- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
BOOK REVIEW: ‘Up from the Cradle of Jazz’
Question of the Day
”If you stay up long enough in New Orleans, magic will find you.” So says Andrei Codrescu, quoted in “The Majesty of the French Quarter,” by noted New Orleans photographer and author Kerri McCaffety. Indeed, magic - particularly where it concerns musical talent - is quite evident throughout New Orleans. In “Up From the Cradle of Jazz,” Jason Berry, Jonathan Foose and the late Tad Jones collaborated to capture some of that magic, tracing the long and evolving history of rhythm and blues from the end of World War II. The first edition of the book was published in 1992, but this current and updated version adds information through the post-Katrina era.
New Orleans is blessed with an abundance of musical and artistic talent that largely shapes its cultural identity. So much of that talent exists there, in fact, that many musicians do not receive the individual recognition they might garner elsewhere. “Up From the Cradle of Jazz” sheds light on the work and careers of a number of those musicians who otherwise might have faded into obscurity.
Broad surveys of music history run the risk of reading like textbooks. However, through skillful use of personal interviews, anecdotes and a gift for storytelling, the book’s authors have provided a highly readable and entertaining account of the multifaceted history of New Orleans music. They describe how artists such as Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith, Allen Toussaint and the Meters, Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, Henry Roeland Byrd, aka Professor Longhair, the Mardi Gras Indians and so many others were instrumental in shaping and influencing New Orleans rhythm and blues for generations.
Moreover, the authors’ account is not limited to music. New Orleanians take a great deal of pride in their city, despite its many difficulties, and “Up From the Cradle of Jazz” includes interwoven stories of various New Orleans neighborhoods, nightclubs, bars and other historic music venues such as Congo Square as well as insights into local politics, all of which combine to give the reader a very real sense of life in the Big Easy.
New Orleans music is evolving constantly, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
I first encountered “Up From the Cradle of Jazz” this past Mardi Gras while visiting a good friend, Kabir Kalsi, local impresario and Lord High Engineer to the Fat Bankers’ Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The book was displayed prominently in the “gentlemen’s lounge,” and leafing through its pages, I noticed a small remarque and signature inside the front cover that on closer inspection revealed itself to be from none other than Allen Toussaint himself. When I asked Kabir how he had come by the autograph, he recounted how he had met the influential New Orleans musician and enjoyed a brief conversation while awaiting a flight at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Before parting company, Mr. Toussaint signed Kabir’s book, which has since become a treasured possession. Magic indeed.
Kenan Torrans is a lawyer residing in Washington, D.C.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow