Bringing the funk, and more
Summer of Jazz organizers Bob and Mary Noone know Handa Wanda’s is like no other place in the world.The tiny New Orleans jazz joint on Second and Dryades, by the old H&R bar, is not the kind of establishment the Noones typically patronize.But there was a reason the Noones were hanging out latenight in a New Orleans bar.Handa Wanda’s is home to the Wild Magnolias, a New Orleans roots-funk group the Noones know well. The musicians played last summer’s Fourth of July jazz show and brought the house down. The Noones liked the Wild Magnolias members so much, they invited them into their home.At Handa Wanda’s, the Wild Magnolias tear it up, night after night, feathered costumes and all. Under the leadership of Mardi Gras Indian Tribe chief Bo Dollis, the Magnolias mix up love, peace, funk, groove, dance, soul and happiness like a giant batch of spicy gumbo.While recruiting for the Summer of Jazz concert series at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival this spring, the Noones wanted to see the Wild Magnolias in their element.They were determined to bring that energy back to Glenwood Springs for an encore July 4 show at Two Rivers Park, complete with a free fireworks finale. “They are pumped,” Mary Noone said. “They absolutely love Glenwood Springs. It’s going to be a throw down.”
But not all the music at Summer of Jazz is like that of the Wild Magnolias’ Indian influence. A contemporary jazz saxophonist, a funk-blues guitarist and a gospel singer will all be featured in the series’ eclectic lineup. Opening the series at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Mem Shannon and the Membership will show how funk-blues guitar is played. Bob Noone recalled hearing Shannon perform live at this year’s Jazz Fest. He was instantly hooked.”I don’t know if it was what I had for breakfast,” he said. “We saw him early in the morning and he just had this groove going.”On June 13, Bob French’s Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, formed in 1910 as the Original Tuxedos, will play classic New Orleans jazz at Summer of Jazz. Louis Armstrong is one of the group’s alumni during its nearly 100-year history.”It will be much more traditional,” Bob Noone said.The following week, trumpeter Christian Scott brings his traditional jazz sound to the Two Rivers Park stage. At 22, Scott is said to be on the road to becoming a leader in his genre. He’s a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in New York and recently made his Concord Jazz debut.Allen Toussaint, legendary singer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and producer, plays Summer of Jazz on June 27. Toussaint has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is considered one of New Orleans R&B’s most influential figures.After the July 4 celebration with the Wild Magnolias, the next week offers music by jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. on July 11.
“He’s a contemporary, straight-ahead jazz sax player from New Orleans,” Bob Noone said.Marva Wright, award-winning gospel artist and “Blues Queen of New Orleans,” promises an energetic and soulful performance July 18.Rounding out the eight-week series for its 200th show is The Rebirth Brass Band, a jazz group known for “good old funky brass” on July 25.”If you like funking it up, that’s going to be a throw down, too,” Mary Noone said.Just how it’s done in New Orleans.======================Summer of Jazz ’07 scheduleAll shows are free and take place at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Two Rivers Park, rain or shine.
• June 6: Mem Shannon and the Membership• June 13: Bob French’s Original Tuxedo Jazz Band• June 20: Christian Scott• June 27: Allen Toussaint• July 4: The Wild Magnolias (with fireworks to follow)• July 11: Donald Harrison, Jr.• July 18: Marva Wright• July 25: The Rebirth Brass Band
====================Summer of Jazz dos and don’ts• Do bring coolers, picnic baskets, low chairs, blankets, and extra cash for T-shirts, memberships and donations• Don’t bring glass bottles, bad attitudes and pets• Do be courteous by dancing in front of the stage and in the park• Don’t join the musicians to dance on stage• Do volunteer to help out at shows by calling Lisa Hartert at 379-8230===================
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