Having just graduated from the Thelonious Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California in 2003, it’s impressive for Dayna Stephens to have his debut album, The Timeless Now, named one of the “Top 10 Jazz Jewels of 2007” by NPR affiliate WDUQ (Pittsburgh).
The instrumental arrangements on The Timeless Now range from hip and cool to warm and heartfelt. Stephens’ tenor saxophone work complements the other talented instrumentalists on the album; one such musician is local favorite (and all-around super-guitarist) John Scofield, who plays on three of the album’s tracks.
Cookbook l New Orleans Classic Seafood: Recipes from Favorite Restaurants, edited by Kit Wohl, assembles seafood recipes from some of the finest chefs and restaurants in New Orleans.
Recipes are accompanied by witty and concise passages about the featured chef/restaurant, including bite-sized facts for New Orleans foodies.
Photography l New Orleans 1867: Photographs by Theodore Lilienthal compiles all 126 surviving photographs from Lilienthal’s La Nouvelle Orléans et ses environs series; it was the “first municipally sponsored photographic survey of any American city,” the book’s author Gary A. Van Zante writes.
Using innovation in outdoor development, Lilienthal was able to capture the landscape of the reconstruction-era South to an extent so impressive he was asked to present his photos to then-emperor Napoleon III at the Paris Exposition of 1867.
In New Orleans 1867, Van Zante offers scholarly analysis of Lilienthal’s project, explaining crucial details about fashion, society, history and architecture at the time.
Non-fiction l Shane K. Bernard describes his book, Tabasco: An Illustrated History, as “an initial attempt to form a coherent narrative out of [an] unwieldy cache of archival data.” Though many books have been written on Tabasco®, this is the first to include a new bulk of information from sources found inside the McIlhenny Company Archives. Bernard collected information from documents, artifacts, scrapbooks, home movies, photos and even business and personal letters from Tabasco® inventor Edmund McIlhenny.
The book’s dynamic layout includes recipes from Mary Avery McIlhenny (Edmund’s wife) dating back to the 1800s (bonus: each recipe is listed with a corresponding, modern version).
Non-fiction l Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing, edited by Dale Volberg Reed and John Shelton Reed, is a collection of articles from magazines, newspapers, journals and much more. As the title indicates, each article relates to southern cuisine.
The book dedicates two entire sections to the Louisiana Gulf Coast, before and after the storm. Particularly touching is one article, “Letter from New Orleans,” by Lolis Eric Elie, wherein the author weaves together the culture and cuisine in New Orleans after the storm.