October 27, 2016
There may be no better place than New Orleans to explore the ties of family and tradition in jazz. This episode of Jazz Night in America visits the Crescent City to hear two local musical giants: singer John Boutté and drummer Shannon Powell. The video documentary presents highlights from their shared concert at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, while the radio episode also spends time with each of them at their homes, tracing their familial roots and exploring why they've chosen to stay local.
Powell was born and raised in Treme, one of the U.S.'s oldest black neighborhoods. He took us down the street to his church, where he grew up with a tambourine in one hand and a Bible in the other. For Powell, the church has always been a place where music and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.
Boutté, too, says he's Treme to the bone; his large Creole-Catholic family goes back generations in New Orleans. He, like Powell, grew up playing music in the church. Though he went to college for business, he returned to his musical roots when he realized that the human voice was powerful enough to move people to tears of joy or pain.
Boutté and Powell capture the essence of this music and this city as only two natives can. Each man displays that particularly New Orleans sense of pride and swagger, rooted in the church and combined with a deep sense of family, musical and cultural history.
Shannon Powell (drums, vocals), John Boutté (vocals, tambourine), Roderick Paulin (soprano sax), Chris Severin (electric bass), Charlie Gabriel (tenor sax), Kyle Roussel (piano), Todd Duke (guitar), Loren Pickford (alto sax, flute), Mark McGrain (trombone), Christopher Kohl (clarinet), Wendell Brunious (trumpet), Herman LeBeaux (drums), Nobu Ozaki (bass).
Producers: Alex Ariff, Josie Holtzman, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Consultants: Scott Aiges, Paul Maasen; Editors: Claire Collins, Nick Michael; Audio Supervisor: Suraya Mohamed; Production Assistant: Nikki Boliaux; Concert Audio Engineer: Damond Jacob; Concert Mix: David Tallacksen; Videographers: Alex Ariff, Josie Holtzman, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Concert Production Manager: Jason Doyle; Host: Christian McBride; Executive Producers: Gabrielle Armand, Anya Grundmann, Amy Niles; Special Thanks: Paul Siegel, WWNO, WWOZ, The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center; Funded in part by: The Argus Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote FoundationCopyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.
© 2016 WBGO
November 27, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.The Lambreaux family meets with New Orleans city planners concerning a national jazz center. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)
At the end of Treme's season three, with only an abbreviated season four to come, we find many characters walking away from opportunities. Spoiler alert for what follows.
Lt. Colson leaves his job with an emphatic physical statement. The Lambreaux family walks away from the national jazz center project in Congo Square. Janette tries to leave her own restaurant. Antoine seems to be accepting that his calling is more in teaching than performing. Davis calls it quits on his music career. Annie is on the verge of quitting on Davis. Everett leaves town, his story done but with lasting change unresolved. Even LaDonna, among the most willfully determined characters in the show, isn't prepared to file a civil suit to follow up on the mistrial of her rapist.
To help recap the soundtrack of the action, here once again is WBGO's Josh Jackson.
© 2012 WBGO
November 19, 2012. Posted by WBGO.Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce) and his student Robert (Jaron Williams) take a minute with trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, playing himself, at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)
Nearly three seasons in, the character Davis still puzzles many of us who watch the show Treme.
He certainly cares. Whether leading historical tours or launching R&B operas for royalty-abuse awareness, or throwing himself into various protests, he has a winning drive to do right by his hometown. Davis lives to participate in the New Orleans music community, and the earnest charm of his homerism isn't lost on other characters around him.
At the same time, he's a whiny brat. He's uncomfortable with the privilege of his upbringing, yet moans when its largesse can't rescue his schemes or buy him acceptance. He aspires to work with the top tier of musicians in town, but clearly isn't on their level, and doesn't put in the effort to fix that. And as a boyfriend, he's so self-absorbed as to take Annie's presence for granted, even meddling drunkenly in her successes — not to mention cheating on her. It is implied, though never stated, that he's a tiny bit jealous of Annie's success.
We heard his intrusion as Annie's Bayou Cadillac band tracked "This City" in the studio. Then we hear him working out an angry new song called "I Quit" at his piano. For the rest of this episode in music, here's Josh Jackson of WBGO.
© 2012 WBGO
November 12, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.Desiree (Phyllis Montana-LeBlanc) takes the initiative to document shady construction projects. (Image Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO)
After the musical bonanza that was the Mardi Gras episode, things slow down for some plot development in episode eight of Treme's third season. The writing team sticks to its other strengths: the minutiae of a broken police system, how to run a restaurant, bureaucracy in action and various romantic interludes.
But a few live music scenes do make it to screen. Here's Josh Jackson of WBGO for some analysis.
© 2012 WBGO
November 5, 2012. Posted by Joshua Jackson.
The three seasons of Treme have all found their way to Mardi Gras; appropriately, the day is always depicted with all the spectacle, vice and musical mayhem you might expect. Josh Jackson of WBGO returns to break down the many musical scenes in this year's go-round.
© 2012 WBGO