- Thursday, September 01, 2011
- by Jonathan Martin
New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz, does it's own thing with Jazz. For this reason, modern Jazz musicians experience a bit of a culture shock when they first visit New Orleans.
If you go to New York you can likely find a place to hear Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool, Post-Bop, Funk, Fusion, Smooth, Acid, Jazz-Rock, or any of a number of other sub-genres of Jazz played live on almost any night of the week.
Doing Their Own Thing
If you go to New Orleans, you're only going to find New Orleans Jazz being played wherever you go every night of the week.
It's not traditional Jazz, or Dixieland. It's not straight ahead Jazz either. It's somewhere in between. New Orleans Jazz utilizes swing feel, improvisation, traditional chord changes and song forms.
"Hot Jazz" Continued
It's a continuation of the "Hot Jazz" tradition created and played at the turn of the century and continued through the 1930's. The music of Buddy Bolden, Kid Ory, Louis Armstrong, and the other pioneers of early Jazz from New Orleans.
New Orleans Jazz, above all, is meant for dancing, and mostly for moving people down the street. Whether it's a second line or a Mardi Gras parade, the music keeps eveybody going forward.
Somewhere along the line mainstream Jazz took a different path from the tradition that began in New Orleans. But, the Crescent City kept to it's own course.
Lyrical Inventions in Intimate Settings
When big bands roamed the earth, New orleans musicians stayed in their small ensembles. When Bebop changed the way we understand improvisation, New Orleans musicians continued inventing lyrical improvisations within the actual chord changes to the songs.
This is how you can understand New Orleans Jazz today. It may sound dated at first, but when you realize the songs are new, and original; it becomes fresh all over again.
So, where can go to hear good New Orleans Jazz? Here's a quick list of some of the best venues to find some great Jazz in New Orleans.
First of all, go to Frenchmen Street. Just out of the French Quarter on the other side of Esplanade.
Frenchmen Street Jazz Clubs
626 Frenchmen Street New Orleans , La 70116
This is where Ellis Marsalis plays regularly, and his sons, Delfaeyo and Jason. They have an upstairs stage and bar, and a bar downstairs with the live show piped in from upstairs. Various performer present two shows a night seven days a week, starting at 8pm and 10pm. There is an admission fee, but well worth it every night. Check their site for acts, times, and dates.
623 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
The home of the famous New Orleans Jazz Vipers, among many other fantastic musicians. They offer three shows daily starting around 4pm, 6pm, and 10pm. Check the door for admissions charges, but be ready to TIP the band. Check their site for acts, times, and dates.
618 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
With shows starting nightly around 6pm and 10pm, you can find some great music to relax to. Look for The Hot Club of New Orleans, an ensemble with guitar, violin and clarinet, it's a Hot Jazz treat for any occasion. Check their site for acts, times, and dates.
536 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, La 70116
Probably the only smoke free music venue in New Orleans. The Three Muses offers an eclectic mix of live performances starting around 4:30pm for Happy Hour, and a second show around 10pm. Check their site for acts, times, and dates.
534 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, La 70116
The oldest live music venue on Frenchmen Street, Blue Nile features a wide array of national and international acts in two rooms, with state of the art sound and lights. You can find Blues, or Brass Bands, among other high quality live music with shows starting early and late. Check their site for acts, times, and dates.
Frenchmen Street is Where It's At
Now, Frenchmen Street isn't the only place to hear good New Orleans Jazz in New Orleans. But, if you want to avoid the tourist trap that has become of Bourbon Street, and want to stay away from some of the seedier areas of the city; then, Frenchmen is the place for you. It's where the locals go when they want to get out and have a good time.
Have you been to New Orleans lately? Know anything about the music scene there? Let us know in the Comments below ...
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