Alexa

New Orleans is still great place for musicians

New Orleans is still great place for musicians

Sunday's Jazz Fest performance by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra marked the last stop in the orchestra's 60-city "New Orleans: Then and Now" tour, which started in Orono, Maine, in September.
After almost a year of touring, it is good to be performing in New Orleans again, Mayfield said in a telephone interview before the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which opened Friday.
He says that despite post-Hurricane Katrina woes for this city's musicians _ including a lack of places to perform, the higher cost of living, long commutes for work and second jobs to make ends meet _ New Orleans is still one of the best places for jazz musicians to live and work.
"Homes are a problem. Venues are a problem. The economy in New Orleans has changed, but it is still one of the best places to learn to play music and to make a living," he said.
Students and other young musicians still have mentors in New Orleans, including Mayfield, he said. And any musician in the city has access to free health services through the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, he said.
And what better place to be a jazz musician than in the city where the genre was born, he said.
"The message isn't that everything's fine," he said. The orchestra has had its share of hardships since Katrina. Of the orchestra's 18 members, for example, only about 12 live in the city since the storm.
"The important thing now is getting the rest of the culture to catch up to the success of Jazz Fest," he said. "That includes making sure the young musicians still get the mentorship, making sure music is still ingrained in the public school system, making sure the musicians can still work, that they can still have careers here, and getting them the resources to rebuild and getting the infrastructure in place to help make sure all these things continue to happen for years to come."
At the children's tent, cultural events during the first weekend included theater, musical and dance performances by artists from Ghana, France, Scotland and other countries.
An 8-year-old Chrishel Crawford could not be happier.
"You get to do a lot of fun stuff here," she said Sunday as she glued square and triangle pieces of cloth to a paper bag at a quilting session.
Last year's children's area, which includes a cultural village, was scaled back and blues tent was nixed completely from the festival.
This year, children had a lot to look forward to. On Sunday, as a Latin American singer from Brazil performed on the state under the children's tent, youngsters also played outside the tent at a makeshift cafe complete with a make-believe kitchen, chalkboard menu and tables and chairs scaled down to their size.
"We try to focus on as diverse a spectrum as possible," said Karen Konnerth, the children's program coordinator. "We will really focus on heritage here."
___
On the Net:
http://nojazzfest.com


Updated : 2021-04-14 19:06 GMT+08:00