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Bella Blue, Jason Kruppa, OffBeat Magazine, September 2014

A Day in the Life of Burlesque Diva Bella Blue

It is 11:50 p.m. on a Saturday at the Allways Lounge—10 minutes before cutting-edge burlesque spectacle the Dirty Dime Peep Show is set to begin—and producer/performer Bella Blue has just arrived from another show. As she enters the small dressing room with mirrors and posters quoting “Young hearts be free tonight” from Rod Stewart’s “Young [...]

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Laundry Day, OffBeat Magazine, September 2014

Checkpoint Charlie Bar Fight Spawns Independent Film “Laundry Day”

The whole place launched into a melee. A bar stool struck the bartender; pint glasses flew; instruments were thrown aside; people were dragged out by their hair. Writer/director Randy Mack was new to the city and had just rolled up to a dark French Quarter drinking post, dumped his clothes in their back-room washing machine, [...]

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Tuba Skinny, OffBeat Magazine, September 2014

Tuba Skinny Stays on the Street

  It’s easy to understand why musicians who can’t get indoor gigs would play on the streets for tips. It’s harder to understand why they would keep busking even after they’ve graduated to nightclubs and jazz festivals. Tuba Skinny, the New Orleans trad-jazz septet that emerged from the city’s fertile busking scene to hit the [...]

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Wynton Marsalis, Frank Stewart, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Wynton Marsalis on Louis Armstrong, New Orleans, and America

When Louis Armstrong was only age 21 at the dawn of the Jazz Age, he left his hometown of New Orleans to seek his fortune. By 1928, he’d become the toast of the town in New York City after making a series of recordings that essentially defined jazz. A half century later, Wynton Marsalis, another [...]

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Shotgun Jazz Band, Marissa Altazan, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

The Shotgun Jazz Band Moves on Up

After three albums, myriad roster changes, and the steady transformation from a ragtag street band to dependable club and festival performers, the Shotgun Jazz Band has found its niche. Even better, the six-member traditional-jazz band has solidified its sound. If you’ve been within earshot of any of the band’s live performances, you know the heart [...]

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Satchmo Infographic, Elsa Hahne, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

New Mosaic Records Box Set Redefines Louis Armstrong’s Legacy

  Forty-three years after his death, Louis Armstrong’s later career is undergoing a serious reevaluation. Historians are re-examining the critical consensus that Armstrong’s brilliance was confined to his early career. No one disputes that his early recordings, including the magnificent Hot Five and Hot Seven sides from 1925-28, set a standard for jazz performance that [...]

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Pete Fountain and Tim Laughlin, Elsa Hahne, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Tim Laughlin’s Open Letter to Pete Fountain

Dear Pete, when you announced your retirement a few months ago, the bitter-sweetness of such a difficult decision weighed on so many who know and love you. When I spoke to you that day I didn’t have the words, but now I do and I want to say thank you. We all have our favorite [...]

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Louis Ford, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Louis Ford Plays Old-Time New Orleans Jazz

Louis Ford has spent his entire life around some of New Orleans’ finest musicians—first and foremost his father, the late, great clarinetist and saxophonist Clarence Ford. With the sounds of his forefathers’ music in his head and heart, Ford became dedicated to preserving traditional jazz as “it should be played” and as he heard it [...]

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Joe Lastie, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Preservation Hall Drummer Joe Lastie Has Music in his Genes

It’s not a stretch to say that music—and especially drumming—is in Joe Lastie’s genes. As a child, he heard his maternal grandfather playing drums in church and his paternal grandfather, Frank Lastie, do the same. Other drummers in his family include greats such as his uncle Walter “Popee” Lastie and his cousin Herlin Riley. He [...]

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Lawrence Batiste, Jenny Salazar, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Drummer Lawrence Batiste Recalls Growing up in Louis Armstrong’s Neighborhood

Not unlike many New Orleanians, 75-year-old drummer Lawrence Batiste had pre-birth experiences with the music of the Crescent City. Sitting in a coffee shop on Oak Street in the heat of this summer, he recalls, “There’s a story that my mom was carrying me before I was born. She liked second lines. She used to [...]

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