Arts & Entertainment
May 14th, 2012
Up Front and Center: New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century on Threadhead
The book is the first in-depth account of this very important era in the history of NewOrleans music. It is filled with vivid descriptions of many of the most significant musicalperformances in the last two decades of the 20th century. Jay Mazza is an outstanding writerwho was a constant presence in the clubs, concert halls, and festivals of the period.
The book begins with a foreword by iconic New Orleans trumpeter and personality, KermitRuffins. The first chapters set the stage for a thrilling ride through history by describing inrich detail the New Orleans milieu of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Musicians, bands, andclubs come to life as Mazza skillfully weaves the story. The New Orleans Jazz and HeritageFestival serves as the thread tying the tale together. Three chapters discussing the Jazz Fest’sadolescence, developing years, and emergence as the world’s premier music festival bookendthe text.
Mazza also provides the reader with a thorough socio-economic and cultural analysis ofthe myriad changes in the music community and the city at large. The rise of Frenchmen Street,the revival of the brass band community, the expansion of the music educational system, thesaga of the 1984 World’s Fair, and the development of the music media are among many of thetopics considered in detail.
Fittingly, the book centers on the legendary and the under-acknowledged-until-now musicianswho defined the era. The careers of such important artists as the Meters, Galactic, thesubdudes, Kermit Ruffins, the Rebirth Brass Band, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews arediscussed at length. Lesser-known musicians and bands that had a major impact on the musicof New Orleans, including All That, Theryl DeClouet, Tribe Nunzio, the percussionist MichaelWard, Royal Fingerbowl, and Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, are given their due.
Mazza’s scintillating stories put the reader “up front and center” grooving to the music at manyof the clubs that defined the time period. Sorely missed hot spots that had a direct role inthe development of New Orleans music at the end of the 20th century, such as Benny’s Bar,Dorothy’s Medallion, the Rose Tattoo, and the Glass House, are featured prominently.
Jay Mazza was the music writer for the Louisiana Weekly for thirteen years beginning in 1993.His byline appears on numerous articles covering the music scene in New Orleans in a varietyof newspapers and magazines. He is the chairman of the Big Easy Entertainment Awardscommittee and blogs at www.TheVinylDistrict.com. This is his second book.
For more information, visit Jaymazza.com and threadheadrecords.com