Meanwhile, Back in the Quarter…

October is definitely the most beautiful month in New Orleans and after a mild hurricane season but extremely hot summer, it was welcomed by all! The hotels were packed, the restaurants filled and the music was enthralling throughout the French Quarter.

The New Orleans Jazz Historical Park has many classes at three locations in the Quarter: one at the Visitor Center on Decatur, the Dutch Alley location on N. Peters and the Jazz Museum on Esplanade.

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The classes may have been late in scheduling due to government issues at the end of September, but a class was being held the day after our arrival. The Decatur location is only a few blocks from our hotel and we were able to attend a class with pianist Kris Tokarski.

Kris took us through the piano players of early jazz from Scott Joplin to Bud Powell. Henry Brown characterized a form of barrelhouse blues and Jelly Roll Morton’s contributions were immeasurable. His early jazz compositions could imitate the sounds of an entire orchestra. Ranger Jade Perdue provided some vocals and Kris played a few Eubie Blake pieces, demonstrating an early boogie-woogie format along with his first composition “The Charleston Rag.”

James P. Johnson, a stride master, figured prominently in the day and Fats Waller had his own special style. Earl “Fatha” Hines while in Chicago and with the Hot 7, imitated the trumpet with his right hand while Teddy Wilson with Goodman’s band, picked up the clarinet nuances with his right hand patterns.

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Bud Powell, a leading figure in the development of modern jazz, pioneered the bebop improvisation at the piano.

All of these musicians played significant roles in the evolution of jazz as both performers and composers. The class was held on the only rainy day of our stay and it was a wonderful way to start our visit! We saw Kris perform several times over the next few weeks and always enjoy his presence.

Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub is definitely a go-to place with music starting around 12: 30 pm every day. It has more scheduled bands each day (usually about four) than any other club in the city. It is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours in the afternoon while we get to see many of the musicians who usually perform on Frenchman Street in the later afternoons and evenings. We managed to drop by many days of our stay and every night if only for an hour in the late evening.

Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub with Chuck Brackman (bj), Kevin Clark (tp), Bryan Besse (dr), Jim Markway (bs). (All Photos Ken Arnold)

Fritzel’s entertainment line-up over a two week period included:

Trumpet: Kevin Clark, Jamil Sharif, Doyle Cooper, Dwayne Burns, Zach Lange, Mike Fulton, Catie Rodgers

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Clarinet/Sax: Tom Fischer, Owen Callahan, Connor Stewart, Jory Woodis

Trombone: Colin Myers, Dave Ruffner, Haruka Kikuchi, Ben Herrick

Piano: Richard Scott, Leslie Martin, John Royen, Kris Tokarski, Z2, Joe Cea, Steve DeTroy, Ross Hoppe

Drums: Bryan Besse, Josh “Jams” Marotta, Mike Voelker, Cody Coulen, Tanner Gass, Nick Solnick

Bass: Chris Sharkey, Jason Jurzak, Jim Markway, Ben Fox, Chuck Brackman (p/bj), Brett Gardner, Smitti Supab, Julie Schexnayder, Calvin Martin, Mike Robbins, Grant Parker

Tuba: Matt Perrine

Banjo/Guitar: Lee Floyd, Ellis Dyson, John Eubanks, Brett Gardner

Washboard: Dizzy Incirlioglu

Fritzel’s cake for its 54th anniversary party

On October 17th, Fritzel’s celebrated its 54th anniversary and aside from the regular Tuesday night band, many musicians stopped by to enjoy the lavish Greek buffet with plenty of homemade entrees and desserts. Rick Trolsen (tb) and Danny Rubio (p/tuba) made sure to mingle and jam a few numbers in between bites!

A stop at Café Beignet at Musical Legends Park on Bourbon brought Dave Ruffner (tb), Zack Wiggins (p) and Fred Staehle (dr) to the stand and with some yummy beignets and coffee with chicory, it was a wonderful way to start the day! Another visit had Zach Wiggins (p) Fred Staehle (dr) and Jeff Kreis (tp) belting out some numbers.

The 21st Amendment across the street from The Acme Oyster House on Iberville has a small bar and only a few tables but with Joe Kennedy (p) and Jory Woodis (cl) the sound was big! A late afternoon gig after some delicious oysters proved to be the perfect “dessert” for the day.

A group of us met at The Court of Two Sisters for their daily jazz brunch featuring Tim Laughlin (cl), Steve Braun (bs) and Skip Phipps (gtr). Another beautiful day in the tree filled patio with lots of good southern items on the expansive buffet.

A Sunday brunch at the Palace Café on Canal featured Tom Fischer (cl), Hunter Burgamy (bj) and Al Bernard (bs). We enjoy all of the restaurants under the Brennan family umbrella and this one is always a treat.

Palace Cafe with Hunter Burgamy (gtr) and Tom Fischer (cl)

The Nickel-A-Dance sessions are free to the public and held at the Maison Frenchman on Sundays in October in the late afternoon. The New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra (yes, their name is that long!) specializes in songs from the late 1800s and evokes evenings on the many luxury ships that crossed the Atlantic. Their dress is white on white with many band members donning naval attire. George Schmidt always manages to do a rousing rendition of “Egyptian Ella.”

The following Sunday featured Kermit Ruffins (tp) and the Barbeque Swingers with Irvin Mayfield on banjo. Kevin Morris (bs), Jerry Anderson (dr) and Z2 (p) filled out the rest of the band. Kermit has a big following and the dance floor was packed with his fans and admirers. Haruka Kikuchi (tb) sat in for a few numbers. She and hubby Z2 had their young son, Shotu, with them who enthusiastically clapped for his talented parents!

The Palm Court Jazz Café is only open Wednesday through Sunday or I guess I would be there every night! Enjoying a delicious meal with adult beverages, it provides a pleasant environment complete with a terrific band. We see many locals and other out-of-towners that make it a point to stop in during their stay.

Palm Court with David Boeddinghaus (p), Louis Ford (cl), Taylor Kent (bs), Duke Heitger (tp), Pete Siers (dr) Craig Klein (tb)

The Palm Court bands featured:

Trumpet: Gregg Stafford, Duke Heitger, Clive Wilson, Will Smith, Mark Braud, Marla Dixon, Kevin Louis

Clarinet/Sax: James Evans, Louis Ford, Connor Stewart, Tom Fischer, Tim Laughlin, Bruce Brackman

Trombone: Robert Harris, Craig Klein, Charlie Halloran, Freddie Lonzo

Piano: Lars Edegran, Mari Watanabe, Steve Pistorius, David Boeddinghaus, Meghan Swartz

Drums: Shannon Powell, Pete Siers, Aron Lambert, Glen Finister Andrews, Joe Lastie, Barnaby Gold, Shawn King

Bass: Mitchell Player, Ed Wise, Taylor Kent, Ed Wise, Richard Moten, James Singleton, Mark Brooks

Banjo: John Gill, Carlos Childe (visiting from Spain)

Vocals: Yolanda Robinson

Although not performing, trumpeter Wendell Brunious stopped in with his son, Jonathan, to relax with some music. Steve DeTroy (p) sat in on a few numbers one evening while on his way to a Frenchman Street gig.

We saw Norbert Susemihl (tp) several times throughout our stay as he plays with quite a few bands during his semi-annual visits from Germany. He is always a delightful presence and enhances any group as leader or sideman.

The final evening comes quickly and then it is time to leave the Quarter until the next visit. We do know what it means to miss New Orleans!

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

TST Columnist Bill Hoffman and I both attended the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival in early November. Be sure to read his column on the event in this issue and mine will be in the January issue.

After 48-1/2 years, Shelly Gallichio is a retired Real Estate Associate Broker in Tucson, Arizona and despite growing up in Chicago, fell in love with the clarinet and the New Orleans sound at the age of three—she intends to spend the next 48-1/2 years seeking that sound! Reach her at [email protected]

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