Coming off stage from an electric performance, trumpet player Kermit Ruffins, drummer Lumar Leblanc, and actor/activist Wendell Pierce talk about the enduring spirit of New Orleans and their effort to rebuild the city one brass band at a time.
When The Musical Majesty of New Orleans with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and a slew of special guests took over the Arena Stage at the Monterey Jazz Festival this afternoon– it was a parade waiting to happen!
The small army of musicians looked down over a football field size crowd looking up at them and as I joined the throng it looked like the musicians, instruments and their huge exciting sound were about to march down the stairs in a high brass drum line right into the welcoming arms of their audience.
Two trombones, two trumpets and Terence Blanchard’s trumpet, two drum sets and another drummer wearing a small snare hanging from his shoulders, a percussionist…just in case the ensemble lost the beat…a tuba and two guitars melded some hallelujah gospel with a mountain twang and an African rhythm and came up with that irrepressible and unmistakable New Orleans sound.
After igniting the crowd, guest MC Wendell Pierce from HBO’s Treme invited the arena crowd to play it all again…in his city, in his neighborhood, in New Orleans. Rollicking and irresistible, the party was over too soon.
Written by KUSP’s Maureen Davidson