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Red Stick Ramblers
10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16
dba, 618 Frenchmen St., 942-3731;

Photo by Jillian Johnson Formed in 1999 in Baton Rouge, this nattily dressed band quickly made its way from a house party secret to a Jazz Fest favorite, playing an enthusiastic and vintage-sounding blend of Cajun, honky-tonk, Western, country blues and hot jazz that would raise the roof of either a Harlem speakeasy or a Eunice barn dance. Recently, the band racked up some high-profile gigs, contributing music to the film All the King's Men and playing on country-pop legend Linda Ronstadt's Adieu False Heart , her 2006 collaboration with Ann Savoy. As an extra feather in the band's fedora, Ronstadt recorded one of Rambler Chas Justus' original songs, "Rattle My Cage," on the critically hailed album. The quintet currently is putting the finishing touches on an upcoming 2006 release, a follow-up to 2004's jazzy hot toddy Right Key, Wrong Keyhole , which broke the top 10 on the Americana Music Association's radio airplay charts. Now the quintet's members are straightening their ties and strutting back home to New Orleans. This would be a fine time to catch them, as they may not be playing venues as cozy as dba much longer. Tickets $5. — Alison Fensterstock


The Toast of New Orleans Grand Gala Concert
8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 18
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd., 529-3000;

One doesn't typically think of opera as a genre that lends itself to "greatest hits" collections. But following the success of the New Orleans Opera Association's March gala, which featured Placido Domingo and drew a crowd of more than 7,500, this showcase includes a stellar list of performers and an excellent slate of pieces. "Toast of New Orleans" is also a toast of top talents from New York's Metropolitan Opera, including Raymond Aceto, Jane Gilbert, Gordon Hawkins, Anthony Laciura, Simon O'Neill, Lisette Oropesa, Gerard Powers, Alaine Rodin, Hugh Russell and Dolora Zajick. The evening will even include a taste of jazz as piano prodigy Eldar Djangirov (pictured) performs in his New Orleans debut. Having emigrated from Kyrgyzstan and just 19-years-old, Djangirov already has quite a resume. Wynton Marsalis invited him to play at the gala opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall. He's already won several jazz awards and performed at the Kennedy Center. Toast of New Orleans will feature arias, ensemble work, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and New Orleans Opera Chorus. Tickets $10-$250. — Will Coviello


Putumayo Holiday Concert
9 p.m. Sat., Nov. 18
Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., 522-WOLF

The ubiquitous compilation-makers Putumayo World Music almost always turn out pretty excellent samplers of whatever roots or world sound they've turned their attention to, be it rural Mississippi blues or West African gourd strummers. This year, they assembled a diverse cast of some of New Orleans' best musicians for a holiday album you can second-line to. Putumayo Presents New Orleans Christmas opens up with a snazzy trad-jazz version of "Santa Claus Coming To Town" by Big Al Carson with Lars Edegran and his Santa Claus Revelers, and slides into the Louis Armstrongesque stroll "Christmas in New Orleans" by James Andrews and a saucy "'Zat You, Santa Claus?" from Ingrid Lucia (pictured). Other highlights are John Boutté's soulful "White Christmas" and the New Birth Brass Band's high-stepping "Santa's Second Line." Andrews, Lucia, Carson, Butté, Edegran and most of the rest of the album's roster — including Ellis Marsalis, Don Vappie and Banu Gibson — come together here for an all-star live Christmas party onstage at the Wolf that's pretty sure to be both holly and jolly. Proceeds to benefit the Habitat for Humanity Musicians Village. Tickets $10. — Fensterstock


Bebop and Beyond
Thu.-Fri., Nov. 16-17
Dillard University International Center for Economic Freedom, Will W. Alexander Library, First Floor Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 452-1216

Wynton Marsalis notwithstanding, the layman's tourist-brochure image of New Orleans jazz is the straw boaters and the hot-cha-cha; Dixieland and Storyville and paddlewheel cruises. This two-day symposium, the first post-Katrina installment of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation's Tom Dent/Congo Square lecture series, aims to throw some light on more modern aspects of local jazz. In the '50s and '60s, New Orleans musicians like Ellis Marsalis, Alvin and Harold Batiste, Don Vappie, Chuck Badie and others were inspired by the modern sounds being explored by performers like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. Playing here in jazz's birthplace, they began to help craft its future and inspired a generation of now well-respected New Orleans modern jazz stars like Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton and others. The symposium's keynote speaker is A.B. Spellman, who will give his address at 7 p.m. Thursday at the CAC. Spellman is one of America's most renowned jazz scholars, with multiple critical biographies as well as an NEA Jazz Masters award named for him. Panel discussions, which will take place at Dillard University on Friday, will address issues like the interaction between modern and trad-jazz players in the clubs of '50s New Orleans, a look at the new generation of modern jazz artists and more. Panelists include many musical visionaries from the '50s up until the 21st century. The symposium closes with two performances by the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band (pictured) Friday at the CAC, led by trombonist and longtime Dizzy collaborator Slide Hampton. Panel discussions and keynote address free. Call 558-6100 for details. Concert tickets $25 general admission, $20 CAC members/Fans of the Fest/students. — Fensterstock

  • Jillian Johnson

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