Experience Authentic Jazz In the French Quarter In New Orleans
The style of music that we call “Jazz” is the result of cultural influence stemming back to the late 19 century and the early 20th century. The influence of French, African-American, and Spanish roots co-mingled and produced a style of music unheard of until then. Yes, Jazz music was invented in New Orleans, and remains to this one of the most distinctive traits that we hold dear to the city.
A big factor, aside from the mixture of the French and Spanish influence, was the Black influence. Black people use music in their lives on a daily basis during slavery, and it carried over into the music. The fact that even though when slavery was over, segregation persisted in most of America, the races mixed much more freely in New Orleans than any other city.
Early jazz musicians of talent came to the fore as Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, and of course as well as Louis Armstrong, epitomized the jazz era in New Orleans.
When you visit New Orleans, you will have a great opportunity to visit some of the hot spots of jazz, which is still played in much the same way as it had been 120 years ago. You will want to attend Preservation Hall, where the music is as pure and unmolested as it was when folks came by in 1910. Be sure and get there early, though, because the room is very small and fills up fast.
The French Quarter, or the “Old Square” runs along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue for 13 blocks, and has a treasure of jazz clubs and fun. It is best to walk from club to club rather than ride, as you may not make it out of the first club or two, the music is that good.
Actually, the neighborhood is very friendly for pedestrians, and that is really the way to go. The “Upper Quarter”, which is between Canal Street and Jackson Square, is where the bulk of the clubs are, and the lower quarter is more in the line of shops and restaurants.
Preservation Hall will get you a real authentic New Orleans jazz feel, but there are plenty more for you to sample and enjoy. The Jazz Parlor at Storyville at 125 Bourbon Street is a blast, featuring local blues, R&B, Latin and swing sounds.
Donna’s Bar and Grill at 800 N. Rampart looks like just another bar and grill, but the music will astonish your. The Royal Sonesta Hotel gives you great contemporary jazz, the House of Blues at 225 Decatur St, is famous for its nationally touring acts.
The Balcony Music Club features up and coming talent and the music is terrific, favored by locals. The Funky Pirate is the headquarters of Big Al Carson and the Blues Masters, rauncy blues from late afternoon till early in the morning.
Finally, you have to visit Pat O’Brian’s, order at least one Hurricane and listen to the piano players, it is “required by law” then you can do what you want.