Today I'm shining a light to the land below sea level, New Orleans! If Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilization, Nola is the Fertile Crescent of jazz, funk, r&b and all other forms of music. New Orleans' musical history has deep roots in Congo Square, the area in the 18th centrury that is currently Louis Armstrong Park. Slaves were allowed to maintain their traditions from back home (Africa) on the weekends after working the fields. This, along with the intruduction of western instruments, paved the wave for the birth of Dixieland and later Jazz.
One of the most popular musicians associated with Nola is Louis Armstrong. A gifted trumpet player and singer, Armstrongs' music influenced countless musicians, and is still felt to this day.
Here's a clip of Louis with Johnny Cash, showing Armstrongs influence on genres beyond jazz:
This next clip is Armstrongs most well known song. It's beautiful, and, to me, ironic, considering he grew up in the shadow of slavery and the spotlight of Jim Crow. A testament to the beauty of music:
Coming soon: Part 2 where I'll be checking out Nola funk!