Seva Venet – Revisiting New Orleans String Bands: 1880 – 1949

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Description

Release Year: 2014

Label: Threadhead Cultural Foundation

Track List

  1. That’s A Plenty
  2. Is It Good To You?
  3. Canal Street Blues
  4. Lorenzo’s Blues
  5. High Society
  6. Medley: Creole Belles, Aloha Oe, My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It
  7. St. James’ Mazurka
  8. Quadrille: Call, Figure 1, Figure 2
  9. El Zopilote Mojado (The Wet Buzzard Polka)
  10. The Beautiful Blue Danube
  11. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
  12. Abide With Me

Personnel

  • Seva Venet – Steel Guitar, banjo, guitar
  • Matt Rhody – Mandolin
  • John Parker – Rhythm Guitar
  • Kerry Lewis – Bass
  • Dr. Michael White – Clarinet
  • Lars Edegran – Banjo
  • Tommy Sancton – Clarinet

Reviewed In OffBeat

Tom McDermott (January 2015 Issue)

In addition to playing hundreds of gigs in his 15 years in the Crescent City, guitarist/banjoist Seva Venet has done some serious study of the early string bands of New Orleans.

Like the mandolin orchestras which used to populate the land, this is a nearly extinct genre: How often today do you hear, for instance, a quartet of mandolin, fiddle, banjo and upright bass playing ragtime and early jazz?

For this listener, the disc is most exciting when it touches on music that’s tangential to what we usually consider the prime elements that made up early jazz. These include “El Zopilote Mojado” (a Mexican Polka), which clarinetist James Evans, violinist Matt Rhody and Venet pull off with a superb brio; and the medley of “Creole Belles/Aloha Oe/My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it.”

It’s great fun to hear “Belles” played with a tango rhythm (as it undoubtedly could’ve been back in the day) and to realize that “Aloha Oe” (the “Saints” of Hawaiian music) was part of the New Orleans mix in 1884.

This disc also presents Seva’s reimagining of what a quadrille might have sounded like by an 1880s New Orleans string band—an ambitious undertaking. By taking on this project, Venet has delved into areas where not many musicologists have wandered (though at the same time he gives credit to those who’ve done important research).

Fifteen pages of notes accompany the CD, and Emilie Rhys’ beautiful translation of a photo of an old-time trio into her singular ink-drawing style is the icing on this cake.

Tom Mcdermott

Additional information

Weight 5.5 oz
Dimensions 5.0 x 5.5 x .5 in

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