San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Monday, April 20, 2009


Yes, sure it has its ugly step-sister side, but Oh the music -- jazz in sedate settings, jazz piano at the National Park Jazz Center, brassy street music, violins and guitars playing Pachelbel; street artists in every nook and cranny.  And to think I almost drove past this magical city!

A calliope greets visitors to the Riverboat Natchez.
Boys from the hood draw dancers and smiling, hand-clapping fans wherever they go. I was originally treated to their street-corner music at the 2006 Jazz Fest. Playing in the street is their venue of choice, and of course I bought their CD.  Maybe the tuba player can buy a new one some day soon.
Click to enlarge this photo; capturing serendipity makes my day!

This guy could make his horn burn!

My last evening in New Orleans was spent here with its mosaic tiled floors and old brick walls that house a fabulous collection of photographs of jazz greats.  I admit to being slightly self conscious about eating alone.  Palm Court's hostess understood and insisted on seating me at a small table next to the lace-curtained windows where my view of the band and dancers was better than from the bar.  Music/food, sublime!

Preservation Hall, the sacred temple of New Orleans Jazz.  No visit to New Orleans would be complete without  a pilgrimage here.  Preservation Hall is tiny; the wait to get in is long; and the number of guests is limited.  The first in line can sit on the floor at the foot of the band or on one of four wooden benches.  As many as will fit can crowd into about 60 or so square feet of steerage standing room at the back -- or leave!  (No interior photographs.  By that time of day two camera batteries had already expired ...imagine an expletive here!)  By the way, the exterior is deliberately painted to look decrepit and craggy. And charming, I guess.

S'far as I'm concerned, a mime is an artist, especially if he's covered in silver paint and can juggle while standing on an elevated 12" x 12" platform!

This exotic beauty from Brazil at first refused to let me photograph her.  I hung around, chatted, hung around, admired her work, shuffled from left foot to right foot.  She finally relented so long as I emailed her copies.  Of course I did so; it was definitely worth my while!

Some of the artists were diligent; others not so much.

Day is done.  Back to his loft.  I hope he sold a painting or two.
Stay tuned for Part III (eventually!)