Saxophonist John Doheny was born in Seattle Washington in 1953 but has spent much of his adult life in Canada, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto. After early experiences accompanying strippers in bars and cabarets he became a professional R&B sideman in the late 1970s, touring and recording with artists both prominent and obscure. In 1991 he returned to Vancouver and began a program of intense musical study, both in academe (Vancouver Community College, the University of British Columbia) and in the more informal area of performance. He asserts that "all human intercourse is either an opportunity to learn or to teach. Everything that I know about jazz performance (to the extent that I know anything at all) I owe to those players, teachers and students who have suffered to share the bandstand and the teaching studio with me." Since 2003, Mr. Doheny has been a permanent resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes every effort to spend summers in Canada because "it's too damn hot down here then."

Friday, March 16, 2007



Check out their myspace for music and info.

As a genre this stuff doesn't have much of a profile outside of New Orleans. Most people, when they think of New Orleans brass bands, think of the old school "Didn't He Ramble" "I'll Fly Away" "That Old Rugged Cross" stuff. The Hot 8 are heirs to the new traditions in the music started back in the 70s and 80s by folks like the Dirty Dozen and the Rebirth bands. The 'jazz funeral' tradition had almost died out by that time. Ironically it was crack that revived it. In the 80s it became a hip thing with young gangsters and drug dealers to have a band at their funeral. Phil Fraser, sousaphonist for the Rebirth, has been quoted as saying that more than once he looked down in the coffin at one of these 'crack funerals' and realized he'd gone to high school with the deceased.

For all that, the new school brass bands are a joyous good time, popular at all kinds of neighborhood functions and private parties. It was a real kick to go see the 8 at the Parkway Tavern, which is just a short walk from our house. Great music. Great food (the Parkway has the best po'boys in town these days. The hot sausage ones are killer). The first tune up was a funky, cut-time version of Hank Williams 'Jambalaya,' with the band collectively shouting out the lyrics between long solos, riff patterns and shout choruses. They followed that up with Joe Zawinul's 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.'

After catching a set (and wolfing down a po'boy with fries) Darlene and I walked over to Brocato's on Carollton for spumoni cheesecake, then walked back to the bar through the beautiful, warm night. We could hear the band from blocks away, and as we got nearer, we could see the crowds that had spilled out onto the street, dancing in the moonlight.

Life is sweet.

Comments on "HOT 8 AT THE PARKWAY"


post a comment