A two-hour radio documentary about recordings in New Orleans, featuring interviews with over 30 people, covering over half a century of music.
"That New Orleans Touch" is a two-hour radio documentary about 60 years of recordings and the role of talented musicians, producers and arrangers who created the music. From the rock and roll and R&B of the 1950s to the modern era, encompassing funk, modern jazz and brass band music, the Crescent City has been a mecca for music lovers and recording artists alike.
What brings people to New Orleans to record?
The first hour of "That New Orleans Touch" will delve into the stories of the people who helped shape New Orleans music at the dawn of rock and roll. This story begins with the Grunewald School of Music, a segregated facility where black solders returning from WWII learned to read and perform music before heading into careers in the 1950s with musicians like Paul Gayton, Lionel Hampton and Guitar Slim.
From there, the story takes the listener to some unexpected places, uncovering the influence of New Orleans music on people like Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Labelle, and Elvis Costello, not to mention, all the local figures like Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe and many others who remain on the local airwaves and in our hearts today.
How does jazz and the street rhythms of New Orleans influence the overall sound?
The 2nd hour of "That New Orleans Touch" covers the modern era of the music scene in New Orleans with a continued focus on what draws people to record in New Orleans and with New Orleans musicians. There's something definitive about New Orleans music, rhythmically and otherwise, that reaches far back into the city's unique history, bringing together African, Caribbean and European elements.
The program will also look at the role of recording labels like Rounder, Black Top and Sounds of New Orleans in documenting and preserving the musical heritage of the Crescent City at a time when many older musicians were starting to pass away. The program concludes with interviews with musicians on the current scene who continue to collaborate with both local and national recording artists.
Throughout the program, we'll be asking many questions, including:
- What went on during these recording sessions?
- Who are the unsung heroes of New Orleans music?
- What forces helped shape the vibe and vigor of the music here?
What is that New Orleans touch?
Some stories I've already produced:
- Baton Rouge Road Trip
- Portrait of a Drummer
- Allen Toussaint Tribute (Part One) (Part Two)
- All on a Mardi Gras Day
Risks and challenges
Musicians lead very busy lives, so one of the biggest challenges will be scheduling interviews with them. Some of the people I'm hoping to record don't live here, so I'll have to figure out a way to tape them, either by hiring someone or visiting them. I much prefer to be in the same room with the person I'm interviewing, for many reasons.
Another challenge will be fitting this story into two hours. Luckily, I will maintain a blog about the documentary with both updates and outtakes.
Over the past 8 years, I produced over 200 hours of syndicated radio work. However, this is going to be the most challenging project I've ever done, without a doubt, so your support is very important and greatly appreciated.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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