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Getting In Shape for the Upcoming New Orleans Music Marathons

Tag(s): Reflections and rants and Show host blog

Saturday the weather was nice and I decided to take in more live music in a single outing than I've done in quite a while. In retrospect this was actually great preparation for a couple of New Orleans Marathons that are scheduled over the next two months. No I'm not talking about those where you have to don skimpy apparel and run or jog, but those where you have choose from musical treats among the various stages and tents and gatherings at the French Quarter Festival, and of course, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

If you like only one flavor, then you can just park yourself and listen to your heart's content all day. But if you're like me, eyeing the lineup-say at the jazz fest-gives you paralysis of analysis as you try to figure how you're going make all the acts that you've been dying to see or see again.

So I started at the Orange Couch, the cool Marigny coffee shop where remnants of the Black Notes (a bunch of high school, now college jazz cats) were playing. The group featured bassist Jason Weaver, Guitarist Andrew Burglass, my son-drummer Charles Burchell, and guest flutist Jeremy de Jesus.

Then over to the Blue Nile where Rick Trolsen and Neslort (they were guests on our spring membership drive show) were holding forth, then in the next block to Snug Harbor where modern jazzmeisters Astral Project reigned, then a few doors down to d.b.a. where Cedric Burnside and Lightning Malcolm were burning up the blues, then back to Snug Harbor for the midnight set that featured Gratkowski, Drake, and Sieberth for some soul- refreshing free jazz, then back to d.b.a.

Do brief look-ins at Cafe Negril, Dragon's Den, and Checkpoint Charlie's count too? The night before I visited The Red Gallery on Bayou Road to see Floopy Head, a young band with a mix of hip-hop, funk and jazz, and last Wednesday I watched 75 year old legendary jazz trombonist Slide Hampton and The World of Trombones at NOCCA Riverfront.

Despite everything on Saturday, I managed to miss the tribute to Harold Battiste at Dixon Hall. It pays to stay in shape — at last year's Jazz Festival I managed to watch both Terence Blanchard and Stevie Wonder playing at the same time in two different places. How fortunate and blessed it is to live in such a musically exciting city.

As Terence Blanchard said in a recent set, "It's not about choices [coincidentally the title of his next CD] — it's about decisions." How true that is when it comes to music in New Orleans. Your thoughts?

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