American Routes samples the best live music collaborations from the 2011 Jazz Fest season in New Orleans. Each year, music from the festival at the fairgrounds spills over into the streets and clubs of our city. We’ll camp out at Preservation Hall for an evening of jazz and country with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Nashville song man Buddy Miller, with special guest Robert Plant. Then we’ll catch the Hot 8 Brass Band and Mos Def at the Howlin’ Wolf across town. Plus more musical surprises.
This week on American Routes we spin some shellac and wax nostalgic with the iconic cartoonist, musician and record collector Robert Crumb, who’ll share with us his love of musical times gone by. Then we talk to educator and vinyl aficionado Jerry Zolten about the story of Paramount Records, started by a furniture manufacturer, whose recorded legacy is now contained in two swank suitcases.
We’re rocking and rolling with two icons of ’60s pop. First, it’s the voice behind some of the most well-known songs from the girl group era: La La Brooks, of the Crystals. La La sang the lead on the classic hit “Da Doo Ron Ron” when she was just a teenager! She shares stories of her time singing for Phil Spector, and starring on Broadway. We’ll also visit with Gretna, Louisiana’s Frankie Ford, whose early ’60s hit “Sea Cruise” set the New Orleans R&B scene sailing on the charts.
This week we meet with two practitioners of the art of improvisation. Bela Fleck joins us for a conversation about banjo traditions and experimentation in bluegrass, jazz and classical music. Then we’ll head to the studio for a jazz breakdown by New Orleans master percussionist Jason Marsalis.