What’s Happening in September?
For this week, I’ve decided to concentrate on music in New Orleans, simply because I haven’t written about NOLA’s music scene before. First, let’s take a look at an annual event called The Ponderosa Stomp that occurs in either mid-September or October.
WHAT IS THE PONDEROSA STOMP FOUNDATION?
This foundation (that began in 2001) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating the legacy, revitalizing the careers, and preserving the history of American musicians and their music. It works to ensure that the unsung heroes of this scene are given their due: celebrated, included and remembered – but most of all, heard.
The Ponderosa Stomp itself is billed as the greatest celebration of American roots music in the world.
Sal Nunziato, of The Huffington Post says, “The Stomp is that great jukebox, in that great roadside diner you only see in movies, except…this is real and it’s alive on stage.”
Joel Selvin, of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, “The Stomp tells a story no other ordinary concert does. It opens up the inside story of music history.”
A QUICK LOOK AT 10 TYPES OF MUSIC IN NOLA
It originated in New Orleans in 1900. Jazz has melody, harmony and rhythm, which is the heartbeat of any piece of music. But what sets jazz apart is this cool thing called “improvisation.” Following its early success, second-generation artists like trumpeter Louis Armstrong elevated jazz to new heights and introduced it around the world. CLICK HERE to hear Louis do his “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
This is melancholy music developed in the rural southern U.S. toward the end of the 19th century. It’s a distinct, low-down kind of feeling translated into music. Blues found a wider audience in the 1940s as blacks migrated to the cities of America. Bessie Smith is regarded as one of the best blues artists ever. My vote goes to BB King. CLICK HERE to listen to “The Thrill Is Gone.”
This is a music genre that originated in African American communities in the mid-1960s when black musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul and jazz. In 1967, James Brown wrote “Cold Sweat” with Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis. This is widely considered to be the first funk hit.
IV. RHYTHM & BLUES
Commonly abbreviated as R&B, this is a genre of popular music that originated in the 1940s. Electric and amplified instruments are often used – with piano, drums and guitar. A favorite here is Ray Charles singing “America The Beautiful.” CLICK HERE to listen to this classic.
V. ROCK & ROLL
What makes a great rock singer? Briefly, it’s breaking boundaries, stage presence and access to hits from a deep songwriting catalog. Every musician, who has ever strutted onstage, owes a debt to Chuck Berry, a great pioneer, who was followed by Elvis Presley. He shook the world with “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956. Then there’s Mick Jagger, the ultimate frontman, who has brought style and sexiness to the scene for 50-plus years.
This is one of the earliest styles of rock & roll, dating back to the early 1950s in the U.S. It blends the sound of country with R&B – leading to what is considered “classic” rock & roll. It’s also the dance style for anyone who wants to dance FAST!
VII. HIP HOP
This term is widely considered a synonym for rap music and has four elements: (1) turntabling, (2) rapping or rhyming, (3) graf or writing and (4) B-boying or the hip-hop dance, style and attitude.
This music is based on hip-hop. It favors punchy tempos, heavy bass and call-and-response vocals. CLICK HERE to see what Bounce looks like.
Early Creole musicians played an accordion and a washboard in front of a store near Opelousas, LA in 1938. Today the “rubboard” (rubbing the washboard) is a stylized version of the early washboard.
This is a version of piano music that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1918. One of ragtime’s most important pianists and composers was Scott Joplin. It is neither classical nor jazz – it’s in a category all its own. CLICK HERE to listen to the magic of Joplin.
Conclusion: Have I heard a voice that really WOWS me? Yes, the late Otis Redding, a soul singer (R&B and gospel) -- and a towering talent who died in a plane crash at 26.
CLICK HERE to see what’s shakin’ on Royal Street with “Goin’ Back Home to New Orleans.”