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Talking New Orleans Music - Crescent City Musicians Talk about Their Lives, Their Music, and Their City

Talking New Orleans Music

Crescent City Musicians Talk about Their Lives, Their Music, and Their City

By Burt Feintuch
Photographs by Gary Samson
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781496803627, 240 pages, 65 color photographs, October 2015

Interviews with and beautiful photography of eleven great musicians and their inspiring city


In New Orleans, music screams. It honks. It blats. It wails. It purrs. It messes with time. It messes with pitch. It messes with your feet. It messes with your head. One musician leads to another; traditions overlap, intertwine, nourish each other; and everyone seems to know everyone else. From traditional jazz through rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll to sissy bounce, in second-line parades, from the streets to clubs and festivals, the music seems unending.

In Talking New Orleans Music, author Burt Feintuch has pursued a decades-long fascination with the music of this singular city. Thinking about the devastation—not only material but also cultural—caused by the levees breaking in 2005, he began a series of conversations with master New Orleans musicians, talking about their lives, the cultural contexts of their music, their experiences during and after Katrina, and their city. Photographer Gary Samson joined him, adding a compelling visual dimension to the book.

Here you will find intimate and revealing interviews with eleven of the city's most celebrated musicians and culture-bearers—Soul Queen Irma Thomas, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Charmaine Neville, John Boutté, Dr. Michael White, Deacon John Moore, Cajun bandleader Bruce Daigrepont, Zion Harmonizer Brazella Briscoe, producer Scott Billington, as well as Christie Jourdain and Janine Waters of the Original Pinettes, New Orleans's only all-woman brass band. Feintuch's interviews and Samson's sixty-five color photographs create a powerful portrait of an American place like no other and its worlds of music.


"Talking New Orleans Music is a compelling compendium of oral history interviews by Burt Feintuch with a cross-section of iconic New Orleans musicians (and a record producer), duly enhanced by Gary Samson's glorious color photographs. The value of this volume inheres in the respect given by the authors to the diverse personalities and accomplishments of the respective informants--their storytelling is richly informative and entertaining and goes to the heart of what makes New Orleans culture so vibrant and tenacious."

- Bruce Boyd Raeburn, author of New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History

"Talking New Orleans Music is a beautiful portrait of the Crescent City's musical heritage. Burt Feintuch's interviews and Gary Samson's photographs graphically show how New Orleans music 'starts in the street.' Charmaine Neville, Walter 'Wolfman' Washington, Irma Thomas, and eight others speak eloquently about their lives and make this book essential reading for all who love New Orleans."

- William R. Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues