Monday, January 2, 2012

WWOZ - New Years Music Fail; The New Orleans Old Folks Home

Not to sound like a complaining asshole (cuz that'd be new, right?), but I tuned in to WWOZ for New Years Eve, hoping to hear some great New Orleans music. At first, there was some really trippy brass-hop, and I thought I was in heaven.
It turned out to be 'filler' while they connected to "Irvin Mayfield & the Jazz Playhouse Revue & Special Guests."

 While all of these folks have great histories, the self aggrandizing of saying each other's names, over & over in to the microphone, seemed more like some TV Award Show gone horribly wrong. Whatever their major skill sets, a 12 minute tambourine solo, for New Years, really? Followed by a 15 minute emotive banjo solo? Keep in mind, this was all under the context of the longest, most repetitive version of 'Little Liza Jane' I've ever heard.

 Reaching across the globe, via live streaming internet, from the city voted number one New Years Eve spot in the entire country, this was what the English so lovingly call 'shite'. Considering the vast amount of genuine talent & musical innovation resident in our fair city, never mind the bands like the Soul Rebels, who take traditional brass music to the level of Jimi Hendrix, when fully on, I was beyond disappointed.

I turned the shit OFF.

I'm sorry, but whatever credentials Irvin Mayfield may have in the jazz world, or even only in New Orleans jazz world, this Uncle Tom pandering to the played-to-death carnival hymns of yesterday, including the unbridled selfishness of relentlessly featuring every name of note they could squeeze in, doing the stuff nobody but aging tourists from the musicless suburbs would ever sit through, were certainly diminished, if not destroyed, by this sojourn into blatant commercialism.

Don't get me wrong, here. I WANTED it to be good, if not great. I looked forward to it serving as the musical back drop for my New Years Eve.  But this was not to be. As the Monday Morning of the New Year dawns with our Chief of police bragging, not only about busting some poor 25 year old schlub for possessing a small amount of personal marijuana, but suggesting that he got a dangerous 'future' armed robber off the streets by doing so, I find myself closer to a Stepford/Mayberry in Hell reality than I ever thought possible for the City of New Orleans.

Were it not for the stellar quality embraced by the New Orleans Saints, in both performance & integrity, and the art & music found off of this beaten-to-death path, I would consider the possibility of chucking it all in, here.
But of course, I can't & I won't.

Join me in the following year, if you dare, in going out to see music that MATTERS; from the Soul Rebels to Ratty Scurvics & the Black Market Butchers, or Dr John sitting in with JD Hill at the St Roch Tavern.
Patronize amazing local theater at out-of-the-way places like Allways Lounge & Marigny Theater, the Shadow Box theater or Otter's Backyard Ballroom, rather than more commercial endeavors, like Professional Douche Bag, Pres Kabacoff's, ugly little orange mall.

Like any city, New Orleans has government, police, buildings and roads, and all the other accoutrements that make a city a city. But like all of them, it is the People here who make it what it is. And in that respect, it's pretty fucking amazing.

While WWOZ sells out with the rest of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation (Kid Rock? The Eagles? Really? That's Jazz & Heritage? Or just a money grab...), you don't have to. So rather than suggest yet another boycott of anything, I recommend a more positive approach; Go see the Good Shit. It's everywhere. And it's waiting for ya.

When it comes to the People, the Music, the Art & Lifestyle of New Orleans, never mind the food, it's the Greatest City in the World, in my humble opinion. But, like anything even approaching greatness, there are parasites hanging on. In this case, they are the usual money grubbing promotion shucksters, greedy politicians, crooked developers and thuggish cops. But don't let that stop you.

Gird your loins appropriately, folks, and head on out.
Life in this city is dangerous.
Its complicated.
It's amazing & it's beautiful.
In the final measure, for me, it's the only way to go.

Once you see past the commercials, its an endless ride of brilliant talents of every kind.
There's a whole New Year of New Orleans getting made, right now.
Be a part of it.
Go on out & get some on ya, ya hurd?

Lord David
Skull Club

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