Home' Rhythms Magazine : RHYTHMS JULY AUGUST 2019 Contents It has been a sad start to the winter. I had
been feeling optimistic after a trip to the
30th anniversary Bluesfest and the 50th New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with a great
set from a happy Van Morrison and then an
amazing show in San Francisco on the way
home from Laurie Anderson, John Zorn and
I had been looking forward to the remainder
of the year and being able to have some
more time to spend on the magazine
to avoid the sort of major blunder that
occasionally occurs (and did so, much to
my chagrin, recently). Then things headed
First, acclaimed local musician Glen Hannah,
partner of Felicity Urquhart, left us on May
27. He had played with a Who’s Who of local
artists, and not just country-oriented acts.
I didn’t know Glen personally though I had
seen him many times, respected his work
and always enjoyed his playing. He had
appeared on many of my favourite Australian
albums of recent years and will be a huge
loss to the local music scene.
Then on June 6, Malcolm John Rebennack,
Dr John, died after several years of ill health.
He was one of the four great, influential
post-war piano players from New Orleans -
the others being Professor Longhair, James
Booker and Allen Toussaint. If Toussaint
wrote many of the hits from New Orleans
that reached a mass teenage audience in the
‘60s, then Dr John created the image and the
mood that reached a hipper group of music
fans in the ’70 with albums such as Gris Gris,
Dr John’s Gumbo, and InThe Right Place.
Both musicians loved New Orleans as only
natives of the city can: where it seems
impossible for them to conceive of leaving.
Toussaint could have made a fine living
elsewhere but stayed and only really toured
widely after Hurricane Katrina and his
work with Elvis Costello. Dr John moved to
Brooklyn for a while but apparently had food
regularly delivered from New Orleans.
I have lost count of the number of times
I saw Dr John In concert. At least 30 or so
times in New Orleans and twice on tour in
Australia, including a memorable Bluesfest
show. I interviewed him several times and
almost understood his distinctive patois – a
variation of the Creole language that he
seemed to have created on his own. When I
saw the Doctor here back in the ’80s he was
not in great shape, yet he still played with
the same panache he had always shown. He
managed to turn his life around somewhat
Orleans he was in much better shape and
had become a fixture at Jazz Fest and venues
such as Tipitina’s.
The performance that stands out in my
mind – and one of the least elaborate - was
one he shared with Allen Toussaint at a
workshop in the Grandstand at Jazz Fest
at least 22 years ago. Both musicians sat at
Grand pianos facing each other and played a
selection of classic New Orleans tunes – their
own compositions and others. It was hard to
tell where one ended and the other picked
up and when they played in unison it was
impossible to tell them apart. It was almost
as if they had some sort of musical ESP.
I was stunned at the abilities of these master
musicians as they covered the gamut of
New Orleans styles. It was easy to hear how
Professor Longhair and James Booker had
inspired their playing, becoming part of their
musical DNA. That one show lives on in my
In the years since, I saw Dr John many times
in many different settings - and it was always
enjoyable to hear him with his full band on
the main Jazz Fest stage - but nothing quite
approached the brilliance and intimacy of
Allen Toussaint died nearly four years ago
and it is still difficult to believe that he is no
longer seen walking around Jazz Fest in his
impeccable suit wearing sandals, chatting
to fans and having his photo taken with
them. So much of the music I listened to
when I was young was created or produced
by Toussaint and it was such a thrill to see
him so often in New Orleans that it is still
impossible not to miss him.
The same goes for Dr John, whose classic
albums came along just as I was getting
immersed in New Orleans funk. He has been
absent from the past two Jazz Fests and
rumours were rife that he was suffering ill
health but these are rumours you wanted to
dismiss. Now he is gone – another icon lost
and sadly missed.
I hope you enjoy this latest edition of the
magazine. We have the usual features on our
musical heritage and some of its veterans
but, of course, we also highlight new
musicians bursting – or about to burst - onto
the scene. There are festival reviews and the
first of a series of travel articles (in response
to your requests).
Until next issue.
Dr John - and decorative skull - at his final New Orleans JazzFest (2017). Charles Neville on sax.
FRI JUL 5 - THE CHESS SESSIONS FEAT CHRIS STOCKLEY'S BRAM,
KELLY AUTY, JAMES BLACK, ROBERT PRICE
SAT JUL 6 - TAMMI SAVOY AND THE CHRIS CASELLO TRIO
SUN JUL 7 - ROBERT FORSTER & BAND - INFERNO
THURS JUL 11 - GREG CHAMPION - Winnebago Lounge
SAT JUL 13 - BENNY & THE FLYBYNITERS AND HANK'S JALOPY DEMONS
SUN JUL 14 - ANDREW PATTISON'S 70TH BIRTHDAY BASH - GLENN CARDIER,
ROSS RYAN, GREG CHAMPION, PAUL WOOKEY & more....
SAT JUL 20 - THE SUN AIN'T GONNA SHINE ANYMORE - THE SONGS OF SCOTT WALKER
- ROB SNARSKI, DAVE GRANEY, MOOGY MORGAN, DAVID BOWERS, JACK HOWARD & more...
SAT JUL 27 - RENEE GEYER
FRI AUG 2 - NICK BARKER & THE MONKEY MEN PRESENT "LET IT BLEED" 50TH ANNIVERSARY
SAT AUG 3 - STARS
SAT AUG 10 - THE COODABEEN CHAMPIONS - LIVE !
SAT AUG 17 - ALBERT LEE & PETER ASHER (UK)
SUN AUG 18 - ALBERT LEE & PETER ASHER (UK)
SAT AUG 24 - THE BLACK SORROWS
SUN AUG 25 - BOB 'BONGO' STARKIE - SKYHOOKS
WED AUG 28 - JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
THURS AUG 29 - JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
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