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Treme: Music From the HBO Original Series: Season Two ()


The first volume of Treme: Music from the HBO Original Series primarily focused on the various ways its musical traditions had been handed down in New Orleans from time immemorial to the present post-Hurricane Katrina era. Music is perhaps the primary character in Treme, what with its many voices, faces, and nuances. The story line in season two is reflected in showcasing the expanded variety of NOLA's musical universe as it is lived every night in bars, on corners, and at house parties. Here, musical traditions, histories, hybrids, competitions, and collaborations co-exist and survive, often by sheer grit and in defiance of the odds. The musical variety on volume one -- jazz, R&B, brass bands, Cajun, etc -- are all reflected here. But there's more -- check the live version of "From the Corner to the Block," by funksters Galactic with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and rapper Juvenile. Local legend John Boutté (one of the city's living treasures who, before the series, was mostly only known to residents). His song "Sisters" contains within it a meld of French and Italian folk music, rhythm & blues, and soulful swing. The Subdudes do their inimitable thing on "Carved in Stone." Al "Carnival Time" Johnson reprises his timeless "It's Carnival Time," backed by the Soul Apostles. Cajun Mardi Gras is celebrated by Steve Riley, Steve Earle & the Faquetaique Mardi Gras. Pianist Tom McDermott pays tribute to Henry Butler on "Heavy Henry" with killer clarinet by Evan Christopher and swinging fiddle by Lucia Micarelli. Butler shows up right after him with "Mama Roux," featuring his astonishing piano skills backed by a full band that includes George Porter. The earliest days of Storyville are given props on "Ferryman" by saxophonist Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses. The wily party jazz king Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers are here, as are the stomping Rebirth Brass Band, the cosmic boogie of the Radiators, and the Iguanas' swamp pop. The set nears its end with Jon Cleary's stellar solo piano and vocal blues ballad "Frenchman Street Blues"; Big Chief Donald Harrison leads an all-star group of jazz musicians, percussionists, and Clarke Peters on vocals on the Mardi Gras Indian chant "Hu-Ta-Nay." Dr. John closes it all with tenderness, using only his voice and trademark piano on "You Might Be Surprised," that sends it off on a positive, philosophical note. The second season installment of Treme: Music from the HBO Original Series is every bit as satisfying as its predecessor. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi Hide synopsis

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