Traditional jazz band ‘Florida Street Blowheads’ to play Red Dragon Listening Room

Traditional jazz band ‘Florida Street Blowheads’ to play Red Dragon Listening Room

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A group of Baton Rouge musicians playing traditional New Orleans jazz music are set to play a show at one of the city's most well-known listening rooms.

The Florida Street Blowhards will be performing Feb. 9 at the Red Dragon Listening Room on 2401 Florida St.

The Red Dragon Listening Room is a music hall in Baton Rouge known for being a quiet and comfortable space for listeners to enjoy acoustic, mostly original music performed by singer-songwriters.

The Blowhards will be opening for Brother Sun, a neo-folk band that celebrates the amazing power of three-part male harmonies, singing contemporary folk with touches of gospel, blues, jazz and pop.

Blowhards bandleader Sam Irwin, of Melrose Place, has been exploring the music created for the jazz musicians of New Orleans.

"A lot of the great musicians who invented jazz were from New Orleans, like Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton," Irwin said. "But others came from the small towns along the Mississippi River, like Kid Ory of La Place. Joe "King" Oliver of Donaldsonville, John Robichaux of Thibodaux and Clarence Williams of Plaquemine."

Irwin, a former music major at University of Southwestern Louisiana - now known as University of Louisiana at Lafayette - is the author of "Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean" and "It Happens In Louisiana: Peculiar Tales, Traditions and Recipes from the Bayou."

He picked up his trumpet after a long layoff and started practicing after hearing trumpeter Nicholas Payton perform on Allen Toussaint's album "The Bright Mississippi."

"I wanted to play like that and I wanted to play the music," Irwin said. "So I began practicing again and kept asking people if they wanted to play traditional jazz. Now we've got a band and we're ready to perform."

The Blowhards are made up of a mixture of young and old players, several who live in Melrose Place like David Seymour, 30-year-old woodwind player from California and Terry Byars, a veteran Baton Rouge musician who has played church and Broadway show music for many years. Dummer Zach Bourgue is from Zachary and bassist Philip Vincent from Baton Rouge are both in their 20's. Trombone player Chris Bellau has played with numerous Baton Rouge bands, including the Zydeco Hounds. Trumpeter Payl Taylor of Baton Rouge backs up on trumpet as well.

"We're all rediscovering the music of New Orleans," Irwin said. "It's in that spirit that I wanted to bring traditional jazz to Baton Rouge. If the Capital City can't go to New Orleans, we'll bring New Orleans to the Capital."

The Blowhards are set to hit the stage at 9 p.m at Red Dragon. Admission is $20.

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