Do You Know What It Means

Curator David Kunian reached out and suggested that I play a visit to the New Orleans Jazz Museum. It’s located on high ground between the French Quarter and Frenchman Street in one the sturdiest of the city’s structures, the Old U.S. Mint.


There are currently exhibits on Professor Longhair


The museum was busy, it was hard to get a photo without many people. Listening to various Longhair tracks was really fun


Let’s get high on medicine


I learned about Fess from the documentary PIANO PLAYERS RARELY EVER PLAY TOGETHER, which is newly re-released with additional interview footage as FESS UP

Women in New Orleans Jazz


not pictured (too much glare): a recent orchestral score by Courtney Bryan


there’s no jazz without women blues singers

and Pete Fountain.


one of my first cassettes was Pete Fountain playing trad classics. I loved it

Among the most remarkable pieces on display are actual instruments played by the founders.


the pianos of Fats Domino and Dr. John


the first cornet of Louis Armstrong (!!!)

There’s a glamorous performing space that has a constant stream of performances, many of which are archived on YouTube.


Running DTM has its privileges. David took me backstage to the “tower,” three floors of archives. After Katrina, the museum had to reset, and to some extent things are in flux. David is currently working on the forthcoming “Drums in New Orleans” exhibit, but many more things come in and out of the main space.


David Kunian holds doorknobs to Mahogany Hall


The actual slide whistle played by Baby Dodds on Hot Fives and Hot Sevens records (!!!)


the trombone of Papa Jack Laine. Some of the earliest jazz circa 1910 was performed on this instrument


the piano of Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke

I’ve never been a whorehouse piano player, but if I were ever to take that gig, it certainly would be in the tradition. Storyville “Blue Books” are not that hard to find but I’d never actually seen one: A guide to legal prostitution with ads by famous names like Veuve Cliquot. The working girls are sorted by race.


It was a fascinating trip! I wish David and the Museum the very best while continuing to expand and develop a site dedicated to the cradle of jazz.


photo by David Kunian