April 23, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
Meet Paul Barbarin, one of the most important people in the history of New Orleans music, and the "how" we call jazz.
The Barbarin family constitutes one of the original lines of Creole musicians who were present at the creation of a new music. Paul's father, Isidore, played the alto horn in The Onward Brass Band, one of the early traditional brass bands in the city.
Before I moved to New York, I used to work at WWOZ in New Orleans. I started as a volunteer, operating the board for a woman named Betty Rankin. Every Saturday morning, while most people my age had hangovers from Friday night, I was in a tiny peach-colored building in Louis Armstrong Park, playing LPs, cassettes, and the occasional CD for a lady who wanted no business with those details. She spent her ninety minutes as "Big Mama," the host of "The Moldy Fig Jam." I was 22, and this was the most amazing radio I had ever heard in my life. She told stories about every jazz musician in the city who had ever picked up an instrument with the purpose of playing traditional New Orleans jazz.
As it happened, Big Mama was an associate curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive. She handled the extensive oral history of New Orleans' music, and she knew both the collection as well as the musicians' whose lives she had helped to document. On any given Saturday, she talked about Paul Barbarin as if he were in the studio with us. It was the beginning of my post-college, real world education. On one such occasion, it was the first time I had ever heard his song, "Bourbon Street Parade." She told her audience about the street parades, how Barbarin kept that tradition alive. In the 1960s, he revived the Onward Brass Band, the name of the group that his father played a part. In fact, Paul Barbarin died in a parade, leading the band. [While I'm no fan of death, that's a great way to shuffle off this mortal coil.]
Years later, on the cusp of 2002, I was the field producer for NPR's Toast of the Nation. We're at the Village Vanguard, with Michael White and The Original Liberty Jazz Band. Hear them play "Bourbon Street Parade" from that evening.
When I hear this song, I remember how I got this far into jazz. Because I live with music.
PS Watch the video of Paul Barbarin's funeral. The musicians are playing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee."
Watching that is knowing why New Orleans matters. Onward.
© 2008 WBGO
April 18, 2008. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
It has been amazing to know Dee Dee Bridgewater, and an honor to hear her read my name occasionally in the credits for JazzSet. And what an artistic career! Her latest recording, "Red Earth," a collaboration with Malian musicians, is just another reminder of how truly hip she is.
Long before she was the host of NPR's JazzSet (a program lovingly produced here at WBGO), Dee Dee Bridgewater was a part of our annual New Year's Eve coast-to-coast celebration, Toast of the Nation. From the ballroom at the Grand Hyatt in New York, Bridgewater greeted 1996 on the East Coast with music from her then recent recording, Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver.
© 2008 WBGO
December 31, 2007. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
If the dinner from Blue Smoke didn't get you salivating like Pavlov's dog, here's another menu highlight from Toast of the Nation, courtesy The Dakota in Minneapolis.
While you're hearing a stew of Cuban/Gospel/Earth Wind and Fire, you would no doubt enjoy the following special menu for tonight from Executive Chef Jack Riebel. For the record, the chef will be happy to discuss vegetarian/dietary options for you. And for those of you who could not stomach The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Dakota proudly supports locally owned, independently & sustainably operated farms. Their meat is all natural with no added hormones or antibiotics.
Carpaccio of Lamb - lamb’s lettuce, truffle pecorino, black radish
House Smoked Salmon brioche, quail egg, hollandaise (domestic caviar supplement)
Belgian Endive & Green Apple Salad with niman ranch bacon, gruyere cheese
Oyster Stew “Edna Lewis” - salsify, chive, common crackers
Seared Foie Gras - cipolinni onion, polenta, huckleberry
Peking Duck Breast - wild rice, scallion, fennel, truffle honey
“Surf & Turf” - ribeye of american kobe, tempura prawn, jalapeño ponzu
Crab Crusted Walleye - jumbo lump crab, honji menji mushroom, coconut broth
Lofton Ridge Venison Loin - parsnip hash, candied chestnut, pancetta
Cabbage Rolls - black bean, goat cheese, red pepper sauce
Hawiian Blue Marlin - kahlua pork, maui onion, mu-shu cake
Trifle - tropical fruit, candied macadamia nuts, strawberry sorbet
Baked Alaska - hot chocolate, rumpleminz
Egg Nog Trio - bread pudding, traditional, brûlé
Chocolate Souffle - valrhona chocolate, vanilla anglaise
Figgy Pudding -brandy caramel, rum raisin ice cream
Don't forget to save room for champage...
© 2007 WBGO