June 24, 2011
Even before the appearance of the hit HBO series Treme, named for a district in New Orleans, the great jazz tradition that was born there had received a boost. The Rebirth Brass Band, The Dirty Dozen, Big Sam and His Funky Nation, and a slew of hot bands had taken the classic style of Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Joe Oliver, and others and added to it, bringing in the funk and other musical ideas of the rock 'n roll era. Read a related SFCV article here.
Now, of course, the New Orleans sound is literally everywhere, thanks in no small part to HBO's ongoing series whose second season finale,”Do Watcha Wanna” (titled after a 1995 Rebirth album) airs on July 3.
In this SFCV-exclusive video, Kermit Ruffins (one of the original Rebirth members) and Big Sam Williams talk about the New Orleans musical scene, and its revival after Hurricane Katrina, and the classic tradition that is so clearly present when they put their horns to their lips. Hearing Ruffins swing a chorus of Sunny Side of the Street at the end of the video, is like opening a direct channel to Armstrong. …
Music from the HBO series is hitting the road to showcase the vitality of New Orleans’ traditional jazz.
This project is supported in part by Gordon P. and Ann Getty, Robin and Kay Frost, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.