“Son do!”

This was the nick name that young Dan earned in glowing reflection of his eager willingness to please others and work. Danny substantiates this characterization in several instances. Among his memoirs, there are detailed tales of life in Downtown Orleans Parish. In this season of the God blessed child, this fin de cicle post focuses again on the jazzy childhood of Daniel Moses Barker.

“So I have vivid memories of what was happening on the river and I saw much, for I would roam about the wharves, and was welcome there because most everyone knew my grandparents.”

It should be no surprise that his accounts reveal a boy of natural intelligence and keen observation. In the beautifully maddening life of New Orleans – wether it be a hundred years ago or only a few days passed – there is a terrific abundance of varied, colorful examples of being.

“One day they were working on a Japanese ship and I went up the gangplank to watch the almond-eyed yellow men. One of them gave me a present of a little Japanese doll.”

Learning was highly valued in his up-bringing. This accumulation of knowledge also just happened to be taking place during a social transformation occurring in the churches and streets of a poly-glot frontier on a “reconstructed” south. Downtown Orleans Parish, at that time, was also home to the most notorious vice districts known in near history.

“On the northeast corner of Chartres and St. Philip stands a three-storied building which, in 1916, was a barroom and gambling joint owned, operated and patronized by Italians. The many tables were always occupied by men; many of them wore black shirts, black suits, black shoes and black hats. The doors were always wide open and the smoke from the long thin black cigars which were favored by most of the patrons would drift to the outside. If you passed the joint the strong aroma would damn near choke and suffocate you. I looked about the interior of this place on many occasions because I was fascinated.”

Later, as he grew into young adulthood, Danny Barker began to understand his place in the scheme of things. Although there was no great, deeper awareness of the gauntlet which he was to continue to run for more than eight decades, there was a distinctly effective insight which 'Son do' came upon in his life in New Orleans.

“I learned early on that I would never see the inside of a college. I also found out that if I wanted to go places with a minimum of education, the way involved the learning of a musical instrument.”

His first band, The Boozan Kings.

Kings.wav

His holy reign, the Creole land of Boozan.

Boozan.wav

His angelic proclamation, popular songs.

Songs.wav

Any way you examine it: survival or salvation? Danny Barker's offering to life was what we now name as a culture. In closing, I'll say that from my observation, there are many people who don't quite understand this idea, Jazz. I would answer that: as you are willing to know the life of this man, from 'Son do' all the way to 'Old Danny,' you can know Jazz.

Peace & Pops,
Esquizito
Maison Musique, New Orleans
esquizito.com
My Catalogue of CD's Available Thru A Locally Owned & Operated Retailer Worthy of Your Support:
http://www.louisianamusicfactory.com/showoneprod.asp?ProductID=5533
MOMENTS OF SOUND: ESQUIZITO 1996-2006 is now available in Digital Download thru:
Amazon, iTunes, Emusic, Shockhound, Lala and, Rhapsody - which like iTunes, you would search for: esquizito.

GOOD NEWS: The Kingdom is at hand.

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Comment by Esquizito on December 23, 2009 at 11:02pm
~+~

Dear Reader, since you have come to this point with me, I must whole-heartedly express my Gratitude to you, for your time and attention thus far.

How well aware I am of the many attractions and distractions that mount up at this end-time of year. And what a year it has been!

I do hope and wish you a Merry Mindfulness... so you can spread it around. Safe Travels, Warm Reunions, and many Happy Returns.

Above all...
Peace,
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 23, 2009 at 4:55pm
*+*

This says it without saying it... not white, but bright...!

Dreaming,
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 23, 2009 at 10:24am
~+~

PRAY, DON'T SHOP!

Nevertheless... CD purchases of unique musical artists are hip gifts to present any time of year... in the name of Peace... (it goes hand-in-hand with prosperity.)

Merry Mindfulness,
E.
Comment by Esquizito on December 22, 2009 at 4:31pm
~+~

So, we pick up the story of, Margie Perez' 4th Annual Tree Trimming, Housewarming, Yard Sale Bash (this passed Sunday in the Musicians Village,) when Margie brought out a guitar and keyboard. I had already agreed to show Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson - who undeniably has one of the greatest nick names in New Orleans music - how to finger an F major chord. Of course, Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson's famous name speaks his everlasting Mardi Gras Classic.

So 'Carnival Time' Johnson is going on and on about, "that F chord" while Margie & Co. are scurrying up the keyboard connection, and everybody's feeling fine. There are pleasant holiday aromas filling the air and Roselyn Lionheart has taken over the task of 'Teach' for 'Carnival Time' Johnson. David Leonard (her husband) is just Jolly with many a twinkle in his hippie-dippie Santa Claus eyes... all the Slim Chicks still dig Old St. Nic.

The music gets off to a limping trot; we can't get the guitar out of 'Carnival Time' Johnson's hand. I'm in the kitchen dressing up the Creole Rice Pudding with goodness from Margie's box... Roselyn prevails and gets Mr. Johnson on the keyboard, and proceeds in leading us in song, after song, after song.

Once that runs its course, I take the opportunity to take over from Roselyn and, at some point we made it to the, "Right... Now..."

And it was Carnival Time! With three chords, two extra beats, and one undeniably rockin' roll of a tempo... Everybody's having fun. Then we achieved it. "Seven Lasses Dancing... oh, them's not in that song, is it? Well... anyway, it wasn't the 12 Days Of Christmas just yet.

Peace,
E.

MUCHANDAS GRACIAS...! To The Part-Time Goddess, Mi Prima Cubana...! Margie Perez.

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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.

I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.

My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."

Let's be audacious, my friends!

Buster Williams

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