Cybercast News: can't make it to Atlanta's "Hard Rock Rockfest" this weekend? not to fret ... the June 5th event will be webcast on the net by Tunes.com; bands performing at the all day concert include Better Than Ezra, Collective Soul, Eve 6, Everlast, Live, Marvelous 3, Silverchair, Sugar Ray, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Third Eye Blind, and more!
The Friends of Armstrong Park will be holding a fund-raiser at 7 pm on Wednesday, May 26 at the French Quarter Suites Hotel (1119 N. Rampart St.); the group is hoping to raise funds to fix the ticket booths and restore & repaint the Dumaine Street bridge; call 522-2160 for details.
Master P Got Sole: Rap, sports and film magnate Master P will unveil the first co-branded product produced in conjunction with Converse Inc. and No Limit Entertainment at a media-only event in Hollywood on Thursday, May 27, 1999; the two companies entered into a marketing partnership earlier this year to produce co-branded footwear that will compliment the No Limit line of apparel; Master P will also debut a new release as part of the launch.
Branford on CBS: Branford Marsalis was featured in the "Second Cup Cafe" segment of "CBS News Saturday Morning" on May 22nd.
Jazz Fest Memories: columnist Judith Lewis recalls her visit to JazzFest in the current issue of the LA (Los Angeles) Weekly.
Chat with Britney: teen pop idol Britney Spears will be holding an online chat session, hosted by the Disney Channel, on Monday, May 24th ... get your burning questions ready!
Iguanas Profiled: The Iguanas were featured in the San Antonio Express-News prior to a weekend gig.
Satchmo on the Beeb: Our namesake, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong was recently featured in a BBC documentary; the BBC website features video clips from the special.
Street Musicians Suffer Set-back: the area around the St. Louis Cathedral has been declared a noise-free zone by the New Orleans City Council, and city officials say they will strictly enforce the new designation; parishioners of the cathedral complained that existing ordinances weren't sufficient to allow them to worship in peace, and had planned to sue the city prior to the new law going into effect.
Music Venue Folds: Levon Helm's Classic American Cafe has closed; the Decatur Street club, barely 6 months old, is up for sale according to co-owner Banu Gibson.
P Pleas for Peace in PSA: rap music magnate Master P has taped a Public Service Announcement pleading for unity in the hip hop community; the 60 second PSA, references the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., and urges rap artists not to feud on their records; the spot begins airing on MTV and BET on Monday, May 17.
Twins Try to Beat Rap: twin rappers Kane & Abel (David and Daniel Garcia) pleaded not guilty to felony drug charges in a New Orleans courtroom on Tuesday May 11th ... the two were indicted last Thursday, accused of purchasing large quantities of cocaine from jailed drug dealer and convicted killer Richard Pena.
Tim McGraw Shines: country crooner Tim McGraw's fifth album, "A Place in the Sun", will debut at No. 1 in both the Billboard Country and the Billboard 200 charts for the week of May 22nd; the album sold more than 250 thousand copies in its first week of release.
Our sympathy to friends and family of the victims of the Mother's Day bus accident in New Orleans; the bus driver, Frank Bedell, sousaphone player with the Algiers Brass Band, is listed in critical condition.
Tour Guide Harry: Harry Connick, Jr. gave viewers of ABC's Good Morning America a tour of New Orleans on Tuesday morning (May 11th); the segment also featured behind the scenes clips of his upcoming self-produced video (from the album, "Come By Me"); shot on the streets of the French Quarter, the video also features frequent Connick sidemen Leroy Jones, Lucien Barbarin, and Mark Mullins, "tailgating" on the back of a flat-bed truck - the show also featured the Riverwalk Jazz Band with Big Al Carson, and New Orleans Jazz Babyz members Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) and Omari Neville; an outdoor performance by The Neville Brothers was cancelled due to weather.
Jazz Pioneer Honored: on Thursday, May 6, the Committee in Memory of Nick LaRocca presented the Louisiana State Museum with a bust of Original Dixieland Jazz Band founder Nick LaRocca; the bust, sculpted by Italian artist Disma Tuminello, will reside at the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave., where the Museumís renowned jazz collection is housed; the ODJB were the first jazz group ever to record - a 78 RPM featuring two songs; "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step" were laid down in New York in 1917 thrusting the music sensation that had been evolving in New Orleans in to Americaís consciousness.
Chart Watch: local favorites Los Hombres Calientes enter May 15th's Billboard's jazz chart (finally!) at #14 - the Latin Jazz "supergroup"'s debut effort was the top selling CD at Jazz Fest for the second year in a row - Kermit Ruffin's latest, "Swing This!", which was the 3rd best seller during the Fest - in Billboard's Top 200 albums chart, teen rapper B.G.'s album "Chopper City in the Ghetto" drops to No. 24 after debuting in the top 10; label mate Juvenile's "400 Degreez" jumps two spots to No.21 ... teen pop star Britney Spears' debut, "Baby, One More Time", remains at No. 5, after 16 weeks in the Top 10 ...
I Got The Lock-Up: No Limit Records rappers Kane & Abel were indicted in Federal Court in New Orleans on Thursday, May 6th, accused of purchasing large quantities of cocaine from jailed drug dealer and convicted killer Richard Pena; the nationally known rappers (in real life, identical twin brothers Daniel and David Garcia) are also authors of the hot selling neo-noir novel, "Eyes of a Killer / Behind Enemy Lines" ...
Jazz Fest Wind-Up: the 1999 Jazz and Heritage Festival broke an attendance record for the second consecutive year; an estimated 455,000 music fans attended this year's event ... Praise for Branford Marsalis's set from Billboard ... The Louisiana Music Factory has a number of audio and video clips online from their '99 Jazz Fest in-store performances ... Jazz Fest sets by Widespread Panic, Better Than Ezra, Steve Miller and Hootie & The Blowfish were reviewed at Wall of Sound ...
Academy of Country Music Awards - Delhi, LA native Tim McGraw picked up 2 awards at the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards held May 5th in Los Angeles; McGraw won in the "Best Male Vocalist" category and shared the award for "Top Vocal Event" with wife Faith Hill for the duet, "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me" ... Faith Hill won a total of 4 awards; country duo Brooks & Dunn, who had four nominations, were completely shut out; in related news, McGraw was featured on CNN's Showbiz Today.
Quote of Note: "There is no, no, no, no place like New Orleans for music," insists trumpeter Dave Bartholomew, who helped craft the city's signature R&B sound as producer, writer and arranger for Fats Domino ... "The pioneers are here. We built the house. You can redecorate it, but we laid the foundation." - Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew reunited after twelve years at Jazz Fest on Sunday, April 25th.
Quote of Note: "Well, I got my first trumpet when I was six years old, from Al Hirt. My father was playing in Al Hirt's band at that time, and he got me a trumpet because my older brother Branford was playing the clarinet and the piano, so he didn't want me to feel left out." -- Wynton Marsalis; 01/08/91.
New Orleans Jazz Giant Dies: our sympathy goes out to the family and friends of trumpet virtuoso Al Hirt, who passed away on April 27th at the age of 76; members of his family said he died at home, where he had been in failing health since leaving East Jefferson hospital a week ago; cause of death was given as liver failure ... Hirt played with Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Ray McKinley in the 1940's before returning to New Orleans to form his own group in the early 1950's; in the 60's, Hirt played for John F. Kennedy's inauguration, starred at Carnegie Hall, headlined numerous TV variety shows, and recorded a string of pop hits, including "Cotton Candy" and the Grammy-winning "Java"; Hirt released over 50 albums in his career, and he also ran a popular Bourbon Street jazz club for 22 years before closing it in 1983; for more on Al, check out this fan's web site and Hirt's bio & discography (from B&N).
Buckwheat TV: Zydeco star Buckwheat Zydeco was featured on "CBS News Saturday Morning" on April 24th.
Honoring Fats: The New Orleans Post Office and the Jazz & Heritage Foundation honored R&B legend Fats Domino with a Commemorative Souvenir Envelope Ceremony held at the Main Post Office (Loyola Avenue) on Thursday, April 22nd.
Hall of Fame Grows: 1999 additions to the Grammy Hall of Fame include "Heebie Jeebies" by Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five (Okeh, 1926), "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard (Specialty, 1956), "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen (written by Richard Berry), "Please Send Me Someone to Love" by Percy Mayfield (Specialty, 1950), "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong (ABC, 1967), "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" by Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun, 1957), "The Wildest" by Louis Prima & Keely Smith (Capitol, 1957) and "You Are My Sunshine" by ex-Governor Jimmie Davis (Decca, 1940).
New Book: "Backbeat: The Earl Palmer Story" offers a first-person account of legendary drummer Earl Palmer's life and career; Palmer, who worked with Little Richard, Fats Domino, Sam Cooke, Smiley Lewis, Dave Bartholomew, and many others, will be signing copies of the book on Thursday, April 22, at the Louisiana Music Factory (2-4pm).
Britney News: Britney Spears kicks off a nationwide tour on June 28th in Pompano Beach, FL; dates include an August 8th show in New Orleans; look for upcoming TV appearances on Leno, Letterman, Regis & Kathie Lee, etc.
Master P's Latest Film: the comedy film "Foolish", starring Master P and Eddie Griffin, opened nation wide on Friday, April 9th ... the Foolish soundtrack features tracks by Master P, Snoop Dogg, Fiend, C-Murder, Mia X, Silkk The Shocker, Mystikal, pre-teen rap duo Li'l Soldiers and others.
Hottest Accordionist Named: Dwayne Dopsie, son of late zydeco legend Rockin' Dopsie, Sr., was selected as "America's Hottest Accordionist" in a competition held in Branson, MO.
Satchmo in Print: the new book "The Louis Armstrong Companion: Eight Decades of Commentary" offers rare and interesting insights into the jazz legend's life and music; it includes documents and commentary never before published, such as Armstrong letters, original interviews and a glossary of Louis-related slang ...
Blockbuster Nominees Announced: nominees for the 1999 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards (which air on FOX in June) include No Limit's Master P (Favorite Rap Artist); Brooks & Dunn (Favorite Country Duo or Group); Tim McGraw (Favorite Country Male); and Harry Connick, Jr. (Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance for "Hope Floats")
Gate enters Blues Hall of Fame: Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in ceremonies held at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC on March 16; more info is available from The Blues Foundation web site.
Buckwheat is Back! Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr., leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, has been given the green light to sing again, after concerns about lesions on his vocal chords forced him to postpone the band's winter tour; the tour will now resume with an April 3 appearance at Trampís in New York City; other stop-offs include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 23rd; the tour had been scheduled to coincide with the January 12 release of Buckwheat Zydecoís album, "Trouble", the first release on Dural's own label, Tomorrow Recordings; the album has garnered excellent reviews and was called a "swamp-boogie joy ride" by People magazine; for more info visit the Buckwheat Zydeco Web Site at buckwheatzydeco.com.
W.C. Handy Award Nominees Announced - The Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 1999 Handy Awards on January 22nd; the Awards Ceremony will be held Thursday May 27, 1999 at the Orpheum Theatre on historic Beale Street in Memphis; Louisiana connected nominees include the late Johnny Adams (Blues Entertainer of the Year; Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year:); Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters (Blues Band of the Year); Buddy Guy (Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year); Keb' Mo' (Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year; Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year); Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year nominees included Marcia Ball and the trio of Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas & Tracy Nelson; Mighty Sam McClain (Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year); Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year nominees included Irma Thomas and Lavelle White; Chris Thomas King (Best New Blues Artist); Marcia Ball and Dr. John were named in the Blues Instrumentalist, Keyboards category; Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (Blues Instrumentalist, Other - Violin); Contemporary Blues Album of the Year nominees included "Sing It!" (Ball, Thomas & Nelson); Soul / Blues Album of the Year picks included "Man Of My Word" (Johnny Adams) and "Journey" (Mighty Sam McClain); Acoustic Blues Album of the Year nominees included "Blues After Sunset" (Henry Butler) and "Red Mud" (Chris Thomas King); and Keb' Mo' was named again for the Blues Song of the Year (for "Soon As I Get Paid", co-written by John Lewis Parker); congrats & good luck to all nominees; see the Blues Foundation web site for a full list of nominees.
Satchmo Down Under - our namesake Louis Armstrong was recently featured in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.