New Orleans' Bourbon Street is returning to its original music one club at a time as rhythms of authentic New Orleans jazz float through the summer air.
Up until the 1980's the sounds of jazz were flowing out of several bars and clubs on Bourbon Street. Blue Angel had George Finola with Clarence Ford and Ed Frank, the Famous Door featured Lady Charlotte, La Strada had June Gardner and his Gentlemen of Jazz, Frenchy's Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest, Thomas Jefferson and Johnny Horne were at Maison Bourbon, the Dukes of Dixieland performed at Mahogany Hall, the Paddock Lounge had Wallace Davenport and James Davis, Crazy Shirley's featured Teddy Riley's group and Traditional Hall had Bob French's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. Live jazz was also being played at the 500 Club and occasionally in many other establishments along the strip. Many of these clubs had music fifteen hours a day featuring three bands with shifts from 11 am to 4 pm, 4 to 9 pm and 9 pm to 2 am.
Since then most of the clubs featuring live music have been replaced by t-shirt and daiquiri shops and 'huge ass beers' to go. The forts holding up the city's native music's flag have been reduced to a precious few: Maison Bourbon, Musical Legends Park and Fritzel's. Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta opened in 2009, and now the Funky Pirate will start featuring authentic New Orleans Jazz every Monday night.
Funky Pirate's effort will combine two sorely missed features: jazz on Bourbon Street and Monday nights at Donna's. All jazz fans, local and visiting, surely remember Donna's Bar & Grill on N. Rampart Street as the place to be on Mondays to enjoy some real New Orleans jazz and Chef Charlie's BBQ chicken with red beans and rice. Now this tradition will return to town albeit in a new location!
Charlie Simms of Donna's will be hosting the opening Monday, July 2, and serving his world famous chicken and red beans during the 10 pm break. Music provided by the Leroy Jones Quintet will be going on from 8 pm until 1 am.
Leroy Jones is one of the Crescent City's foremost trumpeters who has made an international career and influenced countless musicians, not only in his hometown, but all over the world. Between the late seventies and mid-eighties Leroy Jones & New Orleans' Finest had regular engagements on Bourbon Street at Frenchy's, Famous Door, the Court Tavern and Maison Bourbon. Since then Jones has traveled the world with his own Quintet, as one of the featured soloists of the Harry Connick Jr. Big Band, and as a guest performer with numerous European, Asian and Australian jazz groups.
Jones started playing at Donna's Bar & Grill soon after the club's opening in 1993 and was one of the high profile musicians that drew in an international crowd of jazz fans. Since Donna's closing in 2010 many locals and visitors have been looking for a casual Monday night 'joint' for New Orleans jazz - this is the void Funky Pirate is looking to fill. Charlie Simms of Donna's says "I'm pleased and proud to see this coming back to the Quarter. It’s good for the musicians and wonderful for those who enjoy the music."
Monday July 2, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am | "Jazz Night at the Funky Pirate" featuring the Leroy Jones Quintet | Funky Pirate Bourbon, 727 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70116 | No cover ~ complimentary BBQ Chicken and Red Beans and Rice at 10 pm
July schedule of "Jazz Night at the Funky Pirate" featuring the Leroy Jones Quintet: Monday July 2, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am | Monday July 9, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am | Monday July 16, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am | Monday July 23, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am | Monday July 30, 2012, 8 pm to 1 am