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September 10 , 2009

Talking New Orleans Music

Crescent City Musicians Talk about Their Lives, Their Music, and Their City


In New Orleans, music screams. It honks. It blats. It wails. It purrs. It messes with time. It messes with pitch. It messes with your feet. It messes with your head. One musician leads to another; traditions overlap, intertwine, nourish each other; and everyone seems to know everyone else. From traditional jazz through rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll to sissy bounce, in second-line parades, from the streets to clubs and festivals, the music seems unending.

In Talking New Orleans Music, author Burt Feintuch has pursued a decades-long fascination with the music of this singular city. Thinking about the devastation – not only material but also cultural – caused by the levees breaking in 2005, he began a series of conversations with master New Orleans musicians, talking about their lives, the cultural contexts of their music, their experiences during and after Katrina, and their city. Photographer Gary Samson joined him, adding a compelling visual dimension to the book.

Here you will find intimate and revealing interviews with eleven of the city's most celebrated musicians and culture-bearers – Soul Queen Irma Thomas, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Charmaine Neville, John Boutté, Dr. Michael White, Deacon John Moore, Cajun bandleader Bruce Daigrepont, Zion Harmonizer Brazella Briscoe, producer Scott Billington, as well as Christie Jourdain and Janine Waters of the Original Pinettes, New Orleans's only all-woman brass band. Feintuch's interviews and Samson's sixty-five color photographs create a powerful portrait of an American place like no other and its worlds of music.

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