New Orleans’ rhythms will come to Promontory
Less than a year ago, one of America’s worst natural disasters rocked New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the Untied States. The tempest devastated the Gulf Coast, separated families and left many without shelter, food and clothing.
Katrina’s floods and winds, however, could not slay jazz music — the heart of New Orleans. In the aftermath of the devastation, jazz sustained its beat.
But it hasn’t been easy.
"We lost all of our instruments and our homes," said James Andrews, lead singer and trumpeter of the New Birth Brass Band in New Orleans. "We’re just trying to keep the New Orleans sound alive."
The New Birth Brass Band isn’t the only group shattered by the hurricane. Many of the musicians have suffered the same fate. Only through benefit programs have musicians in the area been able to perform again.
To add their support, Promontory and the Park City Jazz Foundation have put together a "Golf and Jazz Affair," which will benefit the musicians affected by Katrina and the Park City Jazz Foundation’s educational, year-round clinics for at risk, minority youth and educators in Utah. The event will take place Saturday at 6 p.m.
The event will headline Andrews and the New Orleans Revue. Salt Lake resident Sam Cosby and the Electronik Church will open for Andrews.
Andrews is locally known as "Satchmo of the Ghetto." He is a member of a prominent New Orleans music family, which also includes Prince LaLa and Jesse Hill. He has also performed with jazz legends, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. His music is a mix of traditional New Orleans trumpet workouts, acid-jazz styled, instrumental funk and gruff with soulful Louis Armstrong influenced vocals.
His style, according to Kris Severson, the executive director of the Park City Jazz Foundation, "is really a mix of traditional swing brass with rock and roll and Caribbean tempos."
"Mostly the New Orleans thing we call the second line," Andrews said. "New Orleans jazz has more of a Louis Armstrong style."
Severson met Andrews on a recent trip to New Orleans. There he observed, first-hand, the desperate need of the people in the Gulf. He came back with the idea to hold the fundraiser and show Park City the flavor of New Orleans.
"We wanted authentic musicians to come here and get them gigs," Severson said. "I had the opportunity to meet them and it was so interesting to me, that amidst the broad human range of emotion, there was a commitment and a hope all focused around music. Being able to help these guys, they get to continue to do what they know how to do."
Andrews is grateful for the opportunity to help raise money for his people.
"The main important thing in New Orleans is housing for musicians, to get musicians back home to New Orleans," Andrews said, "We’re excited about coming out. We’re expecting everybody. We’ll play a lot of New Orleans music. We got a new song called ‘New Orleans, New Orleans.’ One thing people in Park City can expect is to have a good time."
Severson feels lucky to bring a musician the caliber of Andrews to Park City.
"It took generous donors to fly them out here," he said.
Cosby and the Electronik Church delivers a New Orleans influenced Jazz and Blues style. They will soon go on tour across the country.
"Sam heard about the show and thought it would be appropriate to kick off his tour at Park City," Severson said. "They are a local band out of Salt Lake; he thumps the bass with his thumb and creates more of a funk style. They are going to be incorporating brass in this group to bring out a little more of New Orleans brass sound."
Cosby is also looking forward to participating in a benefit concert of this nature.
"It’s a real honor to be able to help preserve the musical history of this country and to help musicians in need," he said. "The influence of New Orleans jazz and blues is strong in our music and so we are honored to use our music to give back to our community."
There will also be auctions throughout the show. All the donations will directly benefit musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina and Park City Jazz Foundation’s educational programs,
Some of the auction items include:
Grand Prix Racing School
Monterey Jazz Festival Package
Teton Springs Golf and Creekside Meadows Package
John Bell Artwork – One Modern Art
Five course dinner for 12 provided by Alex VonSalad
Seasons pass to Park City Mountain Resort
Season and a half to Park City’s own Egyptian Theatre
Two Interconnect Ski Passes
The Park City Jazz Foundation will host the "Golf and Jazz Affair" at the Equestrian Center in Promontory from 5:30 to 11 p.m. The fundraiser will benefit musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina and the Park City Jazz Foundation educational programs for at risk, minority youth and jazz educators. Tickets include music straight out of New Orleans, silent and live auctions. There are also golf packages available in combination with the concert and dinner Saturday night. For tickets and information, call 940-1362. Tickets are $150 per person or $1,500 per table. The Park City Jazz Foundation is a non-profit organization.
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.