Seva Venet Presents the Storyville Stringband of N
Jazz Me Blues- written by Tom Delaney in 1921, (the year that the great Storyville pianist and composer Tony Jackson died) was recorded the same year by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. We had fun selecting the keys for the tunes. Margie is in E. In New Orleans most horn players would balk at the suggestion at playing in the key of E, but it happens to be a nice key for the strings. This song was composed in 1920 by the vaudeville performer Con Conrad and J. Russel Robinson, the pianist for the ODJB. The lyrics were by Benny Davis, apparently named in honor of Eddie Cantor's five-year-old daughter, and was recorded with great success by both Cantor and the ODJB. City Park Strut is my original contribution to the session. I live near City Park and love to strut around in it. Ay, Mama Inez- written by L.Wolfe Gilbert and Eliseo Grenet. This piece dates back to the 1920's Cuban sexteto bands and is a popular choice for a New Orleans traditional jazz band. This song was Matt Rhodie's violin feature and as can be expected of Rhodie, he produced an impeccable performance. Stumbling- written in 1922 by pianist and composer Edward Elzear 'Zez' Confrey. Confrey also wrote 'Kitten on the Keys.' It's not hard to guess why this melody was christened as 'stumbling.' Old Rugged Cross- This gospel song was written in 1912 by George Bennard and is a standard with New Orleans Gospel and Traditional Jazz groups. It has also been performed by Al Green, Elvis, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins. This selection was respectfully performed for the late great miss Juanita Brooks. Oh! Donna Clara, originally titled 'Tango Milonga,' by Polish composer Jerzy Petersburski and lyricist Andrzej Wlast. The song is still regarded by some as the biggest Polish hit of all time! I borrowed from the arrangement of the 6 7/8 String Band's version. Did you know that the first documented use of the word 'tango' comes from minutes taken at the Cabildo in New Orleans in 1786? Thanks to Ned Sublette for his excellent research on New Orleans and American 'roots' music in general. Linger Awhile- Harry Owens and Vincent Rose 1923. You can hear and see the Storyville Stringband perform this one on YouTube, 'live' at the Botanical Garden in City Park, New Orleans. Struttin' With Some Barbeque is a Louis (or is it Lil's?) Armstrong composition from the 1920's. I flatpicked the melody and Steve Blailock played two beautiful choruses of improvisation. Fidgety Feet- Edwin B. Edwards, Nick La Rocca, Tony Spargo & Larry Shields of the ODJB written and recorded in February of 1918. This song also know as 'War Cloud'. I recently had the honor of playing the song at a brunch gig with Jimmy La Rocca the son of Nick. When I Grow Too Old To Dream is a Sigmond Romberg classic from the 1935 film 'The Night is Young.' Linda Ronstadt sang this song to Kermit the Frog in episode 523 of 'The Muppet Show.' This was also a one of 'Sweet' Emma Barett's tunes and is still performed quite a bit around New Orleans these days. Romberg was also composer of 'Softly, as a Morning Sunrise,' and 'Lover Come Back to Me.' Musicians: Seva Venet- You can catch Seva around New Orleans playing Traditional New Orleans Jazz on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 6-string banjo (a la Danny Barker) or playing slide on his 1928 National steel guitar. It is the steel guitar that is heard on this record. After visiting Greece last year, Seva has also taken up the violin and mandolin which will be heard in the context of the Storyville Stringband in the future. John Parker plays rhythm guitar and sings 'Margie' on this session. John is the grandson of the great Edmond 'Doc' Souchon, a doctor of medicine, founder of the 6 7/8 string band of New Orleans, jazz musician and preserver of old songs. John is playing his grandfather's 1928 Martin D-28 guitar. Matt Rhody- Matt plays mandolin and violin on this date. You can hear him regularly around Frenchman Street in New Orleans, but almost exclusively on violin. As this session proves, Matt is also a master of the mandolin. Extraordinary. Lars Edegran hails from Stockholm, Sweden, and arrived in New Orleans in 1965 at age 21. The leader of the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and arranger, musical director and pianist for the musical 'One Mo' Time,' he has recorded and performed with many jazz greats including Doc Cheatham, George Lewis, Louis Nelson, Jim Robinson, the Humphrey Brothers, Louis Barbarin, Danny Barker and Father Al Lewis. Kerry Lewis- a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. 'Lieutenant' was derived from the French language; the 'Lieu' meaning "place," as in a position; and 'tenant' meaning "holding" as in "holding a position". That's exactly what Kerry does in a Jazz band: holds down that beat! Kerry moved back to New Orleans after several years of absence since Hurricane Katrina. He is a sought after and appreciated bassist in the New Orleans Traditional Jazz community. Steve Blailock- a veteran of the American roots genre. Steve is the roots! Hailing from McComb, Mississippi, his track record includes Gram Parsons, Albert Collins, Big Mama Thornton, Herb Tassin, Al Hirt, Dave Bartholomew, and several years on the road with Lou Rawls. Steve adds a lot of great blues and jazz picking to this session. He'd been away in Houston for several years and it was a very happy reunion for us all. Manuel Manetta and string band Jazz on Basin Street in early 20th century New Orleans by Seva Venet From 1897 to 1917 the neighborhood on the lake side of Basin Street in New Orleans was designated as an area of legal prostitution and was referred to as 'the District.' Later, through folk etymology, the area was named 'The Storyville District' or just 'Storyville.' This title was, in a way, an effort by the residents to assert control on the situation. For even though the government turned their community into an experiment in legalized prostitution without referendum the people set the context by asserting: 'No, that is only part of our greater story.' Calling it 'Storyville' was also a way of accounting for the person whose idea in was the first place, Alderman Sidney Story. New Orleans has always been a hotbed for traditional and modern music and the Storyville District was very near the center of this hotbed. When Doc Souchon, Thomas Hardy, Bernie Shields and the rest of their gang were peeking around the District their most lasting impressions came from two distinct entities: King Oliver and the string bands that played at Tom Anderson's Annex on Iberville (formerly called Customhouse) and Basin Street. Anderson's Annex was one block from the Southern Depot at Basin and Canal Street, the first stop of the Southern Railroad, and all who passed were enticed by the the string band inside playing the latest songs of the day. They were ear players or 'raggers,' a term that contrasts with the 'legitimate," or strictly reading approach, common with the Creole musicians. The 'raggers' improvised using an ear-playing approach that descended from oral traditions and was music referred to by many names including 'ratty music' in an oral history interview of bassist Ed Garland by Richard Allen in 1971 (Hogan Jazz Archives Oral Histories, Tulane University). The label 'jazz' was placed on the music later and in a different locale. ...You can read more in the album liner notes of the CD or email me.