NPR's "Toast of the Nation" stops in New Orleans tonight

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new year

Each New Year's Eve, National Public Radio's annual "Toast of the Nation" program follows the incoming year from coast to coast, broadcasting from a live gig in each time zone as the midnight hour approaches and passes. As 2009 bears down on the Crescent City, the Danza Quartet (Evan Christopher on clarinet, Tom McDermott on piano, Matt Perrine on bass and sousaphone, and Shannon Powell on drums) will be representing live from Donna's Bar & Grill at 800 N. Rampart St. The broadcast will be live from 11:15 pm Central until 12:30am on WWNO 89.9 FM, and the gig itself will swing into the wee hours. And for those who wish to experience the New Year vicariously (with no random gunfire, parking, jacked-up drink prices or people) the broadcast starts in Boston at 7 pm Central with Japanese pianist Hiromi Uehara, and finishes up in San Francisco with the ukulele virtuoso (yes, ukelele virtuoso) Jake Shimabukuro, at 2:15 am CST. The Los Angeles segment, which airs directly following Danza, is of special interest - it features the legendary jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott, whose vintage hipster lingo and unearthly high-pitched warble is a wonder of the music world.

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