Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tonight! A Preservation Hall Jazz Band Tribute to Sweet Emma Barrett

Please join Rickie Monie and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band tonight as we play tribute to one of our greats on the eve of her 113th birthday! Special features of the evening will include a photo gallery focusing on Ms. Barrett’s time with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a video reel featuring recently unearthed footage of the iconic pianist, and specially selected musical sets from Preservation Hall Jazz Band pianist Rickie Monie.

"Sweet Emma” Barrett (March 25, 1897 – January 28, 1983) was a self-taught jazz pianist and singer who worked with the Original Tuxedo Orchestra between 1923 and 1936, first under Papa Celestin, then William Ridgely. Also active with Armand Piron, John Robichaux, and Sidney Desvigne, Sweet Emma Barrett was at her most powerful in the early 1960s and became an iconic figure with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. She was nicknamed “Bell Gal” because she wore a red skullcap and garters with Christmas bells that jingled in time with her music. She was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine and written up in publications on both sides of the Atlantic. When the Preservation Hall Jazz Band began to "hit the road,” she took it on international tours. Barrett toured in the United States as well, including a stint at Disneyland in 1963.

Raised in the Ninth Ward, Rickie Monie (pronounced moe-NAY) was the son of amateur musicians and full-time lovers of jazz. As a child, Rickie frequently rode the bus with his family into The French Quarter where they heard music pouring out of every door. Learning piano via weekend church services and majoring in woodwind instruments at Dillard University, it was through his involvement with the Olympia Brass Band that he was first introduced to Preservation Hall. In 1982 Monie got his first call from Preservation Hall, to substitute for Sweet Emma after the legendary resident pianist suffered a stroke, putting him on the road to full-time engagement with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for nearly thirty years.

As always, admission price is $10 and all ages are welcome. Doors open at 8:00pm.

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