One of the things I so love about this job is that I not only get to meet so many great people, I learn something every day. First those great people: I happened to run into Elvis Costello in the line to get some Trout Bacquet at Jazz Fest, and we talked about the new Allen Toussaint album. We both agreed that it contains one of the most touching and moving songs I’ve ever heard. Costello told me it was a one-take deal. Wait ‘til you hear it. Album should be out in June.
I saw my friend Tish from my first two years in high school, whose daughter is dating one of our writers. We caught up on almost 50 years of not seeing each other.
One of most favorite character actors, Willie Garson, was also near the WWOZ Jazz Tent. I’ve seen him at Jazz Fest many times, but not being someone to walk up into someone’s space and be a “fan” (I’m shy that way, believe it or not), I was surprised to learn that he’s been coming to Jazz Fest for over 30 years. And these are just a very, very few people who I saw at the Fest, or who came up to the office. Lovely, fantastic people all, who love the same things that I do.
I think the Jazz Fest is one of those events that bring so many people together every single year, and we’re all united in one thing, loving music. Pretty cool.
What’s even cooler is what you learn from people from outside the US.
Today, post-Fest, we had a visitor from Japan, Koitchiro Enomoto, who is the Editor in Chief at a Japanese music magazine called Band Life. He lives in the same prefecture as Yoshio Toyama, who attends Satchmo Summerfest every year. Band Life is focused on brass instruments, people who play them, and the horn culture in Japan. Poor Eno, he was only here for three days, and was running around trying to soak up as much music as he possibly could. He’s totally enthralled with the music and musicians of New Orleans. He raved on and on about the musicians here, and was looking for us to recommend some brass bands and traditional jazz bands that a Japanese visitor should see while in New Orleans (we will be collaborating on that in the future). Apparently the Japanese are into brass and wind music in a big, big way. Did you know that there are 15,000 wind ensembles in Japan and over 1,000 big bands?
I love the cover of his magazine of an anime figure playing a euphonium. It’s now very popular for girls to play brass and wind instruments and there are several manga series and related anime featuring all-girl brass bands.
And New Orleans is the mecca for brass bands.
Hey, tourism people….how about getting a “Visit New Orleans” message into this magazine? Guaranteed results. Music lovers travel, even when there’s not a festival going on.