HBO’s serial drama Treme (trah-may), is back on the air. In it’s second season, the show explores the culture of post-Katrina New Orleans – mostly through the scope of music (with a heavy dose of Jazz). Mornings on Macadam host Deborah caught up with New Orleans native Donald Harrison a few weeks back during his Portland appearance and chatted with him about his role in the television series:
Native New Orleanian and saxophonist Donald Harrison not only appears in the show playing the jazz, but off-screen he’s a consultant on the Mardi Gras Indian heritage. In fact, he says, two star roles were patterned after him and his dad. “Big Chief Lambreaux and his son. My father was a chief, as some people know, and I’ve grown to be a chief also in the culture of New Orleans, the Congo Nation. When you see those two characters, well, it’s funny, I’ve actually been in scenes with the guy who’s playing me! I was talking to Dr. John and he said, ‘It must be incredible to be in a scene and you’re talking to a guy who’s playing you.’ It’s fascinating for sure,” Harrison laughs.
Fascinating is probably a fitting adjective for Treme, as the authentic storylines weave through a city trying to deal with the slow recovery efforts while trying to hang on to its culture. After all, says Harrison—who believes there’s always a positive side to everything—people are finally getting to know the real side of the birthplace of jazz, one that Treme tells. “I love New Orleans and maybe because of what happened to us, we’re finally getting acceptance the way that our city is.”
Treme airs Sundays on HBO
To say that Jazz fans around the world were thrilled about Esperanza Spalding’s Grammy Award for “Best New Artist” would be a supreme understatement. Here in Portland, we couldn’t be happier about this news. Esperanza deserves this award on so many levels, and it’s a thrilling indication about the state of the modern music industry that a musician of her caliber would be nominated for, let alone win, such an award.
In the coming weeks, Portland audiences will have a few opportunities to catch our hometown’s pride and joy perform. They are:
-The Black History Month celebration at City Hall on the 23rd at 4:30 PM. This event is open to the public and will include a proclamation, a performance, and a short documentary about the history of Jazz in Portland. This event is free and open to the public.
-Esperanza Spalding’s headline performance at the Portland Jazz Festival, presented by KMHD at the Newmark Theater on 2/25 at 7:30 PM. This concert is sold out.
From all of us at KMHD, a heartfelt congratulations to one of the finest musicians, and people on the planet!!!
Just when you thought you’d heard all the recorded jazz performances from the apex of the swing era, there’s good news: you haven’t. For a jazz treasure has now been unearthed, or rather, uncrated. The Savory Collection, recorded from radio broadcasts in the late 1930s by a brilliant, progressive audio engineer named William Savory who fiercely, save for a sprinkling of friends, protected the recordings from the ears of the outside world for seven decades. Thought long gone, those extended live and creative performances were delivered by some of the most admired and beloved names in jazz, e.g., Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Harry James, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday and Count Basie.
The National Jazz Museum in Harlem has acquired the entire set of Savory’s nearly 1,000 discs and has begun digitizing the fragile recordings. Some of these remarkable stretched-out performances simply couldn’t fit on the 1930’s era’s discs of the time, but Savory found a way. Dan Morgenstern of the Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz says, with the recordings coming to light after 70 years, it’s a joy for jazz lovers, turning out to be the musical gems everyone had hoped for.
To learn more about this golden find and the eccentric man who captured the music and held on to it for 70 years, go to: jazzmuseuminharlem.org.
(Deborah is the Host of “Mornings on Macadam” on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6-10 AM)
To celebrate the new KMHD, a partnership between Mount Hood Community College and OPB, Ken Burns Jazz will air on the network every Sunday for the next 9 weeks. The documentary airs at 7 PM (PST) on channel 10-3 in Portland and on channel 310 on Comcast cable.
Portland-based saxophonist John Nastos and pianist Clay Giberson unveiled their Duo Chronicles project this week. The project, which will feature a performance of a new composition each week for a year, started with the posting of a video for Nastos’ composition Chrysalis. More information is available here: