Tuning into Tremé with Larry Blumenfeld, The Wall Street Journal — In The Tradition?
Where: National Jazz Museum in Harlem
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104 E. 126th St., New York, NY
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In Sidney Bechet’s memoir, “Treat It Gentle,” the late, great clarinetist’s real grandfather is supplanted by Omar, a fictional figure based on a folk tale, all the better to convey stirring truths about the true origins of New Orleans jazz. Real and imagined intermingle pointedly in New Orleans, in all walks of life. Set in New Orleans, David Simon’s fictional HBO series “Tremé,” now in its third season, picked up three months after the floods that resulted from the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina. Culture, which in New Orleans means a tight braid of music, cuisine, dance, visual art, and street life, is the primary focus of the series, as indeed it was and is the defining element of the city’s recovery and renewed identity.
These 90-minute conversations, led by writer Larry Blumenfeld, who has written extensively about New Orleans since the flood, will use the third season of the HBO series to frame a wide-ranging consideration of jazz culture in New Orleans and its role in continued recovery. Excerpts from the show will be screened, and special guests—musicians, participants in the series, and scholars—will join in the discussion.
In The Tradition? New Orleans is a city in which traditional and modern jazz do not easily intermingle. This tension is explored in the storylines of a few Tremé characters, most notably trumpeter Delmond Lambreaux and trombonist Antoine Batiste.