JF First Weekend, Part Deux

Posted: May 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Food, JazzFest, Music | No Comments »

Though not a world traveler, I feel fairly comfortable opining that there are not any other cities around the globe with as musically an influenced culture as New Orleans.

No, Memphis, put your hand down.

From the time slaves were allowed to dance in what is now called Congo Square, just outside the Quarter past Rampart and Basin Streets, through the advent of jazz, the honky tonks of Storyville, the brass band tradition, Satchmo, Fats, T0ussaint and to this day, this city swings, sways and dances.

Even immediately after funerals to assuage the grief.

I can’t get enough.

So, I have contemporary local faves, some of whom I’ve already heard, some are playing this coming weekend. Then there’s the newcomers, carrying on the tradition, like Tuba Skinny, and others like Naughty Professor, extrapolating from it.

Below I chat about a few of the New Orleans/ Louisiana based acts that had my attention this past weekend

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JazzFest Weekend One, Part Uno

Posted: May 3rd, 2022 | Filed under: JazzFest, Music | 2 Comments »

Too much to say in one podcast about my return to New Orleans for the first JazzFest since ’19. So I broke it in half.

More important than the music or incredible food which inform this unique city’s culture, to see it resilient as ever, as alive as ever, warms the heart.

Just being back brings arguably the most joy.

But, of course, the soft shell crab at impeccable GW Fins, a late lunch at Peche and Crawfish Strudel at the fest bring joy to my taste buds.

Then, oh yeah, the music at the best music festival extant in the world’s most music centric city.

Name Drop Interlude: At my friends Marc and Jill’s crawfish boil the other night, I was chatting with a pal of theirs, whom I’ve know for years. Who, I just learned the other night was roommates in the early 60s in military school with Duane Allman. Who was good friends with Robert and his parents, who hosted Duane and brother Greg for holidays, and whenever they came to town to play. Just sayin’.

Below I discuss some of the non local acts that grabbed my soul.

Stay tuned, Part Deux Coming Soon.

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Back In New Orleans for JazzFest

Posted: April 28th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music | 5 Comments »

My favorite thing in life, the New Orleans JazzFest, the best musical experience extant, is back after a two year hiatus because of You Know What.

So am I.

This will be my 33d Fest, the first in ’76.

Seven days of music on consecutive weekends, on ten stages inside Fairgrounds Racetrack complex from 11:30 in morning until 7:00.

Did I mention it’s in New Orleans, where you can also find something worthwhile to eat when out to dinner with friends?

I am beside myself with joy.

For the reasons why, listen below:

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Le Brer (in A. Miner)

Posted: March 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, Music, New Orleans, Personalities, Ruminations, Today's Lesson Learned | 5 Comments »

The header is not a misspell. Read on.

I live in a part of my hometown where everybody seems to be interconnected, where there are not a lot of degrees of separation. Where your cousin is likely to work with your neighbor’s uncle. The mother of your daughter’s current BF went to the junior prom 25 years ago with your boss’s brother. A former fellow bandmate of your Louisville contractor teaches guitar to your former fraternity brother. In New Orleans.

That kind of stuff.

An educated area, yet when asked what school one attended, the intention is to learn what high school, not college.

I’ve often joked that on my deathbed, two people will walk in together and provide the final tie in to everyone I’ve known.

I am used to connectivity.

So, I look for links in my life.

 * * * * *

I am a huge music fan.

Rock & Roll.

I’m full with it, my history with it. I can tell you exactly where I was when I first heard “Walk Don’t Run.” What acts were on the bill at the first concert I attended. “Biggest Show of Stars.” On July 29, 1961.

I’ve often mused whether I’d have made it as I have to double sevens without tuneage to provide a necessary soundtrack along the way. Read the rest of this entry »


“Get Back”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: December 3rd, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

Before diving into this, one must ask him/herself, do I really wish to spend 8 hours in the recording studio with the Beatles?

Do I want to watch the dynamic of the world’s best and easily most famous pop band, as they interact while disintegrating?

Do I wish to view the laborious process that goes into creating a song, like, oh, “Get Back?” Or how “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” came about?

Do I want to note Yoko Ono’s everpresence and wonder whaaaaaa?

Do I want to watch the fellows in fur jackets sit around and smoke, and argue in an understated way, or frolic about . . . or just exist?

Well, I’m an addict for rock & roll anecdotia. I watched it all.

But, to be blunt, found some of it to be tedious.

For more about the three part, Peter Jackson-directed series on Disney+, listen to my podcast below. Which is actually more informative than usual. Or, so I say.

Audio MP3

— c d kaplan


“The Velvet Underground”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: October 19th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

To be honest, I was somewhat taken aback a few years ago when Lou Reed passed away.

There was a far greater outpouring of mainstream grief than I would have ever expected.

His music, dark and emotive and poetic, had obviously struck more of a chord than I imagined.

As aware as I have been of the Velvet Underground, I have to admit an unfamiliarity with most of the band’s output.

Yet, I’ve always understood the importance of the group that germinated in the avant garde art scene of Manhattan in the 60s.

Director Todd Haynes beautifully lays out the whole fascinating tale in his marvelous documentary, “The Velvet Underground.”

It’s available for streaming at Apple TV+.

For a more detailed take on the film, listen to my podcast below:

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“As Tears Go By”: Rock & Roll Repast

Posted: April 26th, 2021 | Filed under: Music | No Comments »

The image is iconic as any from the mid 60s, when mainstream media was taking notice.

The musical fad of teenagers, the one that rocked forth the previous decade, obviously had traction.

Rock & Roll. In all its many manifestations. Blasting from transistor radios, strapped to bicycle handlebars. Pouring from new stations on Friday night’s in the parents’ borrowed station wagon.

The vision, that moment from the boob tube, as it was still dismissively called, black and white. From “Hullabaloo,” which along with “Shindig” was one of two primetime network acknowledgments of the burgeoning culture.

Paul Anka introduced Brian Epstein. Brian Epstein introduced her.

And, there she was, in all her innocence — or so we thought — dressed on Carnaby Street. Straight hair. Bangs. Pale. Impassive.

Perched by some production designer, supported by one arm, her legs tucked under her, immobile on a cube, but for the slightest occasional tilt of the head or time keeping twist of the ankle. Her voice sweet, a whisper. Read the rest of this entry »


“The Go-Go’s”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 2nd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

History of Rock & Roll Band documentaries have a certain, very familiar story arc.

It seems to be a trend.

This Showtime take on The Go-Go’s is no different.

Other than the fact that they were the first all female band, who wrote their own songs, and played their own instruments, that made a #1 album.

So, yeah, anything else that makes this doc worth watching?

Other than why Jann Wenner’s kept them out of the Rock & Roll HoF?

Or, what’s the story behind those towels they’re wearing on the cover of their first album?

For more reasons, why you might enjoy this pro forma documentary as I did, listen to the podcast below.

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Atlanta Pop ’70, Fifty Years On

Posted: June 30th, 2020 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations | Tags: | No Comments »

This Independence Day marks the half century anniversary of the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival. 

The following memories of mine were written and published a decade ago on the occasion of the event’s 40th anniversary. They have been edited, and updated, though my memory of that time long ago far away is absolutely no better on its own than ten years ago.

Which is why I reached out to a few friends who were at the festival, and, I’ve included the memories of those who responded and have any somewhat cogent recollection at all. They are added in italics. c d k 

Captain Canada and The Mailman.

It’s fifty years gone this Fourth of July weekend since those nicknames were bestowed upon my pal Stephen and me at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Many if not most of the memories of that magical interlude have long been lost in the daze of time. But this I can say for sure. We came upon those identities honestly.

As for the rest of that weekend outside Byron, Georgia, the tales told here are probably true, but perhaps not. Only the synapses of my and pals’ hippocampi know for sure. And they’ve long since lost most if not all connectitude to that time and place. Read the rest of this entry »


The Night I Said No to Little Richard

Posted: May 9th, 2020 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | 2 Comments »

Of the Founding Fathers of Rock & Roll, the quintet whose mugs would be on Mount Rushmore, two were frankly more incendiary than the rest.

It’s not that Elvis, Fats Domino, and Bo Diddley weren’t rockin’ and rollin’ in a totally new fashion in the mid 50s.

It’s just that the music of the other two blasted from the tinny speaker of the 7 transistor portable radio I got for my Bar Mitzvah, the device I could put in my bike basket, and thereby take my life’s preferred soundtrack with me wherever I roamed.

One was Jerry Lee Lewis.

When you’re 12 years old and you hear “Great Balls of Fire,” you turn to your pal and scream, “Holy shit, did you hear what he just sang?”

To get a sense of how raucous Jerry Lee could be, youtube his ’64 concert at the Star Club in Hamburg.

(Aside: That Jerry Lee Lewis is the last of those Founding Fathers standing is one of the wonders of the universe.)

The other who pushed the boundaries of the new teen culture to other dimensions was Little Richard. RIP.

His songs propelled. They were insistent. They were outrageous. Read the rest of this entry »


More JazzFest Musical Memories

Posted: May 2nd, 2020 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music, New Orleans | No Comments »

Realizing it’s truly an impossible task — sharing my “favorite” JazzFest musical moments that is — I’ve decided to take a different tack for this last take on JazzFest for this year.

Because, I love it all. Even the days when I can hear umpteen different performers and none really grab on and don’t let go.

As I always say, that’s why I keep coming back. From day to day. From year to year. Even now in 2020, when I can only experience the event via WWOZ’s JazzFesting in Place.

So, here’s some quick mentions of some regulars, and I’ll give it up for this time around.

 * * * * *

Have I mentioned how much I cherish Allen Toussaint?

Duh, like only a gazillion times.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with He Who Is My Favorite New Orleans Musical Icon, my favorite musical icon period.

When still alive, Toussaint, except maybe way back in the day, never had a regular band that gigged together all the time, that toured. He was, until Katrina for sure, mostly a writer, producer, arranger. But a sometimes performer.

So, at his annual JazzFest sets, his ensemble was always a put together outfit. The upper echelon of NO players, of course, Men and women who have played with him through the decades. But, not playing regularly, the groups were often not as tight as one might hope.

Plus, his singing voice, never anything truly special, diminished over time.

But ya know, it was always Allen Toussaint with his incredible presence that bridged the gap between dapper and dazzle, and his sweet persona, and his amazing songs and charts. Read the rest of this entry »


Favorite JazzFest Musical Memories, Part Trois

Posted: April 30th, 2020 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music | No Comments »

There’s a chat room where JazzFest obsessives like myself hang out.

For the acolytes, the Jazz Fest Forum  is a year round thing.

The denizens are called Threadheads, and most seem to know each other from hookups during Fest. Or otherwise. Liuzza’s seems to be the official unofficial meeting place. They also have a party every year during Fest called the Patry. With boffo lineups.

I’m sort of an outlier, an auxiliary Threadhead if you will, having come to the dialog later than most of the regulars. On the way to the Fest a few years back, in the Charlotte airport, I did meet a couple that helped start the Forum. And there’s the NRBQ-loving regular I chatted up a couple years ago between acts at the Gentilly Stage.

It’s a year round deal, but, as you can imagine, conversations ratchet up with the lineup announcement in January, and the posting of the Cubes a month out.

One of the regular threads will deal with lesser known, obscure acts that somebody’s heard in concert with a hearty “You gotta hear this group.”

I check them all out on youtube before making my daily plans. Weeks in advance, I must admit. Plus, disciple that I am, I also check out the ones I don’t know that might not have been recommended.

Which brings to my favorite tip of recent years . . .

. . . Bombino. Read the rest of this entry »