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Hallelujahs & More

 

Betty Winn & One-a-Chord Gospel Singers have just released Shout Hallelujah, the follow-up to their first CD, Bound for Glory, and the album is a shoo-in for local gospel album of the year. The CD was produced by Grammy-winning producer Jerry Brock, and finds the veteran gospel ensemble complementing its traditional roots with some inventive contemporary flourishes. "Shut De Do" features Afro-Caribbean percussion and vocals reminiscent of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," while "Lift Up the Name of Jesus" and "Shout Hallelujah" sound like the Meters tackling spiritual material. The ensemble will celebrate with CD-release performances on Nov. 18 at House of Blues' gospel brunch, at 9:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $30. Following the 2 p.m. brunch, a reception will follow in the Parish at 4 p.m. ...

Hope and salvation through music takes on a different meaning on Saturday, Nov. 17, at "Angola Bound -- Prison Music at Louisiana State Penitentiary," the second annual symposium at Louisiana State Penitentiary. The free event, open to the public, will feature live performances by Charles Neville, the Angola Prison Band, bluesman Herman Jackson, Alvin Batiste and Harvey Knox (both Jazz Artists-in-Residence at Southern University-Baton Rouge), and other acts to be announced. The conference chronicles the culture and tradition of prison music and musicians originating at Angola over the past 100 years. Previously unseen clips of prison musicians will be shown, and speakers include Nick Spitzer, folklorist and host of the syndicated American Routes radio show, and Kip Lornell, who will speak on Lead Belly and collecting folk songs. One of the highlights of the day will be a discussion of the legacy of late bluesman and former inmate Robert Pete Williams, who will be remembered by his former manager, Dick Waterman, and Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz. The event lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information, call the LSP museum at (225) 655-2592. ...

Louisiana recently lost one of its finest bass players, as Julius Farmer died on Friday, Nov. 2. Farmer was an incredibly versatile musician, working with esteemed jazzmen such as Chick Corea and George Benson, but New Orleans R&B and funk was his specialty. His work can be heard on a number of classic albums, including Dr. John's Hollywood Be Thy Name, the Wild Magnolias' eponymous debut album, Professor Longhair's Rock 'n' Roll Gumbo, and Clarence Gatemouth Brown's Down South in Bayou Country. Farmer was also an international ambassador for New Orleans; he lived in Italy for two decades, where he was a session man for the likes of Italian pop star Marcella Bella. In recent years, Farmer was a member of Charles Neville's Jazz Ensemble, and played in the house band for the 1997 "Fesstival," the monthlong performance series at Tipitina's honoring Professor Longhair. ...

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) is continuing its push to bolster Louisiana membership, and is hosting a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, at Piety Recording Studio (3240 Dauphine St.), the new Bywater facility co-owned by former Boiler Room owner Mark Bingham and American Sector's Paul McCord. It's another step in getting Louisiana music and musicians better represented in the annual Grammy awards, which remain the most prestigious honor in the music industry. The event is a networking opportunity to learn about the benefits of NARAS membership, what recordings are eligible for the Grammy awards, how to enter such recordings in the Grammy voting process, as well as information about local and regional NARAS events planned for 2002. Perhaps most importantly, new members can join that night at a 50 percent discount. Complimentary hors d'ouevres and a cash bar will also be available. For more information or to RSVP, call (901) 525-1340, or email memphis@grammy.com. ...

While the New Orleans Saints' offensive performance left a lot to be desired in their Nov. 4 loss to the New York Jets, at least New Orleans music was well represented in the national prime-time telecast. Aaron Neville sang the "The Star Spangled Banner," the New Birth Brass Band was heard after commercial breaks, and ESPN deserves credit for extensive use of the Meters' "Fire on the Bayou" as the theme for the game. ...

With Mayor Marc Morial's bid for a third term denied, it's a sure bet that a new administration will also mean a new Music and Entertainment Commissioner. OffBeat magazine is sponsoring a forum for the 2002 mayoral candidates in early January, to find out the candidates' plans for economic development and promotion of New Orleans music. To submit questions and issues for the candidates, email OffBeat at offbeat@offbeat.com, or fax to 944-4306. -->

Email music news to Scott Jordan at scottj@gambitweekly.com.

click to enlarge Charles Neville will perform and speak at a special symposium on Nov. 17. -
  • Charles Neville will perform and speak at a special symposium on Nov. 17.

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