Took my New Orleans Legacy Band to Great Falls, Montana on Saturday, September 10, for a sellout show in the historic Ozark Club. The crowd was wonderfully receptive to our traditional jazz sound, even thoughMontana is a long way from the French Quarter. The show included some readings from my memoir, Song for My Fathers, and a hard-driving musical program featuring tunes like "Original Dixieland One-Step," "Panama," "Weary Blues," "Somebody Stole My Gal," "West End Blues," and "That's a Plenty," among others, many of which are featured on our recent CD, City of a Million Dreams. (Featured in the band photo, from left to right: Richard Moten, bass; Clive Wilson, trumpet; yours truly, clarinet; Lars Edegran, piano; Jason Marsalis, drums; Ronell Johnson, trombone and vocal. Photo courtesy of Paul Snyder.)
After the gig, we all went out for Buffalo burgers (no kidding) and checked out a funky old nightclub, the Sip n' Dip Lounge, which features a variety of fresh fruit cocktails and a fish tank behind the bar in which two live mermaids swim underwater and wave at the patrons while blowing bubbles and performing various aquatic maneuvers. Add the seriously retro music of Piano Patty on the keyboards and you get a nightclub experience that you're not likely to encounter anywhere else on the globe.
The next day, which happened to be 9/11, we did some Montana
sightseeing with my old Harvard classmate Phil Aaberg as our guide. Phil, a world class concert pianist, played several numbers with us at the Ozark Club and, on Sunday, took us to see a Buffalo Jump (cliffs that Indians–sorry "first persons"—used to drive Buffalo off of in order to skin them and collect their meat) and a breathtaking view of the Missouri River near the site of a Lewis and Clark portage. Sunday afternoon, just before heading out to
the airport, Phil and I found time to rehearse a few numbers for the performance we have been asked to give at our 40th (sic!) class reunion in Cambridge, MA later this month. The band left Great Falls with heavy hearts and hopes to return. It was a great weekend for us and, hopefully, for the folks who turned out to hear our music.