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article imageProfile of Black Jazz Singer in Louisiana

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 23, 2009 in Entertainment
Hardrick Rivers has a reputation. All over Natchitoches, Louisiana people proclaim this fellow makes music like no one else around. He can do Sam Cook and make you think that poor Cook wouldn't have had a chance around Rivers.
He can also do homegrown country, and you can close your eyes and think you're now in Nashville. New Orleans musical combos couldn't best his as he plays about every tune you'd want to hear that represents not only Louisiana but the whole Southern genre. Once you hear Rivers you won’t be able to get him out of your mind because this fellow takes music and hands it from his soul to yours. That's how intimate it becomes. Each person feels it differently, but everyone feels it for sure.
Monday at the Happy Hour brought Hardrick to make folks really happy with songs that make it hard to leave when the hour passes to dinner. Hardrick was up to his usual best at the Mama's and Papa's new “shop” on Front Street, the new local hang that sprawls along just enough to accommodate the connoisseurs of good booze and good jazz. One can rediscover the legerdemain of music all wrapped up in the rhythm of Rivers. It’s Black History month, and the club is featuring African American entertainers around town, with Rivers the star as usual.
During this early evening at the club Rivers played his songs for easy listening as the reflections from the evening skies sliced through the window catching the restaurant chandelier and transferring a glow around him. Rivers had the usual upbeat crowd around and took a minute to sit down and chat. He has recently married a childhood sweetheart. They had known each other in Natchitoches, Louisiana in adolescence but had separated and gone on to lead separate lives. He played music all over the country, married and had children. She married and moved away as well. He returned to Natchitoches some years ago and brought his great jazz with him.
Hardrick is the personification of Louisiana music, which he says is in the veins of his arms as surely as the blood there. He takes an ordinary song and owns it. After the Northwestern University in Natchitoches graduates its music students, they go to Rivers to learn what it’s like to play in a professional group, so they can go on to careers in teaching or playing music. Rivers has a college degree that he got in his maturity, i.e. upon returning to Louisiana after roaming as a musician, fulfilling his grandmother’s wish that he get an education and be somebody.
This fine musician has the Louisiana sound supreme. In Black History month he is the occasion for music for every group in town celebrating the contribution of the African heritage to Louisiana and the world.
More about Black history, Jazz, Louisiana
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