New Orleans Rhythm And Blues After Katrina: Music, Magic And Myth
Music, magic and myth are elements essential to the identities of New Orleans musicians. The city’s singular contributions to popular music around the world have been unrivaled performing this music authentically requires collective improvisation, taking performers on sonorous sojourns in unanticipated, ‘magical’ moments and membership in the city’s musical community entails participation in the myth of New Orleans, breathing new life into its storied traditions. On the basis of 56 open-ended interviews with those in the city’s musical community, Michael Urban discovers that, indeed, community is what it is all about. In their own words, informants explain that commercial concerns are eclipsed by the pleasure of playing in ‘one big band’ that disassembles daily into smaller performing units whose rosters are fluid, such that, over time, ‘everybody plays with everybody’. Although Hurricane Katrina nearly terminated the city, New Orleans and its music?in no small part due to the sacrifices and labors of its musicians?have come back even stronger. Dancing to their own drum, New Orleanians again prove themselves to be admirably out of step with the rest of America.