Yesterday, it was time once again to head to City Park’s beautiful Botanical Garden for Threadhead Thursday produced by Threadhead Records. Threadhead Records helps Katrina-affected musicians by loaning artists money to produce a CD. The artist pays back the loan within 6 months (and the money is returned to the investor-fans) along with a 5% donation to the Threadhead Records Foundation or other recognized charities benefitting local musicians and 5% to cover expenses. It’s a win-win situation resulting in amazing music.
City Park was clamoring with activity – football practice on one field, a well attended track meet on another, some huge event across from Storyland and, of course, Threadhead Thursday , so parking was tough to find. We drove in slow circles listening to the concert through our open windows.
Ensemble Fatien was still onstage when we finally arrived. I was glad not to have missed Seguenon Kone doing his signature spinning with his unwieldy wooden xylophone-type instrument. Margie Perez was all sunny smiles and high energy despite a cymbal-related injury to her foot. Having seen Ensemble Fatien nearly half a dozen times, I can say that their energetic, hip shaking music and charismatic performances never disappoint.
Next up was the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. Founded in ’94 by pianist Tom McDermott, trumpet player Kevin Clark and sousaphonist Matt Perrine, it’s basically an all-star band playing complicated riffs. Fronted by 3 guys on sax, 2 on trombone and a single trumpet, this is one “horny” band. I particularly liked a retelling of Little Liza Jane called Funky Liza.
I finally had the privilege of meeting Chris Joseph, the founder of Threadhead Records, who works from L.A. but keeps NOLA in his heart. He introduced me to Colman DeKay, another longtime resident of L.A. and the co-writer of 9 Lives, a musical retelling of the novel by Dan Baum centering on the lives of 9 New Orleanians between Hurricane Betsy (1965) and Katrina (2005). The 2 CD set holds over 100 musicians (even Mayor Mitch Landrieu sings on it) and is produced by Mystery Street Records, an offshoot of Threadhead. There will be a live show May 4th at Le Petit Theatre featuring an all-star line up from the CDs.
It was a great day for meeting new friends, hugging one I’d never met in person and I even ran into Reid Wick, guitarist for the Bucktown Allstars, who I’d so enjoyed last year at Wednesday on the Square.
Next up was Alex McMurray Band, but we’re hoping to see them in this next music-packed week as Jazz Fest started today! Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs were set to follow and we’d been lucky enough to see them at French Quarter Fest. Paul Sanchez & The Rolling Road Show were also on the playbill but… the Hornets were playing game 6 of the playoff series against the L.A. Lakers so we ducked out to cheer our Bees on.
The Hornets did what they could, but their amazing season came to an end. Congratulations to them all for getting so far and to our city for coming together to keep them here.
And the Saints seemed to have had a heck of a day at the draft collecting both California defensive end Cameron Jordan and Alabama running back and 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. Who Dat! Both recruits are sons of NFL veterans and we’re lucky to have them, though it looks like it’s the end of our rocky love story with 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, running back
Reggie Bush. I fear change and hate goodbyes but we can’t afford Bush so I wish Reggie well wherever he ends up.
And my giant backyard magnolia tree is in bloom bearing dozens of floppy white flowers that bruise in the wind. Enjoy a couple photos as well as my Spring wreath.