The Piano Player

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Welcome to the first episode of WWOZ's new nationally syndicated program, NEW ORLEANS CALLING! We have lots in store for you in the weeks and months ahead!

Every week we provide additional material online to accompany each show, in case you're interested in finding out more... Sometimes it's going more in-depth, sometimes it's something cool we didn't have time to go into, and sometimes it's just plain fun.

We start off this week by checking out the New Orleans piano tradition. Here's a list of interesting links and information about the stories and music in this week's show:

Tom McDermott is one of the most active and interesting piano players in New Orleans today.  This improvisation on Maple Leaf Rag was recorded live on June 18, 2014, at Chickie Wah Wah on Canal Street in New Orleans, exclusively for NEW ORLEANS CALLING.

You can often catch Tom on his regular weekly schedule of appearances in small clubs. Here, he gives a lecture about the New Orleans piano tradition -- with lots of demonstration:


There isn't a lot of footage available for Sweet Emma Barrett, but here's a television clip from the 1960s, performing with the Preservation Hall Band.


If you're interested in a slightly demonstration of New Orleans piano, try this one from Dr John.


Louis Moreau Gottschalk had an interesting and (fairly) short life.  


Image courtesy the New Orleans Public Library.


Jon Cleary, whom we spoke to at his weekly gig at Chickie Wah-Wah, has also done lecturing on the New Orleans piano tradition.


Professor Longhair was actually named Henry Roland Byrd.  The nightclub Tipitina's was founded to give him a regular place to perform -- and his image now hangs permanently over the stage.


Neville Brothers performing at Tipitina's Nightclub in 2003, photo by Leon Morris

Allen Toussaint grew up learning to play every Professor Longhair song he could find -- mistakes and all. You can see how much he enjoys talking about "Fess" in this brief interview, where he shows off Professor Longhair's musical innovations.

Allen Toussaint is an incredibly influential musician. He produced LaBelle's" Lady Marmalade." He wrote "Working in a Coal Mine," covered by Devo. And many, many others...

James Booker is one of the most interesting musicians to come out of New Orleans, and that's really saying something. We can't do more than scratch the surface here, but the recent documentary Bayou Maharajah explains his life and his music. Here's the trailer.

Harry Connick Jr was a student of James Booker, and also of Ellis Marsalis.. Harry Connick Jr's father was indeed the District Attorney of New Orleans.

Here's Harry Jr performing "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans," with a few bits of showing off on the piano:

Eddie Bo was a beloved figure in New Orleans R&B. He released more single records than anyone else in New Orleans other than Fats Domino.

He was a great supporter of WWOZ in New Orleans. After his death in 2009, his family gifted WWOZ with his beautiful baby grand piano, which is now played on a regular basis by legends and newcomers alike, and is heard in New Orleans and around the world.

Eddie Bo

Eddie Bo at Jazz Fest 2003, photo by Leon Morris.


(The intro is Professor Longhair, Tuts Washington, Allen Toussaint - "Boogie Woogie")
Fats Domino - "Please Don't Leave Me"
Tom McDermott  - "Maple Leaf Rag" (recorded live for WWOZ at Chickie Wah Wah, June 2014)
Sweet Emma Barrett with the Original Preservation Hall Band - "Chimes Blues"
Carol Fran  - "Strugglin Wit The Boogie," live at WWOZ Piano Night
Henry Gray - "Little Red Rooster," live at WWOZ Piano Night
(music bed: Tom McDermott - "Rebbenacking")
Dr John - "Litanie Des Saints"
Professor Longhair - "Tipitina" (1974 recording)
Allen Toussaint - "Soul Sister"
(music bed - James Booker - "Black Minute Waltz")
James Booker - "Sunny Side of the Street"
(music bed - Dr John - "Monkey Puzzle")
Harry Connick Jr - "Blue Skies"
Eddie Bo - "Check Your Bucket"
(The outro is Professor Longhair's "Cuttin' Out")

NEW ORLEANS CALLING is a production of WWOZ, listener-supported community radio in the Crescent City.
Host, writer, editor, interviewer, audio engineer, intrepid field recorder, and co-producer is George Ingmire.
Dave Ankers is the producer.
Melanie Merz is the supervising producer.
Vocal tracks produced by Jorge Fuentes.
National distribution managed by Russell Shelton and Carmen Connor Post.
Web support by David Stafford.
Live tracks mixed by George Ingmire, Damond Jacob, and Tony Guillory.
Executive Producer is WWOZ’s General Manager David Freedman.

Special thanks to:
Sally Young and Crystal Gross, for their voice talents;
WWOZ’s Dwayne Breashears, Scott Borne, Dee Lindsey, Lauren Del Rio, Leslie Molson, Beau Royster, and Maryse Dejean.

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Air time: 
Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 11:00am

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