Is Pete Fountain a Pop Culture Icon?

If you’re like me, Pete Fountain was someone you got the impression was a big deal, but it wasn’t clear why. He was a part of Bourbon Street’s heyday, but so were other less revered musicians. It didn’t help that he played traditional jazz, which is the New Orleans sound people under 50 had the least exposure to, so what made him special wasn’t immediately apparent.

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.

Jazz Fest Playlist: Sasha Masakowski

[This weekend, a number of artists playing Jazz Fest have contributed Spotify playlists. Friday, jazz vocalist Sasha Masakowski performs, and here's hers.]

"This year for Jazz Fest, I'm pulling my repertoire and inspiration straight out of the dawn of the 20th Century. Embracing history is such a key element of New Orleans culture that I thought it would be fun to feature so historical New Orleans music this year at the Fair Grounds, with a twist, of course.

The First Rule of New Orleans

If we have one duty to New Orleans, it's to not contribute to its caricature. We've spent years trying to assert that there's more to Carnival than boobs on Bourbon Street, that we're not drunkenly indifferent to work and the weather, and that there's more to our music than horns and accordions. This isn't a city of native "up from the pavement" talent, but a place where people at every level take music and creativity seriously, and just because the learning doesn't always take place in schools doesn't mean musicians aren't getting education in their craft. 

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