Thursday, June 16, 2011


it does not seem a distant memory seeing carrie dancing to the dirty dozen brass band down in sarasota at the ringling art museum & thinking that this music would lift new orleans & it's incredible music scene up into the big time. at the time, james booker was still alive & katrina existed only as an abstact possibility in a world of seemingly deeper & clearer certitude.

booker died soon after & the dozen never exploded onto the music scene the way that anyone & everyone just knew they would if only anyone & everyone could see them perform live. we also know now that possibilites spin through the certain world in endless combinations but every so often they manifest in astonishing ways both good & bad.

before all that, right about the time carrie was dancing away, a group of young black kids started playing together in the treme neighborhood. they would take the lessons of the dirty dozen & move them further into contemporary music & on into the 21st century. the marching brass bands of new orleans would begin to incorporate funk & modern jazz & hip-hop while working within the brass band tradition. following the great modern dictum, they were making their tradition new. in fact, they were making "it out of a mouthful of air."

just last year, nan & i got to see the rebirth at the ogden museum of art in new orleans. to say that they rocked the joint is indulging in understatement. what struck me most about their nearly flamable performance was the mix of the crowd. high school kids, tulane preppies, businessmen & the blue bloods of new orleans high society were not just tolerating the rebirth while sipping cocktails; they were dancing their asses off.

i suppose i could write more here about the need to see new orleans music live but i'll save that for another time. right now, i just want to salute the rebirth on their 28th birthday. most marriages don't last that long nowadays.

we're hoping to see them in a second-line next year during mardi gras.

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