Friday Filler – We’ve Never Needed Music More…

Thank Grog It’s Firday!

The world continues to sputter along with a cough, a sneeze and a wheeze, depending on where you are.  Oregon continues to deal with containing wildfires, the residual smoke, and an uptick in Covid cases…so we kind of have the “misery trifecta,” as the kids are going back to school…without actually going to school.  My wife, as a school counselor, who actually had to deal with a couple of their staff members getting Covid, is playing more roles than Peter Sellers in “Dr. Strangelove.”  (look it up…great movie for the current state of the world). Not a happy camper…mostly because she’d rather be camping!

But, hey…WE GOT AN UPDATE!

EA hasn’t forgotten about us. And while I am just a few clicks into it (OK…so yes…I rushed it a bit…), I can tell you that with the world doing its best to come apart at the seams, we could all use a little more traditional jazz!

I know. I know.  Jazz isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But, hear me out. There are almost as many kinds of jazz as there are musical tastes. And as Lisa and her “saxamaophone” are a standard in every show opening, it’s nice to see the music get a bit more sophisticated beyond “Band Practice” with Dewey Largo,  in every opening montage.

I think Homer said it best, in the opening dialogue of this new update…
“Newspapers are weird…no sports page and several pages of obituaries.”
‘Nuff said. Let’s just leave it by saying, music calms the troubled heart. And we could use a lot of calming these days.

But I have to admit, although we’ve had fires and all sorts of weird wind in the West, I get a knot in my stomach every time I see another tropical storm ramping into a hurricane, and pointed at the gulf states…and particularly New Orleans.  One of my favorite cities in the world, New Orleans, was just getting back on its feet after Katrina…and now this. Ugh.

This Jazz Update, was a perfect reminder of the national musical treasure that is New Orleans.  When it comes to music, they have it all…

No…Really...they have it all.
Funk, Trad Jazz, Big Band, Fusion, and my favorite, Dixieland…
And it is everywhere...or at least it was before COVID.  
Dixieland Jazz at its best at the Spotted Cat (yes it is a real place) Music Club

Funk and Fusion Jazz/Rock at the RBar and Royal St. Inn


Traditional Dixieland Trio on the Steamboat Natchez


French “Gypsy Jazz” in the style of  Django Reinhardt at the Royal Frenchman Hotel and Bar

And live brass bands on almost every other street corner…

These were all shots taken from our amazing trip over the New Years Holiday…over just a few hours.  There was that much music.

Was…

Because even now, 7 months after Covid virtually shut down the city…the primary music opportunities for these musicians are still shut down.

As of 9/20/2020…the entire French Quarter is still in Phase 2.
What Types of Businesses Are Closed During Phase Two?
The following operations  and activities  remain closed or prohibited  during Phase Two:

  • Bars, breweries and distilleries (with or without Louisiana Department of Health food permit)* Note: some bars continue to offer food service as take out under a special permit, but no to-go alcohol sales will be permitted at this time.
  • Amusement parks
  • Music/concert halls
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Trade shows
  • Arcades
  • Indoor live performance venues
  • Second lines and parades

I am heartbroken at what this means to the musicians…most of whom were barely eeking out a living on tips, small paid gigs and specialty parties and conventions.  The map shows just how many historic jazz venues on Frenchman St. (the real heart of New Orleans music…not the drunken frat party vibe of Bourbon St) have been decimated by Covid closures.

So…did I blow a ton of donuts on the Premium Content?
Hell2theYes on that!

And YES…I built an homage to New Orleans, complete with a sea wall to help protect it from storm surges. (pic appears later in this post).

EA/Gracie got a couple of things very right…and a couple of things alarmingly wrong, even for the Simpsons.

What they got right?  Adding the Spotted Cat as a prize.
Here’s a couple of  shots of the ACTUAL Spotted Cat. 

What they got pretty much wrong?
Making the Jazz station, KJAZZ.  Can’t be. Sorry!
The FCC allows 3-4 Call Letters per station. Not Five.  So while they got the K part correct, if it is in the REAL Springfield (which is in Oregon), with all radio stations West of the Mississippi starting with a K instead of a W…the rest was kinda off. But, I wanted it anyway, as it reminded me of the REAL New Orleans Radio Station (the one featured in the amazing HBO series “Treme”)

WWOZ  sits down near the waterfront, close to where the steamboats load, and just a couple of stone’s throws from Cafe Du Monde…and the other reason I love New Orleans,  BEIGNETS!!

I could complain that the music that the “Bourbon Street Band” is not really the kind of music you would find on Bourbon Street…which these days is a lot of Dance, Rock, Blues and Piano Bars. 

And I could also complain that the music that plays when you tap the Band, is a lick of Big Band…and not the kind of Brass Marching band depicted (often in Second Line parades and Mardi Gras).  But, I won’t.

Again…for a taste of real life in New Orleans for musicians, cooks and servers…watch the amazing HBO series, “Treme.”

I didn’t complain..Because I was able to create a very happy homage to my favorite music town, using the items I won and bought, to make something that would make the New Orleans Visitor Center proud…or at least adding a bit of positive energy for the possible re-opening of more than just their NFL franchise.

I let it all slide…when I came to the final frames of this update (yes…for the 50th time, I rushed it with farmed donuts).  The exchange between Lisa and Bleeding Gums Murphy brought a tear to my eye.

The fact is…I’m not a huge believer in the traditional sense of the hereafter.  I believe that people continue on…in some form of energy, and we are able to bring them back for glimpses of love and connection through memory and intention.  If we remember someone…they continue to be real, and not just a puff of smoke that depletes into nothingness.

I have lost a great number of friends over the past couple of years.  I’m at that age where it is inevitable.  200,000 lives have been lost to Covid since the end of February.  But, all who mourn, find themselves struggling with the same fervent desire to feel their loved ones with them again.

Music is a touchstone to that “other world” where inspiration, joy and love reside…outside of this space time and the constant barrage of negative information.  The musicians who have dedicated their lives to their art in New Orleans have faced more challenges than most…and yet, their art perseveres.  It is eternal. It is needed. It is healing…

I leave you this week with a video from Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses…the band was formed and is fronted by Jazz phenom, Aurora Nealand…who we had the pleasure to see live at the Spotted Cat (that’s her under the big fedora in the picture of the Spotted Cat above).

Enjoy.  Smile. Pray for this kind of joy to come back to New Orleans again soon.

23 responses to “Friday Filler – We’ve Never Needed Music More…

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed This post today! Thank you. Always look forward to Friday TSTO.

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  2. Hi Patric, your post has inspired me to listen to some Sidney Bechet and also the Preservation Hall Jazz Band today. The dialogue in this update is again fantastic. I literally laughed out loud at the line about the “sardonic” bass!

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  3. Just got the bridge and put Murphy and Lisa on the task to play sax, fantastic, only negative is connecting water to it,

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  4. Groovy stuff… Might’ve preferred the realistic / actual 2 story balcony styled version of Spotted Cat, but can’t really complain😎👌

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  5. Here in Scotland things had been getting better in terms of progress with limiting the spread of COVID, but things started going the other way again over the last couple of weeks and nationwide restrictions have been put in place again. In certain places where it is particularly bad, full lockdown has been reintroduced and there’s been talk of using the army to enforce the restrictions if the public are not complying with the new regulations.

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    • Well…they predicted this resurgence clear back in the spring. So…science wins this debate, but we are all forced into another version of Groundhog Day again. It seems like wash, repeat, rinse…repeat…in between the “standard horrors” of fires, elections, and distanced learning.

      Like

  6. The beignets look disgusting. I had them in that cafe in 1976 and they were LIGHTLY dusted with sugar, not completely obliterated.

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    • Disgusting apparently is in the eye of the de-dusting.
      The beauty of powdered sugar, is how easily it can be removed or added to one’s taste. But before you label another bite of heaven “disgusting,” please remember that first impressions are only “powder deep.”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Enjoying this short event that am not going to rush, even though i want to see Murphy on the bridge, am a bit of a collector of vinyl, preferably the original releases, not the 180g, I was in Edinburgh city to browse some of the vinyl shows I frequent and most of them have shut up shop☹️, small businesses will suffer, I now need to go online discogs, to buy vinyl, or go to car boot sales or flea markets.

    New Orleans now on my bucket list to visit once the madness end’s sounds like my kind of place.

    Nice post Patric, 😉👍😁🎷🎺🎶🥁

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    • Thanks, Keith. And yes…I was “vaccinated” on Dixieland by Saturday mornings listening to my Dad’s collection of vinyl records…some of them 78’s…with the greatest names in Jazz bursting from the needle and through the speakers.

      I still have a decent collection…and a good turntable…but admit that I rarely play them. For me, and my era, it is the album covers that I miss the most. Great art, with loads of liner note info.

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  8. I was in New Orleans for a Bachelor party early 2019. Flew down from Ontario, Canada for 4 days. I remember 2 of the 4 days lol. It’s special! Every place you go there’s music, amazing people. Catfish dinners that would almost be worth the flight during a Pandemic.

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    • Music…so many versions of drinks you thought you knew…and so many original dishes. I could never narrow it down to a favorite. But, the shrimp Po’Boy we had at a tiny little lunch counter, in the back of a tiny little bar (recommended by the people who owned the air BnB), may be one of the best I’ve had in a lifetime. Huge, fresh shrimp…a secret red sauce…peppers…on a homemade bun. Crazy, simple perfection.

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  9. P.S.

    Yes, KJAZZ should’ve been KJAZ , but it should have also been like Channel 6 & KBLL (a Building where various Characters can Task, as well as a Building where you can make various Tasks happen).

    I’m just so happy for the two new Voiced Characters (I’m looking forward to the new Season of The Simpsons beginning this Sunday, where we’re going to see new actors voicing certain Characters – such as Hank Azaria’s replacement for Carl).

    I truly hope things will be better by December (wink wink, nudge nudge!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would have given W to the stations West of the Mississippi. All I can think of that the person in charge wanted to give stations in Kansas the K.

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  11. New Orleans has definitely suffered to the point I don’t know if it’ll be the same once there is a vaccine for this pandemic (businesses need help, those who entertain need help, neither are getting enough help) AND those continuous storms from the Caribbean (wow! footage from the time the winds were blowing so hard the roof to one of the Casinos was coming off! that’s what NOLA endured!) ☹️

    I could say the same thing about anywhere affected by wild 🔥’s (I haven’t seen a blue sky out here since and the air quality sucks!), a prolonged drought (Nevada breaking a record with 156 days since the last measured rainfall), covid-19 cases that bounce down (when folks cooperate!) and then bounce up (when a certain individual comes to town for political rallies where nobody follows the rules!) 🙄

    I could also say this is one of them best Events in 2020 (even better that it’s a Mini Event not padded by Crap Event Prizes!) 🥳

    thanks EA !

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  12. Thanks for the info, much appreciated 👍

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  13. Hi all,

    I have somehow obtained Jazzy Goodtimes today but have no idea how! Driving me nuts! Can someone put me out of my misery please?

    Thank you
    1000Fireball0001

    Liked by 1 person

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