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.

Such is my obsession that I seek out anecdotia that will helpfully provide explanation for the music that has moved me the most. My mind is filled with way too much trivia.

Like, that General Norman Johnson of Chairmen of the Board was the leader of The Showmen, and sang “It Will Stand.” Like, that a band which played a dance for my fraternity, Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs (“Stay”) were once the Gladiolas, and did the original version of “Little Darlin’.”

But, as much as I know, there’s always somethin’ else, right?

Right. As I recently learned.

Which brings me to the interaction of those two seemingly disparate trains of thought above.

The other week I had one of those moments as described, when I learned of the person who connected my two favorite musical things.

The link, if you will.

 * * * * *

The first time I heard the Allman Brothers Band was July 3, 1970 at the Atlanta Pop Festival. I’d never even heard of them prior. Until the night before the fest, on a secondary stage deep in the woods, when a roadie kept announcing that Sky Dog Allman was coming to jam.

Who is this guy, I wondered? Too beyond blither, and in need of sleep, I didn’t stay.

The next night, the first of the official festival, from far away in the six figure crowd, I was drawn immediately to the stage. Wind picking up, their hippie length hair waving, ABB was playing “Every Hungry Woman.”

They had me from “Sad eyed woman/ Boogie til the break of dawn.”

I heard them do four sets when slide savant Duane Allman was still alive. Twice there in Byron, Georgia. Two sets that following winter at Reflections, a club in Cincinnati.

Plus many many many times through the decades in various lineup configurations, always with Greg and Butch and Jaimoe. In football stadiums. At baseball parks. Indoors. Outdoors. At a motor speedway.

When I’m down, when I need ballast in my life, required to take a breath and get to a serene spot, I put on one version or another of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”

The savage beast inside always succumbs. Serenity ensues.

 * * * * *

The other significant, identifying musical force in my life is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

To which I was introduced by an old college chum in 1976.

In two months time — Lord willing and the creek don’t rise — I’ll be attending my 33d JazzFest. Because of the virus cancellations, I’ve not been since the last in ’19. The longest hiatus without visiting New Orleans in April for Fest since 1988.

Through the years listening to that incredible, soulful, funky music, I discovered connectitude with the Crescent City spirit force that goes back to my days of Top 40 News Weather and Sports, Big Hugh Baby on WLAC, buying 45s at Variety and Vine Records.

I had more Fats Domino platters than those of anybody else. Of course, I knew he was from New Orleans. But didn’t realize Allen Toussaint’s contributions. That it is him playing piano on some of those hits. Plus he produced the great one hitter, legendary Ernie K-Koe’s “Mother In Law.” Along with peripheral folks you might not know, like Bobby Marchan. Or stars you have, like Little Richard, whose Speciality tunes were recorded in the Crescent City.

Frankie Ford. Phil Phillips. The Dixie Cups.

Aaron Neville, tellin’ it like it is.

The influence of Longhair and Booker.


I love the place. It’s music. It’s presence.

How it has sustained me.

 * * * * *

Connection Part I: So, it was a wondrous day for me a month or so ago, because such things matter to the core of my soul, when I discovered the missing link that connected the Allmans and JazzFest.

Duane and Greg grew up in Daytona Beach, attended Seabreeze HS.

Their band in their earliest days was the Allman Joys.

Connection Part II: In the early 70s, at the behest of the New Orleans city fathers, impresario George Wein was asked to develop a festival featuring the music and culture of the town and the state.

At the recommendation of the head of Tulane’s Jazz Archive, Wein commandeered a couple New Orleans twentysomething music obsessives to help him track down performers and administer the festival.

One was Quint Davis, who remains to this day, the major domo of Fest.

The other, Alison Miner.

She, similarly imbued with the wellspring of indigenous music of the area.

Miner became Professor Longhair’s manager. She and Davis formed the Fest. Years later after moving to Cleveland, but returning to the city where she needed to live, she developed the Music Heritage Stage at JazzFest, interviewing performers.

And performing herself on occasion.

Ms. Miner could sing. Ms. Miner knew her stuff. Ms. Miner felt it to the core of her soul.

The first band she sang with was years before in high school.

Seabreeze HS in Daytona Beach.

Where she fronted a band with classmate Duane and his brother Greg.

A. Miner & The Allman Joys.

Now I understand how the combination of the two render the chord of my being, a scale with no flats and no sharps.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.

A Miner, if I might.

I am Le Brer (in A. Miner.)

— c d kaplan

5 Comments on “Le Brer (in A. Miner)”

  1. 1 Dave Neuburger said at 4:30 pm on March 4th, 2022:

    Very sweet, now I understand more about the Alison Miner Stage at the fest.

  2. 2 Martha Neal said at 7:41 pm on March 4th, 2022:

    don’t have the words to
    tell you how much I love this….

  3. 3 Allan McGuffey said at 7:52 pm on March 4th, 2022:

    Perfect. It’s worth waiting a lifetime for this connection.

  4. 4 Mark Isaacs said at 8:15 am on March 5th, 2022:

    Zing! Synapsis fire. Connections made. All is right with the world. Rock me all night long.

  5. 5 don blackburn said at 11:40 am on March 5th, 2022:

    If you haven’t, you must send this to organizers of this year’s Jazzfest!

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