This is an open-ended blog ranging from news about my latest gigs and publications
to ruminations about politics, world affairs, culture and whatever piques my interest—or ire.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Playing at Preservation Hall has been a thrill for me ever since I first sat in with George Lewis in 1962. But yesterday's taping for the HBO Treme series was especially exciting—even if we had to play the same tune ten times.
Invited by trumpeter Wendell Brunious to join his band for the occasion, I found myself surrounded by some of the city's—no, the world's—top traditional jazzmen: Don Vappie on banjo, Gerald French on drums, Thaddeus Richard on piano, and Richard Moten on bass. New Orleans-born actor Wendell Pierce rounded out the band, miming the trombone part while Rebirth Brass Band trombonist Stafford Agee did the real playing off camera. (Pierce is not in this photo, taken during a run-through.)
The taping of our five-minute sequence took seven hours, allowing for numerous camera, lighting, and microphone changes as we played and replayed "My Bucket's Got a Hole in it" and several dozen technicians scurried around doing their thing. Their seven production vans lined St. Peter Street from the corner of Bourbon all the way down to Royal. There was a lot of down time, which allowed us to talk musician-trash among ourselves and chat with some of the people behind the great HBO series. I enjoyed talking with actor Wendell Pierce and learned that he, like Treme writer Lolis Elie, were both alumni of my high school, Benjamin Franklin. Despite the difference in our generations, it turns out they had some of the same teachers I had back in the 60s. Also got the chance to meet Treme's executive producer, Eric Overmyer, an unconditional fan of New Orleans music and culture, which he has done so much to honor and preserve with this series. Our sequence should run some time next fall. Stay tuned...