Jazz is still alive in New Orleans for the passing crowd



  • I was walking by this long established tourist attraction on Bourbon Street the other night. Pretty good in your face music as an attraction in the Adult Disneyland of the South. The tuba player...or is that more correctly called a Sousaphone... took the lead for a few bars and that guy could play that thing. I never think of a tuba player in a Jazz band..but in New Orleans it is a traditional member of any deep roots local band apparently.

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  • You never know what you'll get in N.O. Once, I was at the Jazz Fair going between two venues and there were scattered "second choice" bands on just cheap platforms or kiosks between the major acts.

    As we approached one such band - they were playing a burning version of the Flintstones theme - I told the girl who was with me, "Hear these guys? I've got no idea who they are, but they're absolutely world class. The music world is so unpredictable you may never hear from them . . . but world class."

    After they were finished, we were talking to them and they invited us to a 02:00 jam session. They were Branford and Wynton Marsalis. 😱



  • A friend of mine has a Dixieland Jazz Band made up of trumpet, clarinet, trombone, keyboard, drums and tuba. The tuba fits right in.



  • The tuba is the backbone of the band. A good player is worth his weight in gold.

    If you are in NOLA, you gotta hit Frenchmen St. Once there, you will never want to leave. Don't miss The Spotted Cat. For the price of a drink, you can listen to so many great bands. Have fun.



  • You see the tuba displayed prominently in displays of New Orleans music history. Here is a shot taken in the Cabildo (Museum of Louisiana now days) of a display with a tuba right there in the middle with other valued artifacts along side of it. Sydney Bechet's soprano sax and the death mask of Oscar "Papa" Celestine being two of them. No doubt the tuba was played by some famous early New Orleans jazz man. The trombone was from a famous player I can't bring to mind at the moment but.... I remember the instrument was made by Conn because I searched it closely to find out. It's the collector quirk in me.

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  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz is still alive in New Orleans for the passing crowd:

    You never know what you'll get in N.O. Once, I was at the Jazz Fair going between two venues and there were scattered "second choice" bands on just cheap platforms or kiosks between the major acts.

    As we approached one such band - they were playing a burning version of the Flintstones theme - I told the girl who was with me, "Hear these guys? I've got no idea who they are, but they're absolutely world class. The music world is so unpredictable you may never hear from them . . . but world class."

    After they were finished, we were talking to them and they invited us to a 02:00 jam session. They were Branford and Wynton Marsalis. 😱

    I lived in New Orleans from 1974 - 1979. In around 1976 I went to an old bar/restaurant, located near Burgundy and Esplanade, where there were a band entertaining made up of young teenagers who were playing well beyond their years (as well as mine). This included a great young trumpet and sax player.
    The performance was very memorable to me. I remember that some of the band were brothers. My suspicion was, once the Marsalis family became known, that this is who we saw.
    Also in New Orleans at that time was Dr. Frank Minyard, the trumpet playing Ob/Gyn turned Coroner who would play in funeral processions, Mardi Gras Parades, etc. I was going through my medical training at that time so I always looked up to him.



  • @SSmith1226 There was a trumpet said to have been a gift to Frank Minyard from Pete Fountain on ebay some years ago. It was so inscribed on the bell. The brand was somewhat of a secondary line horn from a small maker that I can't bring to mind at the moment. Not a high dollar, nor professional, horn at any time. The seller offered it for more money than anybody was willing to pay.....several hundred dollars. The seller would relist it from time to time with no takers. Then some years went by and I saw the same horn again...maybe or maybe not the same owner.... for $500, or slightly more, again. It went away again with no apparent buyer.



  • No offense intended, but some might want to plug up some holes in their musical education. A tuba is an integral part of a brass ensemble, which is what street jazz is made of.



  • @Kehaulani Marching bands were what they were made for.....the ones you see in New Orleans music history. Old John Phillip Sousa had the sousaphone made by J. W. Pepper in 1893 as a tuba that would wrap around the body and be more suitable for marching bands. New Orleans had plenty of early bands that would march....like in the famous funerals. It stuck around as part of what the band would play for other occasions and fell into line as a traditional Dixieland jazz instrument.

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  • @Niner said in Jazz is still alive in New Orleans for the passing crowd:

    @SSmith1226 There was a trumpet said to have been a gift to Frank Minyard from Pete Fountain on ebay some years ago. It was so inscribed on the bell. The brand was somewhat of a secondary line horn from a small maker that I can't bring to mind at the moment. Not a high dollar, nor professional, horn at any time. The seller offered it for more money than anybody was willing to pay.....several hundred dollars. The seller would relist it from time to time with no takers. Then some years went by and I saw the same horn again...maybe or maybe not the same owner.... for $500, or slightly more, again. It went away again with no apparent buyer.

    Thanks. I will plug it in a a search on ebay incase it comes up again.
    One other aspect of the Wynton Marsalis story was that, prior to marrying my wife in New Orleans, my wife’s roommate’s father, George Jansen, was Wynton Marsalis’s Trumpet teacher. I found that out years later after Wynton Marsalis became famous. From what I understand , George Jansen studied with William Vacchiano.
    Talk about six degrees of separation.



  • @SSmith1226 I found an old note. The trumpet was a Vito. Vito was a student line sold by LeBlanc. I read that it was made actually by Holton. I don't have a photo unfortunately.



  • @Niner This sounds correct. Pete was given free clarinets by Vito Pascucci, the owner of LeBlanc Corp. 'Vito' became a brand name, of student line instruments, under the Holton/LeBlanc umbrella. Pete played his own model, gold plated keyed, small-bore LeBlanc clarinet. Vito was a very successful guy in the instrument business, but his son wanted no part of it after he died. His son sold the company/assets to what is now Conn-Selmer. I'm not surprised that Pete would give someone a free horn, as Vito had the habit of giving samples out to many people as gifts. I know this first hand as he gave free instruments to a top LA Clarinet player and free trumpets for his son. Sadly, LeBlanc (under Conn-Selmer) no longer makes the Pete Fountain clarinet.



  • @Tommy That's interesting to know. Thanks for the comment.



  • @Niner While I'm thinking about the comment about Pete Fountain and LeBlanc. I took a photo of a clarinet said to have been damaged in a Hurricane belonging to Pete Fountain. Noticed the rhinestones....wonder if they were something more precious than rhinestones.

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