Filed Under:  Entertainment

Signs that Autumn is in the air

17th September 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer

The city experienced a touch of autumn last week when a cool front came through and relieved our citizenry from the intense heat. It was especially welcomed following the suffering of so many Louisiana residents who lost power during and following Hurricane Isaac.

In New Orleans, another sign that summer is almost over is the beginning of the fall festival season. Many might remember that years back, spring was considered this city’s only music fest time of year. All that changed with many organizations jumping on the bandwagon to take advantage of often cool, delicious weather during the au­tumn months.

First up is the Harvest the Music series that begins on Wednesday, September 19, at Lafayette Square. The proceeds from the food and beverage sales at this very worthy weekly event benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. It’s a non-profit organization that year-round helps to ensure that people have some place to turn for nourishment in times of need. It is also on the spot following disaster situations.

The series kicks off with two, popular local groups that share a Latin-tinge. The Iguanas, that has been bringing its roots rock meets Tex-Mex meets New Orleans sounds to fans since 1989, headlines the show. The boogaloo and Latin soul band, Los-Po-Boy-Citos open.

The ambitious programming includes artists such as Dr. John and the Lower 911 featuring Jon Cleary (Sept. 26), the North Mississippi Allstars with Alvin Youngblood Hart (Oct. 17) and the mighty ReBirth Brass Band (Oct. 24).

The bands strike up at the Harvest the Music series (on Wednesdays, Sept. 19 through Oct. 24) at 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Jazz in the Park Is Back

Presented by the People United For Armstrong Park, the Jazz in the Park concert series debuted last spring with the purpose of bringing activity into the under-utilized site. The PUFAP organization was particularly interested in embracing and inviting the folks from the Tremé neighborhood to enjoy Armstrong Park, an area from which many rightly felt they’d been excluded. As experienced in the spring, at these inventively booked, weekly, Thursday evening shows the seniors from the neighborhood are considered VIPs with a tent, chairs and other amenities provided for them.

Energy is the word to describe the first concert of the free series on Thursday, September 20, with vocalist Charmaine Neville taking the stage at 5 p.m. followed by Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. at 6:15. The wonderful setting further enhances the music and purpose of the events. The stage is set up on the right side of the Municipal Auditorium (as viewed from N. Rampart Street) and thus the tree-shaded, grassy area becomes a perfect place to relax and enjoy the music while dancers can get it going on the paved area in front of the bandstand.

Variety marks the musical offerings on the concert schedule, which runs from September 20 through November 1. A taste includes jazz vocalists Stephanie Jordan and John Boutte, funk from the Tremé Funktet as well as drummer Russell Batiste and brass band sounds from the Stooges, Soul Rebels and, of course, the Tremé Brass Band.

Take note that the show on September 27 starts early with the fine Africa Brass ensemble opening at 4 p.m. For more information on the free concert series go to www.armstrongpark.org.

Bazley Goes Gospel

Tony Oulabula Bazley is best recognized as a veteran New Orleans modern jazz drummer who has played with many of the greats. The globe-trotting musician, who began working the drums when he was just 13, gigged with legendary saxophonist Eric Dolphy during his stay in Los Angeles, recorded with jazz guitar master Wes Mont­gomery and made live and studio dates with an array of this city’s finest jazz musicians in both modern and traditional settings.

Bazley, 78, focuses his attention on gospel music on Sunday, September 23, when he presents the “6th Annual Gospel Music Extravaganza — Praising the Master” at the Haven Trinity Methodist Church, 1238 Joliet Street. His purpose in initiating the yearly concert was to increase membership at the uptown place of worship.

The drummer’s trio will include bassist Chris Severin and keyboardist Richard Knox, both of whom are also renowned in the jazz community. The ensemble will do some back-up work specifically for saxophonist Michael Pierce. Bazley also plans to play solo on a piece titled “Playing for the Master.”

Central to the program are performances by numerous gospel vocalists from around the city who will either be accompanied by the church’s organist, bring their own accompanists or perform a cappella. In part, they include the always popular Jo “Cool” Davis, Pigeon Town Bell, Udrella Upshaw, Vanshaw Moore and Greg Probst.

The Praising the Master gospel concert begins at 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Bazley advises to get there early as “the place is always packed.”

Talkin’ About Festivals

Most New Orleans musicians would agree that the best place to get exposure is performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 26 to May 5, 2013). One never knows who might be in the crowd and catch your act – a national or international festival producer, a record producer or someone with pull in the biz.

Now is the time to get it together to apply for a spot at the Fest. The deadline for applications is midnight on October 1, 2012. They can be made online at www.jazz­fest.com/apply or by sending a press kit. The kit should include a recording, bio, photo, contact information and email address. It can be sent or dropped off at: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival,

Attention: Music Production, 336 Camp Street – Suite 250, New Orleans, LA 70130.

This article was originally published in the September 17, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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