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Summertime News

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With two weeks to go before Louis Armstrong's centennial celebration finally hits critical mass, tickets are still available for the "From Satchmo to Marsalis" concert on Aug. 4 at the Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena. In case you've just returned from a two-year sabbatical in Siberia, the concert features Ellis, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis playing together, along with Harry Connick Jr. (Wynton also just released the CD Popular Songs: The Best of Wynton Marsalis.) If the thought of hearing jazz in an arena is giving you pause, keep in mind that the University of New Orleans-sponsored event is using theater configuration for the concert, cutting capacity in half and capping ticket sales around the 4,500 mark. Tickets at the $35, $60 and $100 levels can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 522-5555. ...

Zydeco made a rare appearance at the Saenger Theater last Thursday, when the double bill of Lil' Brian & the Zydeco Travelers and Sean Ardoin & Zydekool performed for tapings of Black Entertainment Television's Comic View show, the network's No. 1-rated series. Both bands record for Buckwheat Zydeco's Tomorrow Recordings label, which helped them get the gig, as two Buckwheat songs are being used as the show's theme music this season. The new episodes begin airing in September. ...

One legendary concert at the Saenger Theater returns to the spotlight this August, as Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's classic 1981 live album, Live in New Orleans, makes its debut on DVD. The expanded version features additional songs not included on the original two-LP release. ... The Iguanas have snagged a spot on the biggest tour of the summer, opening for the Dave Matthews Band. The band plays four dates with the reigning box-office kings: Aug. 24-26 at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Wash., and Aug. 28 at the Delta Center in Utah. ... Jon Cleary recently played one of the European summer circuit's more bizarre gigs, a Sun Records Tribute in Montreaux that featured Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley and -- here's the kicker -- Queen guitarist Brian May. In other Cleary news, he's pared down the Absolute Monster Gentlemen to a trio, featuring the rhythm section of drummer Jeffrey Alexander and bassist Cornell Williams. ... Look for New Orleans rockers Better Than Ezra soon on ESPN; the band recently filmed a series of irreverent promo spots (a la ESPN's Sportscenter commercials) for the network's "College Game Day" football show. The campaign just happens to coincide with the band's forthcoming CD Closer, BTE's fourth album and first effort for the Beyond record label. ... Local pianist Philip Melancon has bought the Neutral Ground Coffee House and re-instituted live music as a cornerstone of the Daneel Street venue. ... Allen Toussaint is one of the winners of a 2001 Pioneer Award. The non-profit Rhythm & Blues Foundation designates the prestigious honor, and Toussaint will receive his award (in the entrepreneur/songwriter category) at a ceremony at New York's Apollo Theatre on Oct. 4. ... Theresa Andersson, who was previously splitting her time between Nashville and New Orleans, has left Tennessee for Austin, Texas. Andersson has already sat in with esteemed Austin acts Lavelle White and Papa Mali, and jammed at Antone's "Blue Monday" series with heavyweight vocalist Malford Milligan. ... The annual music issue of Oxford American is on newsstands now, and features articles on Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton, Monroe native and 2001 Jazz Fest headliner Kevin Gordon, and a review of Morning 40 Federation's debut CD and New Year's Eve performance at the Shim Sham Club. Late Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot's "Bee de la Mance" is also included on the accompanying 23-song CD. ... Master P progeny L'il Romeo's self-titled debut CD recently debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard album charts. ... The four original members of Totally Cold -- the precursor band to early-80s Louisiana rockers the Cold -- have reunited and are calling their old/new venture The Tea Sea. The band just released its debut album, Steep, and celebrates with a CD-release party on Friday, July 27, at the Howlin' Wolf. ... New Orleans pianist Ronnie Kole, a regular visitor to Europe, recently received France's Chevalier Award, also known as the Legion of Arts Medal/The Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters. The French government gives the award to distinguished artists who impact French arts and culture. Kole's latest CD, Music of the Vines, is named for the winery chateaux where he stays on his tours of France. That touch also landed Cole a feature story in this month's Wine Spectator magazine.

Tickets are still available for the Aug. 4 "Satchmo to Marsalis" concert featuring the Marsalis family and Harry Connick Jr.
  • Tickets are still available for the Aug. 4 "Satchmo to Marsalis" concert featuring the Marsalis family and Harry Connick Jr.

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