Sunday, April 20, 2008

Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead 4/19/8

This was a great free show at Dizzy's on Sat afternoon. It seemed like 75% of the people knew someone in the band.

I had never heard of any of them, which was especially why I wanted to go. They are a post-Katrina thing. Some guy in Portland set up 80 hotel rooms for displaced people at the time. I'm not sure if they were all musicians or not. He got them instruments and gigs. Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead was one of the bands put together as a result. They were all living in NOLA at the time. Since then, Devon has relocated to Portland, I'm not sure about the others.

The Rhythm Road is a project supported by Dizzy's and I think others where they send bands to different parts of the world to teach, perform, and bring jazz around the world. This band went to Africa. At the end of the set, they had a short Q&A. They went everywhere I want to go, all the major music countries. They went to a lot of West Africa and The Congo. I wish I was with them! It sounds like an awesome experience. They talked about how great it was to be in the place where the roots of jazz came from.

The last tune was Aiko Aiko. Devon learned to play it when he was 4 years old, and they play it every gig. They said the Africans went wild over it. They loved it and danced the way they dance to their own music. Of course they have good taste!

The set was awesome. They did their own arrangements of tunes by Louis Armstrong, Bechet, and a few others. They were all different and all great. Each of the musicians is very talented.

It was well worth getting up and out early.

The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program presents
Devin Phillips & New Orleans Straight Ahead
Featuring Devin Phillips, saxophone; Mark DiFlorio, drums; Eric Gruber, bass; Andrew Oliver, piano.
FREE Admission-first come, first served

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