Jenavieve and the Winding Boys • sleepy time dream team

Many albums from New Orleans are recorded in houses in the 9th Ward, supplying a poetic mental image of the festivities, but this one actually feels like a home jam for the city’s street musicians. That’s appropriate as the Winding Boys got their start on Royal Street, and though you can find videos of them fronted by Jenavieve Cooke Kachmarik at least as far back as 2015, they have not recorded much. The only other offering on their Bandcamp page is a four-tracker from 2015. That is to say, they haven’t recorded much as a band, the musicians on this album are all over the place in New Orleans, leading or backing on other sets, and the sets on YouTube feature others passing through. It may be safe to say when Jenavieve is there singing and leading on trumpet it is a Winding Boys set.

Not having albums to cover we have missed as a paper her familiar face in the New Orleans scene. The Winding Boys play all over town and have for a decade. Yet the only mention Jenavieve has gotten in our 100 issues was in the (very long) list of musicians appearing with the Wit’s End Brass Band. Her story can be found on Pops Coffee’s old blog. It is an exciting if somewhat familiar one for the generation that landed in New Orleans and learned traditional jazz in the years following Katrina.

Hot Jazz Jubile

A Navy brat who moved frequently as a kid, Jenavieve Cooke got into swing dancing in high school in the ’90s, enjoying bands like Squirrel Nut Zippers. After some time in college, she left a job in San Francisco to spend seven years traveling, first to Costa Rica, then everywhere, playing guitar, busking, hitchhiking, making art, and recording music of various cultures on various instruments. At 25 she began learning trumpet, and starting in 2011 would spend several months a year in New Orleans while mostly living in Europe. She had a Balkan Brass Band in the city, a popular style. In 2013 she attended the Wellbourne Jazz Camp before settling in New Orleans full time, forming the Winding Boys, and focusing on traditional jazz. That is the very condensed version of a tale that must include many interesting plot twists.

On this album she is joined by, Alvin “Dizzy” Rucker on upright bass. The near total absence of info about him online leads me to believe he has been the other consistent member of the Winding Boys since 2014, and prior to that backed a somewhat darker female lead, playing a Tupperware tub bass. I would welcome hearing that he is ubiquitous and I just somehow missed him until now. You would be amazed how many working musicians, even young ones, have nothing online anywhere promoting themselves.

The other three Winding Boys on this release should be familiar to Syncopated Times readers. The great James Evans on clarinet, tenor, trombone, and some vocals. The increasingly everywhere Hunter Burgamy on banjo, and the Shake ’Em Ups’ Defne “Dizzy” Incirlioglu on washboard. Yes, two Dizzys and both using the name way back. It’s an excellent band and they don’t hold back for this rare album. Titles include the familiar like “Sister Kate,” and “Royal Garden Blues,” and fun ones like “Romance Without Finance, Don’t Make No Sense” and “Trying to Catch A Bus” a James Evans original which ends the album dancing on the toes of Raymond Scott.


If you have been a fan of the Winding Boys on YouTube this album is your chance to give them support for all the joy they have brought you these last ten years. You can order a CD of sleepy time dream team from the Louisiana Music Factory, or download it from Bandcamp.

sleepy time dream team
Jenavieve and the Winding Boys

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of

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