Jazz Fest: Catching Up with Smoking Time Jazz Club

The Frenchmen Street swing/trad jazz scene can sometimes feel like it wants to be boldly rooted in tradition, but musical archaeology doesn't fill the tip jar. The Smoking Time Jazz Club does the work. They declare in all-caps on their website, "When we play the greats like Louis, Duke, Jelly, Bessie or Billie, it's because they really were geniuses," but dig deeper than that for source material for their nine albums, the most recent being last year's Take Your Time and Fly

Jazz Fest: Catching Up with Aurora Nealand

[Updated We’ll see only part of what Aurora Nealand can do during Jazz Fest. Her trad jazz talents earned her five slots during the two weekends, including Calvin Johnson's Native Son--stories of Sidney Bechet featuring Nealand and Brian "Breeze" Cayolle. That takes place Friday at 2:10 p.m. in the NOLA 300 Cultural Exchange Pavilion and again at 4:20 in the Economy Hall Tent.

Miss Sophie Lee's Path to Frenchmen Street

Miss Sophie Lee didn’t start off looking to be a jazz singer. She has been on a musical path all her life, playing piano and violin as a child, and she went to a performing arts school in her native Chicago when she was five. “Love of music happened very early,” Lee says. She started taking singing lessons when she was in junior high and went to college for classical piano performance. The classical music career she’d been aimed at since childhood didn’t happen, though.

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