COOKBOOK: Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes, is John Besh’s most approachable effort to date. The 101 recipes in the book, Besh’s fourth, are easy to follow, include home cooked meals familiar to Louisiana natives and simple to execute for those new to the cuisine. Uncomplicated, easy to find ingredients are at the heart of the recipes. Besh, a father of four, writes, “It’s a true reflection of how I cook at home today, much more like my mother and grandmother did, often using as few ingredients, pots and pans as possible.” Crawfish beignets, Mardi Gras morning pork shoulder grillades, turkey gumbo, grilled okra and all of the crab, crawfish, trout and shrimp your heart desires are included, as well as a dessert chapter straight out of your grandmother’s playbook, featuring crowd pleasers such as bread pudding and hot buttered rum sauce. With a soft cover – which Besh writes is by design so readers will keep it off of the coffee table and in the kitchen to be used, splattered and dog-eared – fabulous food photos and images of New Orleans, plus a clean, unfussy design, it’s a basic Louisiana and New Orleans cookbook to keep handy for reference or to try a never before attempted old favorite.
BRASS BAND: New Orleans based group the Hot 8 Brass Band’s new album, Vicennial-20 Years of The Hot 8 Brass Band, is proof that jazz music is alive and well. They take the ingredients of jazz and blend them with covers of classic songs such as Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” and The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination.” For fans of hip-hop, fellow New Orleans artists Big Tymers’ hit “Get Your Roll On,” is covered brilliantly. The 11 tracks on the album make you want to get up and dance like no one is watching. The upbeat tempo and crisp, refreshing riffs that pack the album makes it an easy listen.
JAZZ: New Orleans born trumpeter Christian Scott’s new album, Stretch Music, is smooth, funky and chill. It is a conglomerate of trumpets, flutes, drums, pianos and guitars fused together to create a beautiful and relaxing sound. Tracks such as “Tantric” and “Perspectives” can relieve your worst stress. One of the tracks that stands out the most is “The Corner” because of its hip-hop influenced sound. From start to finish this album is complex yet simple. While there’s a lot going on, it’s still very easy to follow along and ride out until the last track..