Jerry [Jumonville] and I met and gigged in the late ’50s. I went to New Orleans around 2001 or so; Jerry, Eddie Hynes, and I got together like we’d never been apart. We have talked on the phone quite a bit since we reconnected. I’ll never talk to him again. What a great friend, musician and congenial man. He will be greatly missed by me. I loved you like my own brother, Jerry.
—Boo Hargis (born in Algiers),
Grand Junction, Colorado
Anders Holiday Spectacular
We have enjoyed many shows but it’s the local shows that are the best.
A perfect example was last night at Tipitina’s: “Anders Osborne’s Annual Holiday Spectacular.” The show was kicked off by Alvin Youngblood Hart with a trip deep into blues America. He finished his set with a Charley Patton composition from 1929.
Anders and his band set up and took the stage and melted the audience with five rockers that were birthed from that same delta blues.
Horn player Benny Bloom— who blew his jazz trumpet with such volume, clarity and timing that, when he was leaving the stage, Anders asks him to stay— so he did. Then, Anders introduced local rock and roll cello player Helen Gillet. I don’t know that I have seen anything as sexy as this woman taking over Anders’ song “Back on Dumaine.” Another local, Leyla McCalla, was invited onto the stage and played her banjo while the whole band joined her on beautiful creole folk songs.
And then we got the great American poet, Steve Earle. Earle came on and said, “This is the best fucking stage I have ever played.” Then he played his song “This City,” penned post-Katrina while he was in residence filming the HBO series Treme. He told stories of his time in New Orleans, endearing the audience, as he confirmed that he is truly a New Orleanian.
The finale was the whole band playing Woody Guthrie’s American anthem, “This Land is Your Land” joined by harp player Johnny Sansone.
—Tim Triplett, Slidell, Louisiana
This letter is in response to Seva Venet’s article “The Banjo: An unusual voice in the story of New Orleans music” published in our January 2020 edition.—ED.
What a great way to start the New Year with this succinct and informative article on the role of the 4- and 6-string banjo. Shout out to Rachel Lyons from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation for tagging me on it. By the way, I play a 4-string tenor, a 6-string 1928 Belltone banjo (that Danny Barker, at the end of an afternoon visit and jam at his and Blu Lou’s home, was nice enough to autograph for me), and lastly a 5-string banjo in the Clawhammer style. I’ll certainly be sharing the new information that I’ve learned here with my students in the various blues, jazz and anti-racism programs I conduct around the world.
—T.J. Wheeler, Hampton Falls, NH
In the January 2020 edition, Positive Vibrations HeartBeat Award (Culture Bearer) Clarence “Delco” Dalcour, the much respected Ray “Big Chief Hatchet” Blazio was misidentified as Ray Fazio. Many apologies for the error.—Geraldine Wyckoff
Also in the January 2020 edition, The Nominations contained several spelling errors. Lelya McCalla should be Leyla McCalla, Chapel Hill should be Chapel Hart and Daquiri Queens should be Daiquiri Queens. The online ballot however did reflect the correct spellings. Lifetime Achievement Award for Music Business Shirani Rea was misspelled as Shirani Rae. We regret the errors.—ED.