Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cotton eyed joe.

It's that time of year again, the 10th (!) annual Cotton District Arts Festival. I arrived around 11:30 to see Brice Miller N.O. Jazz All-Stars. Two standout tracks were a fabulous version of Cannonball Adderley's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and the standard "When the Saints Go Marchin' In."

Here's Brice as Cannonball

The band also featured Doug Thomas on tenor saxophone, Columbus Mayor Jeffrey "Breezin'" Rupp on guitar, and Richard "Six" on the heavy stix. I knew His Mayorship had played in a local duo Jeff and Jeff a decade ago, but I had no idea he had legitimate jazz chops. Here he is deep in the groove (and that ain't no Lee Atwater-esque publicity photo).

Brice was the New Orleans public school system's jazz educator before Katrina "relocated" him and his family to the Golden Triangle, where he is completing an MA in teacher education at MUW. He often lectures about jazz history as well as playing the same. One favorite is the second line classic "Saints Go Marchin' In". Here Brice exhorts the crowd to "Iko Iko" Get Up.

Directin' CDAF 2nd line.jpg

The Cotton District is, of course, Starkville Mayor Dan Camp's 30 plus year old experiment in slum renewal as new urbanism. Taking a blighted neighborhood abutting a defunct cotton mill, Camp has developed one of the favorite places for MSU students to dwell. Here are two shots of street action during today's festival: Page and Maxwell (the shadier one), both looking north toward University

Page twords Univeristy.JPG Maxwell shade.JPG

It is an arts festival, so here's one of my favorite local artists, the self-taught Frank McGuigan, who usually paints with gouache.


I'm a big jazz and blues fan, so this is the McGuigan that adorns my home.

My McGuigan.JPG

Well I have to head off to the Old Main Music Festival to see the Drive-By Truckers in five minutes, so I'll close chapter one. Tomorrow more music including The Persians, The Mississippi Bluebloods, and Rubber Soul.

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