Archive for October, 2010
Class will not take place as usual this week. Instead, we ask that you attend the following event commissioned by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra on Friday afternoon…
OCTOBER 29: MASTERS MONTH MASTER CLASS & INFORMANCE
The University of New Orleans Performing Arts Center, Room 103, 1:00pm
UNO professors Victor Atkins, Ed Petersen and Steve Masakowski will discuss the process of interpreting this season’s operas in order to create original Jazz music. Excerpts from each commission will be performed.
If you have a major conflict, please contact Stephanie (email@example.com) for your alternate assignment.
Twitter - @PresHall
Ben Jaffe, Director & Tuba
The son of the co-founders of Preservation Hall, Allan and Sandra Jaffe, Benjamin was raised in the heart of the French Quarter and its culture. His earliest memories involve the musicians that his parents befriended — watching them perform in parades, sharing Christmas gumbo with his godfather, Harold “Duke” Dejan, watching glaciers drift past at age three with his father and the band on an Alaskan cruise. Benjamin began playing bass in his school’s band at age seven; the director, Walter Payton, was a fixture at Preservation Hall and father of the celebrated trumpeter Nicholas Payton, with whom Benjamin would eventually play with in the All Star Brass Band. In rehearsals and concerts they explored both traditional repertoire and songs that drew from the unique history of New Orleans — the churches (“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”) as well as the clubs (“Basin Street Blues”). After hours, with his parents at the Hall, Benjamin listened to and got to know the reigning royalty of jazz: Sweet Emma Barrett, William and Percy Humphrey, Louis Nelson, Chester Zardis and dozens of others. The day after his graduation from Oberlin College in 1993, Ben flew out to join the Preservation Hall Band as bassist on their world tour. Gradually, he assumed his late father’s responsibilities as director of Preservation Hall while continuing as a full-time band member and teaching as an adjunct professor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, his high school Alma Mater.
“Music in New Orleans isn’t just something you hear in a classroom or a theater. It exists on the streets as a part of everybody’s daily life. You hear it in the parades and at the churches. We’re so blessed to have that experience; there’s nothing like it anywhere else in United States.”
“We never had to go too far out of our way to learn New Orleans Music. We were surrounded by it. We learned to play through knowing the people who played it before us — not just as musicians, but also as friends. It wasn’t just the notes they played. Anybody could learn the notes. But not everybody could spend weekends at the homes of these musicians, going to their churches and functions, and being a part of their lives outside of Preservation Hall.”
“There’s a lot of history, struggle and oppression that contributes to what we now call New Orleans Music. There’s history, tradition and meaning to the way we dance and celebrate. There’s so much cultural depth to what we play. That’s why it’s unique. Once you separate New Orleans jazz from the culture that gave this music life, it’s not New Orleans jazz anymore.”
Jaffe and his wife stayed in New Orleans as Katrina hit. The experience changed his life in several critical ways. First, he yielded his position as bassist with the touring band to his teacher and mentor, Walter Payton, in order to devote full energies to the recovery of Preservation Hall. Though damage to the building itself was minimal, the city’s devastation, and the flight of its citizens as well as tourists from the area, hastened the Hall’s closure. The institution was, in some ways, strengthened by Jaffe’s determination to look after the musicians who played there and to adapt to the challenges faced by his city. Ben and his wife, Sarah, knew this meant organizing another project, the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund (nomhrf.org, 1-800-957-4026), with a mission to restore New Orleans’ culture and vitality, and to provide emergency relief for performers in need. Already, the NOMHRF has distributed over a half million dollars in the form of grants to local musicians, musical institutions and members of the extended cultural community. Today, from his office within Preservation Hall, Jaffe sees plenty of tunnel ahead.
“It’s a bittersweet situation in that Preservation Hall has received recognition it never would have received if not for Katrina. For the first time in our lives, we know what it’s like to be without music and without our food and our homes – things we’d taken for granted. We’re reminded of how connected everything is in our lives, of how Preservation Hall couldn’t exist without St. Augustine’s Church in the Treme neighborhood, or Buster’s, Restaurant where everyone in the community went to meet up back in the seventies and early eighties. These things wouldn’t have existed without members of the community whose families go back in their neighborhoods for hundreds of years. They all connect not only to Preservation Hall but also to the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, James Booker, Proffesor Longhair, the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, Social Aid and Benevolent Associations. back to Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Buddy Bolden.”
“As our audience displays a renewed interest in what Preservation Hall represents, we’re going to continue to challenge them and educate them on the importance of what it is we represent. We’re going to incorporate more into our performances, whether it be film or dancers or guest vocalists or an emcee, similar to the great New Orleans Revue Shows of the 1940s and ’50s used to do.”
“Most likely, we’ll never see pre-Katrina New Orleans again, at least not in my lifetime. New Orleans was a very fragile ecosystem. We’re here to ensure its culture will survive, and that makes what we’re doing more important than anything we’ve done before.”
Charlie Gabriel, Clarinet & Saxophone
Played with: Aretha Franklin’s Orchestra, Nancy Wilson, Kid Howard, Jim Robinson, George Lewis
Charlie Gabriel known to friends and relatives as Charlie “G” was born in New Orleans, LA and hails from a musical family. His great grandfather, Narcesse Gabriel, who resided in New Orleans in 1856 was a bass player. Charlie’s grandfather Martin Joseph, an accordion and cornet player had the “National Jazz Band” in New Orleans and hosted many jazz musicians. Martin Manuel Gabriel, father of Charles, was a clarinetist and drummer and worked with all of the jazz greats from New Orleans. Martin and his brothers Percy on bass and Clarence on jazz piano formed “The Gabriel Brothers Dixie-Land Band”.
Charles has played traditional style music with some of the top New Orleans musicians such as “Kid Howard”, “Kid Sheik”, “Jim Robinson”, “George Lewis” etc. Charlie came to Detroit at the age of fourteen. He was so experienced that he got into the Lionel Hampton outfit at age sixteen. Later, he played with the U.S. Army for two years. In the early fifties, Charlie played with Harry Leib’s Orchestra at the Michigan State Fair with: Dick Clark, Bobby Blue Bland, Connie Frances, Frankie Avalon, Brenda Lee and Bobby Parker, Jr. In 1956, he formed a band and traveled around the country as “band leader”. He traveled and performed nationwide until accepting the job as band director for Joe Simon in 1969. In the early seventies Charlie was a member of Aretha Franklin’s Orchestra. He continued to play throughout the states and abroad. At this time he did free lance work with Nancy Wilson.
Charlie joined the J.C. Heard Jazz Quartet in 1975 and worked with him until 1983. The Quartet toured the U.S. working in lounges and hotels such as Dallas Hilton, New Orleans Hilton, Hyatt Regency, the Grand Hotel of Mackinac Island and a host of others. They also played at jazz festivals and educational institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Spoletto Jazz Festival. The Quartet toured Europe and worked at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Bern’s, Switzerland.
During 1983, Charlie began playing in local Catholic Churches. He played for Liturgies, Revivals, Receptions, Bible School etc. He composed a Mass of St. Frances de Sales and arranged and performed Jazz Masses in the Detroit area and surrounding states. Charlie researched and developed music programs which he performed annually during Black History month.
From 1984 to the present Charlie is working in and around Bourbon St. in New Orleans. He has performed at Arnold’s Restaurant, the Fairmont Hotel, the World’s Fair, Holland Point, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Commander Palace etc. Recently Charlie did a video taping for the stage production “One Mo Time” in Vienna, Austria. He did a command performance for the Prince in Monte Carlo, France and received award from hot Jazz club in Limuges, France. Charlie has worked with many New Orleans Bands in Storyville.
If you would like to volunteer for the BubbleQ event, please contact Stephanie – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook Invitation – Please invite your friends!!
Interview: Professor Victor Atkins
Wes Anderson, trombone
David Harris, trombone
Austin Johnson, piano
Nick Hughes, drums
Jasen Weaver, bass