Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jazz Synonymous with New Orleans Identity

Art-Reach is pleased to announce this year’s theme for the annual fundraising brunch: “Dixieland Jam: A Celebration of New Orleans Jazz.”  Jazz has been a part of New Orleans just as much as Mardi Gras and Cajun cuisine since the turn of the twentieth century, and it has influenced music across the nation and the world from the time of its inception right up through the present day. 

In the beginning, it gleaned influences from the brass bands that were popular at the time and also from West African and Creole styles.  As the two modes merged, the result was a rhythmic, syncopated, improvised ragtime with cornets, clarinets, and trombones bleating out different tunes against a rhythmic section of drums, guitar, and bass.  And while we may not be lucky enough to have been among the saloon-goers of the 1920s who danced and swayed along to the hot new thing called jazz, we are lucky enough to have Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Mortonchannels on our personal Pandora and iTunes accounts to enjoy a little nostalgia.

On top of that, jazz is still alive and well and is celebrated at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  Festival-goers can expect to hear new jazz and gospel artists performing their own compositions as well as already famous stars drawing on New Orleans jazz from eras gone by, as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan did at the 2006 festival following Hurricane Katrina. But whether they play old or new music, the one thing that all jazz musicians seem to have in common is that they find solace and resonance in jazz as the music that gives the city part of its identity, helps it overcome hard times, and makes good times that much better.

-By Alli Blum

  • The 18th annual Art-Reach Jazz Brunch is around the corner, kicking off at 11:30am tomorrow. Don't forget to turn your clocks back for daylight savings time in order to be on time for the festivities.
  • If this post is the only article visible, be sure to check our older posts for more information on this event and many others! Visit our archives in the right hand column or click "Older Posts".


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