In 1977, The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club in New Orleans began showcasing a traditional Crescent City brass band. It was a joining of two proud, but antiquated, traditions at the time: social and pleasure clubs dated back over a century to a time when black southerners could rarely afford life insurance, and the clubs would provide proper funeral arrangements. Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges, then once the family of the deceased was out of earshot, burst into jubilant dance tunes as casual onlookers danced in the streets. By the late '70s, few of either existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble this group as a house band, and over the course of these early gigs, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue's name: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Their unique sound, described by the band as a ‘musical gumbo,’ has allowed the Dirty Dozen to tour across 5 continents and more than 30 countries, record 12 studio albums and collaborate with a range of artists. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is Roger Lewis - Baritone Sax/Vocals; Kevin Harris - Tenor Sax/Vocals; Gregory Davis - Trumpet/Vocals; Kirk Joseph – Sousaphone; TJ Norris – Trombone; Julian Addison - Drums/Vocals; and Takeshi Shimmura – Guitar.
New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa radiates the energy of the city’s street culture. Their album Spyboy (a nod to frontman J’Wan Boudreaux’s role in the Golden Eagles tribe) is a modern mix of fiery, toe-tapping sounds. Popmatters describes the band as "a grand gumbo of singing, intoxicating rhythms, and deep funk grooves that are impossible to resist.” Dating back to the late 1800s, the Mardi Gras Indian tradition began when African-American men first marched in Native American dress through the streets of New Orleans on Mardi Gras day. The tradition, which includes a host of songs shared among the various tribes, has been kept alive for over a century and today is as vital as ever. Mardi Gras Indians have influenced the biggest names in New Orleans music: The Meters, Dr. John, the Marsalis family, the Neville Brothers, Trombone Shorty and others. The most prominent Mardi Gras Indian today is Monk Boudreaux, the Big Chief of the Golden Eagles tribe, and his grandson J’Wan Boudreaux (who holds the position of Spyboy in the tribe) is stepping up with Cha Wa to propel their culture forward.
Katie Ré Scheidt is an abstract expressionist artist living in Roxbury, Connecticut. Her sophisticated use of color and uninhibited brushwork contribute to Scheidt’s lyrical and uplifting body of work. Before life as an artist, Scheidt worked on Wall Street for 12 years, and in 2010 moved to Litchfield County with her husband where they raise their two children. Scheidt paints in her studio, “The Fauve Barn,” and has developed a strong commission business over the past six years, focusing on custom abstracts as well as portraiture and nudes. Her work can be found in private collections throughout the world. Follow her on Instagram @krescheidt.
For tickets ($39.50) call or visit the box office, 203-438-5795 or go online at ridgefieldplayhouse.org. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.
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