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Making Easy Decisions In The Big Easy: Where To Find The Best Jazz

During Essence Fest we caught more than a few amazing Jazz Bands while roaming Bourbon Street by day.

It simply is not a trip to New Orleans without embodying the essence of the Jazz music.

Originating in the south in communities like New Orleans this music has spanned the centuries and integrated horns, pianos, drums and vocals to create the sounds of a culture which could not be stopped. It has played influence in almost every major music of today and holds roots solid in old ragtime, spiritual and folk music. It is considered the voice of African American communities and has been used to tell stories for now 2 centuries.

The most true sounds you can hear in New Orleans are those of the jazz bands. Echoing through the streets, found in the bars, even honoring the most sacred or passings and unions these bands are the voice of the culture of the Big Easy and tell a story of history and reverence, entertaining though the good times and the bad.

A visit to New Orleans will quickly show you why, no matter what has happened in way of letting the city down, the residents return and keep their heads high and their spirits alive. The Jazz is more than a sound for tourists looking for a show it is the voice of a people, a community and a tradition.

Jazz stems back to African cultural music and European military music, a pairing of two things which could not seem more different, yet somehow married together and formed something so alive that it exists without question. It is considered one of America’s art forms and a part of the history of our nation.

From Preservation Hall to Frenchman you can find a variety of performers showcasing the love of the music. Walking through the streets you can hear on almost every corner of the French Quarter the whine of the horns and pounding of the bass drum. While some stick to traditional sounds and old favorites, others take on newer selections and integrate jazz into pop culture favorites. Young and old alike take to the streets dancing and smiling and there is no way you can pass through without feeling the music.

A Few Places To Check Out Some Of The Best Jazz:

Preservation Hall-

Featuring a house jazz band which have been providing a historical reference for small audiences for over 50 years this group keeps the history of the culture alive while playing traditional songs. They also spend a lot of time in the community educating the public about the rich fabric of the Jazz Culture. They can be seen nightly at Preservation Hall with several showtimes a night. Reservations can be made in advance and are limited.

Jackson Square -

During the day the square is lively with street performers and artists. But amongst these you will often find members of the Second Line Band showcasing their talents and keeping the mood going. With plenty of room to move around you will find passerby audience stopping and surrounding the band, dancing and even joining them on the benches they sit on as they bring tips up to the band and snap a photo. This band is known for their parade performances, but when they are not obligated to a function this is a popular site to find them enjoying the people and showcasing their city.

Frenchman Street -

When the sun goes down, Frenchman starts to thrive and that is where the locals tend to gravitate while tourists are hard at play on Bourbon. Here you will find any number of bars that are more homey and cozy feeling. The lights are low, the jazz is real and you will find yourself having a hard time selecting just which stop you would like to take in for a show. The streets here are even more intoxicating with music than Bourbon is with parties believe it or not and for anyone wanting to come to New Orleans this is a must stop for those wanting to check out the real culture of the city. Check out Snug Harbor, The Spotted Cat and The Maison to start your journey on Frenchman, you will not be disappointed.

Bourbon Street-

You can almost always find a brass band roaming around in the Quarter and set up somewhere along Bourbon Street. Anytime in the afternoon you will find an impromptu concert blocking the roadway with hundreds gathering, especially during festivals. There isn’t one specific place or even suggestion for this one, just roam around take in the sights and you will find something you will love. Street performance is at an entirely different level when it comes to Bourbon Street and you won’t want to miss a trip down this iconic street during your visit.

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