Author: Jason Berry

Jason Berry

Reader, Farewell. I began this column in 1994 with fresh memory of the Elvis act in Chalmette: Andrew Jaeger, the risen king, popping out of a coffin to roars of the crowd. The New Orleans environs are a floorshow of…

Jazz Fest at Fifty

Mick Jagger’s illness that forestalled the Rolling Stones’ tour, and thus their big gig at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, came as a letdown for fans, notably baby-boomers, holding $175 tickets. But, in the scheme of time, the…

Young Tuxedo and the Sheik

  Back in the fog of time, when the music industry shifted to compact discs, I held onto the “stereo” with vinyl records for a spell, then wilted before the revolution. I soon fell in love with the cd component,…

Leading A Revival   

An eccentric man of many talents, William Russell was a catalytic presence in the rise of early jazz. Born in 1905 in Canton, Ohio, the classically trained violinist got hip to the groove in 1928 while teaching in New York.…

Sax Appeal

  The Lower Ninth Ward in the 1950s was a semirural village of black people, Sicilians and Croatians, living close together. People raised cows and chickens in yards and small pastures. The clarinetist and saxophonist Don Suhor (1932-2003), a stellar jazz modernist memorialized in…

Louis’ Muse: A Shout-Out for Lil Hardin Armstrong

  August marked 117 years since Louis Armstrong’s birth. With the city’s greatest native son on a rise of planetary value, we should remember the woman who played an early pivotal role. When Armstrong left for Chicago in 1922 to…

Henry Butler, Eternal

“No one had a left hand like him,” trumpeter Steven Bernstein told the Times when Henry Butler died recently, of cancer, at 69. “It was so strong and fast, and he had such control...the tone, the dynamics, the speed. He…

Swamp Pop Romp

The adage that people remain loyal to the music of their youth well suits Yvette Landry. Her fourth CD, Louisiana Lovin’ celebrates the dancehall music from her formative years in Breaux Bridge. Landry had a teaching career when she began playing music. Her…

Mythic Space

Congo Square occupies mythic space in New Orleans. In the mid-1700s, enslaved Africans gathered on Sundays at a field between outlying plantations and the rampart, or back wall, of the French town facing the Mississippi. Africans danced in large concentric…

Spirit of Fi Yi Yi

The Mardi Gras Indians carry a cultural memory rooted in dances of enslaved Africans at the antebellum park, Congo Square. Choctaw and other indigenous peoples watched the swirling ring dances with people in costumes, and as black people moved beyond…