Southern Louisiana in the early 1960s was a hotbed of musical creativity among youngsters who'd been raised listening to French-language country music and Fats Domino. They combined those — and other — influences to make what's now called "swamp pop." Joe Barry was a pioneer in this area who should have been much bigger.
Any piano player worth his fingers in New Orleans has been influenced by Professor Longhair. C. R. Gruver was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and moved to the city six years ago. He now plays piano for a band called, The New Orleans Suspects.
At Gruver's house, above the antique upright piano, are portraits of the Professor and two of his most gifted disciples — James Booker and Mac Rebbenack, a.k.a. Dr. John. It's a modern-day triumvirate of piano talent. Here's a lesson Gruver gave reporter Gwen Thompkins on the related styles of the three players.
The fifth annual Joan of Arc Parade walks through the French Quarter on Sunday, celebrating the 601st birthday of the unofficial patron saint of New Orleans. We go Inside the Arts for a sneak peek at this Medieval Krewe.
The pantheon of great New Orleans musicians is an extensive one, and there is no doubt that pianist Ellis Marsalis holds a richly deserved place in its upper echelons. His accomplishments as a musician and educator are of the highest order.
WWNO's Fred Kasten recently interviewed Marsalis for the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park's new "Talkin' Jazz" live interview series at the Old U.S. Mint, touching on topics such as his formative experiences growing up in New Orleans and the Jefferson Parish community of Shrewsbury.
Albinas Prizgintas discusses his musical influences and career.
The 2013 Big Easy classical arts awards will be handed out next week. A highlight of the event will be the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation to Albinas Prizgintas, musical director at Trinity Church. He’s renowned for his classic training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. But he has a surprising range — and techniques.
Whether you’re stopping in at Promenade fabric store on St. Charles Avenue for five yards of Chanel or a spool of thread, Herbert Halpern welcomes you warmly. He looks a little like a fashionable Albert Einstein.
For 45 years, he has minded and cultivated the store his father, Max Halpern, started in the late 1930s, steering it through some choppy waters. If businesses are forged on deep friendships over time, then Herbert has certainly got the goods.
Gun control, gun control, gun control. In spite of this holiday season, I’ve heard the phrase “gun control” more than “peace on earth.” As an educator in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, there would be few better presents for me than a national ban on assault weapons, body armor and high volume magazines. Yet I have to admit that while a national ban would be a tremendous political gift, I don’t see it as a watershed solution to our culture of violence. The discourse of gun control must quickly transition towards peace if we want substantive change.