The FQF has been around for over 25 years, but this was my first visit.  I played a couple of the outdoor sets on Bourbon St. (this is the view from the piano bench).  I've heard from a lot of people who like traditional jazz that they prefer this to the much bigger Jazz and Heritage Festival, which I'm playing with my friend Clive Wilson and his New Orleans Serenaders this coming Sunday, 4/26. 


Lionel Ferbos is in many ways the man I come here to see.  He's a trumpet player, at 97 the oldest still-working musician in the city. I've known him for at least 30 years and consider the chance to play with him to be the highlight of any visit.  Here he is last night, with a fan, at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, where he works every Saturday.  This is the way he looks from the piano bench.  Note the music stand -- he brings a sheaf of lead sheets to every gig.  


At long last, it's springtime in Wisconsin.  Brave new life, hallelujah!  I'm off to New Orleans tomorrow for two weeks.  Will stay in touch.  Y'r obd'nt s'rv'nt, B. 


While working on something else here  just now, I accidentally deleted my April 7th post. It was about my friend, Max Morath.   He is a man of tremendous accomplishments, so I'm rewriting.  Max can do it all -- he's a wonderful pianist, he can act, sing, write a show, and do it all with grace.  I've known him for over 40 years, ever since he played a concert in St. Paul during a blizzard that kept everybody away except a few musicians.  We learned a lot that night.  That's where my interest in ragtime was born -- before, I had heard of Scott Joplin and even played a little of his music -- very little, as Max's show demonstrated.  He made believers out of us, and we never forgot.  I put his new CD on in the car, and it made my day. The track that did it for me was Clarence Woods' "Slippery Elm Rag," performed by Max's Original Rag Quartet, the same group we heard at that first concert.  What a band that was -- Max himself on piano and vocals, Jim Tyler on tenor banjo (he was a marvel,) Barry Kornfeld, guitar; and Felix Pappalardi, guitarron. I'd post a link, but I don't have Max's permission for that, so maybe you should check out that new CD.  It's on his website. 


Here's a shot of me on the MSU campus yesterday afternoon, performing at the third annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival.  More about that when I get back home early next week. 
Here's something else for you to check out -- a beautifully written 1959 portrait of my old friend Bill Russell.  Bill was a top authority on New Orleans jazz, a mentor to me and many of my friends.  Oh, and here's a great photo of Bill  in New Orleans, about the time the article was published. 


 The scene: Captiva Island, FL, where the temperature was 60 F warmer than in St. Paul on Sunday, 3/1/09


Time to go again.  I'm off to Madison (3+ hours) for a matinee gig tomorrow afternoon hosted by the Madison Jazz Society.  Trot (right) and Trilly think I'm crazy.  "Are you serious?  Look at the weather!"


Yesterday afternoon I played a concert at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  They have a great piano there, but the best part was the halfway decent feedback from the crowd, which makes me play better.  Here I am after the show, interacting with people. 


Last week, Pat Donohue and I played a tribute blues for my old friend Stan Hall, leader of the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band of Minneapolis.  I joined the band in April 1962 and have stayed with it ever since.  Stan died on February 4th.  That Saturday, I played his funeral, and later Pat and I played this for him on the radio. Here he is with his wife, Joanne, on a July day in 1991. Photo by Dave Pfankuchen.



    July 2009
    June 2009
    May 2009
    April 2009
    March 2009
    February 2009


    Scenes from Florida, 2/24-3/6.Backstage: a pensive Hal Smith, Marty Eggers retrofitting rented bass, Topsy Chapman puzzling. Post-concert: the trio, Topsy with daughters Jolynda and Yolanda.  Next day: gardenia, Sanibel sunset. 

    Pedal to the Metal 
    Last week I hit the road for a gig in Missouri.  It was an 8-hour drive.  Here's a look at the glamorous side of the music racket, starting with the morning vitamins.  

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