It’s time to celebrate the New Year with live music from the French Quarter including the Rebirth Brass Band, jazz with Leroy Jones and Ellis Marsalis, Little Freddie King’s country blues, funk from Jon Cleary and songs from Charmaine Neville. Start the New Year right with American Routes.
It’s that time of year, when the days are shorter and the nights are colder. Warm up to our sounds for the season. Classic songs to celebrate the winter holidays plus a visit to South Louisiana’s Christmas Eve bonfires lighting the way for Papa Noel along the Mississippi River.
We hit up Preservation Hall in the French Quarter for a potent dose of trad jazz, as bandleader and fourth-generation Creole musician Charlie Gabriel tells of his Caribbean roots, jazz funerals, and New Orleans’ hybrid rhythms. Then we head to the Lonestar state to hear the reworking of jazz into Texas swing, as played by the Quebe Sisters. The fiddling siblings tell of their sheltered upbringing outside Ft. Worth and their fiery baptism into western swing. Plus, we spin other pioneering Creoles—Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and Fats Domino—and country & western greats from Bob Wills to Willie Nelson.
From Great Britain to the Big Easy, we explore the sounds of musical and social breakouts. First, we hear how British blues pioneer John Mayall broke out of England with his band the Bluesbreakers, bringing British blues to a larger audience. We’ll hear some of Mayall’s sources and contemporaries, like Big Maceo and Eric Clapton. Then, it’s butt shakes and backbeats with Big Freedia, the Queen Diva of New Orleans Bounce, a rhythmic dance music with sources in hip hop and rap, as well as much earlier jazz and R&B. We’ll explore some of those sources, and strut with Kermit Ruffins and Sam Morgan, head “Down Yonder” with Smiley Lewis, and “Take it to the Street” with Rebirth Brass Band.