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Groove Interrupted: Loss, Renewal, and the Music of New Orleans

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The recent history of New Orleans is fraught with tragedy and triumph. Both are reflected in the city’s vibrant, idiosyncratic music community.

In Keith Spera’s intimately reported Groove Interrupted, Aaron Neville returns to New Orleans for the first time after Hurricane Katrina to bury his wife. Fats Domino improbably rambles around Manhattan to promote a post-Katrina tribute CD. Alex Chilton lives anonymously in a battered cottage in the Treme neighborhood. Platinum-selling rapper Mystikal rekindles his career after six years in prison. Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard struggles to translate Katrina into music. The spotlight also shines on Allen Toussaint, Pete Fountain, Gatemouth Brown, the Rebirth Brass Band, Phil Anselmo, Juvenile, Jeremy Davenport and the 2006 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. With heartache, hope, humor and resolve, each of these contemporary narratives stands on its own. Together, they convey that the funky, syncopated spirit of New Orleans music is unbreakable, in spite of Katrina’s interruption.

“With Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood that followed, New Orleans suffered a near-death experience.   Eighty percent of the city flooded.   Musicians suffered along with everyone else, and in the weeks and months after the storm it was unclear if they, and the music would ever return to the Crescent City.     Keith Spera's invaluable book brilliantly chronicles the experiences of some of New Orleans',   and America's,   most important musicians -- Fats Domino, Aaron Neville, Allen Toussaint, among others --   before, during and after America's worst man-made disaster.”-- Eric Overmyer, Executive Producer Treme (HBO)

 

Publication Date: April 24, 2012

Last modified on Sunday, 28 July 2013 10:12