have to go out and get a Kazoo :o)

Hearing the music and seeing the streets makes me long for a return visit.  Perhaps in the fall of 2009.

shrbrisc said...

You and ken crack me up I love the convo and the music
hugs
Sherry

dbp2000 said...

Love the jazz and blues!  Thanks for sharing all this info and for the great pictures!

Donna

sybilsybil45 said...

I woudl just LOVE to visit New Orleans... To here that Jazz music would send me into heaven !!  My Brother in Law John would just have to come with me though as he would NEVER NEVER ever let me go there wothout him LOL... Thanks for sharing...  LOve  Sybil xx

http://journals.aol.co.uk/sybilsybil45/villagelife/


geocachelinda66 said...

I also love the sound of a jazz band.  Linda

sangrialel said...

I have never been to New Orleans but I do love Miss Gingers blog!  Linda

queeniemart said...

i swear if i live long enough i am going to NO and while there, i am calling you and you can walk me thru these magical streets!! XO

frankandmary said...

I am a huge fan of Satchmo. He didn't stay in NO for long(left at 21), but his influence was still major. I don't think you can get better tone, even now. ~Mary

amy122389 said...

I would have Harry Connick, Jr.s illegitemate children.  Just sayin'.  LOL

~Amy

wwfbison said...

I loved the videos, Harry is awesome!  I think NOLA is a magical city ~ I had the time of my life when I was there.  I can recall the dark, smoky clubs and fabulous music and the street performers...well some of them brought me to tears with their music.  Great entry Beth.
Lisa