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Treme Fall Festival – A Celebration of faith, neighborhood, music and culture

25th September 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer

Trumpeter Glen Hall III, better known as Lil Glen, is glad to be returning to the Treme Fall Festival (Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1, 2017). “It’s in the perfect area,” says Hall, who, growing up around his Andrews family cousins, knows the Tremé neighborhood well. “The bands they hire aren’t just any band, they’re all local right from within the community,” he adds.

When Hall takes the stage at 2:05 p.m. on Saturday, it will be the second time he’s led his group, Backatown, at the event that performed at the free festival’s first year. Last year, the trumpeter sat in with two of his aforementioned cousins, trumpeter James Andrews and trombonist Glen David Andrews. “They are my go-to people when I want to do or say some wilder things when I’m on stage,” Hall, says with a laugh. He’ll also stop in for a reunion of sorts when the Baby Boyz Brass Band, the group he once led, hits at 4 p.m. accompanied by the Zulu Tramps.



Presented by the Historic Faubourg Treme Assoc., the Treme Fall Festival, which benefits the continued repairs of St. Augustine Catholic Church, is actually a three-part event. A Patron Party will take place on Friday evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jazz and Heritage Center, 1225 N, Rampart St., with the admission price of $100 including food, drinks and entertainment by the Christien Bold Band featuring Naydja Cojoe.

Saturday, the fest takes it to the streets, Henriette Delille and Gov. Nicholls, filled with food and craft booths and to the wide-open, grassy churchyard where some of the best of New Orleans music will encourage folks to dance from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Appropriately, the third element of the Treme Fest will be held on Sunday at the historic St. Augustine Church, the oldest African-American church in the nation. In recognition of its 176th anniversary, a gospel mass will be conducted at 10 a.m. followed by a gospel and jazz concert. It includes the St. Augustine, Holy Faith Temple and St. Peter Claver choirs, the Tanya Boutte Quartet and Mark “Tuba” Smith and Friends band. It is free though it is advised to get to the church early to procure a seat.

The connections between the musicians who perform outdoors on Saturday — as well as many members of the audience — are numerous. For instance, drummer Walter Lundy, who’s setting the rhythms for Hall’s Backatown has also laid them down with trombonist Corey Henry and his Treme Funktet that holds the place of honor to close out Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.

Hall, 22, is not foolin’ around for his set with his band boasting three saxophones, two guitars, bass and drums.

“For a long time I definitely wanted three saxophone players – alto, tenor and baritone – just to have that wide range and so I could add some harmonies while I do some vocal stuff,” Hall explains. The trumpeter admits that the membership of Backatown, which includes NOCCA and UNO graduates like himself, remains fluid.

“Since we’re so young and all the musicians are great, a lot of people tend to try to steal them from me so I’m trying to keep them engaged,” says the affable Hall, again with a laugh.

The ensemble will primarily be presenting Hall’s original material with a few, familiar cover tunes in the mix.

“We couldn’t get away from playing ‘Money Back’ that was written by James (Andrews) and recorded by the Treme Brass Band. We changed up the vibe and we added like an almost a James Brown funk to it,” Hall says. The group also does revised version of Allen Toussaint’s “Going Down” that he arranged.

Through his studies, Hall, who came up under his cousins James and Glen David Andrews, continues to be inspired by his cousin Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and is presently a member of the Rebirth Brass Band, does have a background in jazz and feels it has a presence in Backatown’s music.

“I think since New Orleans is so deep into jazz, it’s kinda hard to stay away from some,” says Hall while explaining that his band’s style is more New Orleans funk- and soul-oriented. “The traditional horns are still there when it comes to collective improvisation. What separates New Orleans from a lot of places is that here jazz can mean anything — whatever it means to people. There are jazz elements inside modern brass bands. I think New Orleans culture is opened-minded.

At the Treme Fall Festival, the cord that links artists like traditional jazz clarinetist Doreen Ketchens (11 a.m.), modern jazz artists bassist Mitchell Player and vocal great Germaine Bazzle (noon), magician of both styles drummer Shannon Powell (3:15 p.m.) and the Hot 8 Brass Band (5:30 p.m.) can be realized.

The festival stands as an all around celebration as it honors the 176th anniversary of the much-loved St. Augustine Church, its home in the Tremé and the music and people who continue to flourish in the neighborhood.

This article originally published in the September 25, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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