February 26, 2012

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Al Hirt - for years synonymous with Mardi Gras.


As long as we're jumping into seldom featured material on Newstalgia, I thought I would keep it going with a dose of, what is sometimes referred to as "Traditional Jazz", but at the time of this broadcast was known simply as Dixieland.

Pretty much faded from view as genres go, Dixieland (or Traditional Jazz) had a real spike in popularity in the mid-1950's and was considered something of a raucous cousin where serious Jazz was concerned. Certainly when compared to the Cool School, Dixieland got it's fair share of cringe worthy reactions. But, in all fairness, this was the basis for which a lot of Jazz sprang from - as evidenced by Louis Armstrong who is probably it's most well known figure.

Al Hirt was a fixture for Mardi Gras and was as much a part of the scenery in New Orleans as the proverbial Crawfish boil. Hirt achieved huge commercial success through a number of hit singles and popular albums and was, conceivably as instrumental in making Traditional Jazz a popular mainstream idiom as The Kingston Trio and The Christy Minstrels were in making Folk music a popular genre for mainstream consumption.

So tonight it's an episode of the weekly CBS Radio program Jazz Band Ball featuring Al Hirt and his band live in New Orleans from August 18, 1956.

A good time was had by all.

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