New Orleans is America’s Steam Valve. By which the rhythms of Africa entered the U.S.A. Filtered through Haiti, through Cuba, unfiltered…
No New Orleans? No Louis Armstrong. No Duke Ellington. No Benny Goodman. No Andrews Sisters. No Chuck Berry. No Elvis. No Charlie Parker. No Miles Davis. No Motown. No Rolling Stones. No Beatles. No Beyoncé… New Orleans is without a doubt the single most influential music city of all time.
Among many other things, music carries with it elements of the characters of the human souls from which it was drawn. Americans have a reputation for being brash, open. A walk. A talk. This is born out in American music and if not born of it it is joined at the hip with the music’s progenitors. The attitude, if it didn’t spread from New Orleans, was spread by it.
But as absolutely essential to American — and world — culture as it is, New Orleans remains an anomaly. Like Hong Kong to China and Singapore to Malaysia, it sits apart. On the edge. You have the elements of the culture where they’ve seeped in elsewhere, and you have the living, sighing culture itself. If that’s what you’re after…you’re just gonna have to not visit, but immerse yourself in the place. Easy to do. Settle back. Let the Big Easy’s sultry, laden atmosphere seep deep down into the marrow of your soul. Let it lighten your step and ease your stride. Let it whet your appetite for great food and good drink, amazing music and fascinating people.
New Orleans is a perfect Afro-Caribbean storm…
It’s certainly the most mysterious, and maybe even the most truly American city of them all.
A note about the photo up top: That’s Bourbon Street, in the French Quarter, with the Old Absinthe House at the left, Fats Pinchon on the bill. Fats was a piano player that at one time had a big band which included Dave Bartholomew (he is also rumored to have fathered monster session drummer Earl Palmer, who you have heard many, many, many times!). The place — the oldest still-existing bar in New Orleans — is hugely popular.
|New Orleans Bars & Clubs: The bar & club scene in New Orleans is justifiably mythic! And filled inch for inch by more music than any other place on earth! More here...|
|What's On in New Orleans: Whisperin' Jay Mazza's rundown on notable happenings in the city, here...|
|Our Books on New Orleans Music: By somebody who was there front & center, backstage and backyard barbecue! More here...|
|Our Matrix: The Matrix of Curations is a 21st century version of pre-Civil War African Americans' "grapevine telegraph", from which we get the expression "I heard it through the grapevine." We use it to enable the possibility of opening up the world of music and arts as it's never been open before. For New Orleans musicians and artists, go to Curation Categories up top of any matrix page and click on the red New Orleans button. The Matrix Online is here!|