Paris Records
Home
About Us
Photos
Albums
Contact Us
Return Policy
Privacy Policy
Terms and Conditions
Poems For New Orleans
by:

Ed Sanders

Click To Download Now

Buy CD from CD Baby

Buy CD from Amazon.com

Buy CD from Paris Records

cover photo:
Spacer Spacer
tracks:

 

contributing artists
Poems For New Orleans
Ed Sanders

With
With music composed and arranged by Mark Bingham
Melody of “Oothoon Came to New Orleans” composed by Ed Sanders
Produced by
Michael Minzer & Mark Bingham

notes on poems and music:
spacer

Poems for New Orleans
(poem notes by Ed, music notes by Mark)
Recorded January-May 2007 at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans,
www.pietystreet.com



1. The Battle of New Orleans 15:05

Words:

This poem stretches across two centuries, beginning with the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 when a Haitian revolutionary named Lemoine Lebage, in exile in New Orleans, serves under Andy Jackson and helps defeat the British invaders and bring the War of 1812 to a close. Lebage is wounded and tended on the battlefield by the young Marie Laveau. Lemoine Lebage settles in New Orleans as a free Haitian, and spends the rest of his life there. The poem also traces what happened to Lemoine Lebage’s great great great great granddaughter, a poet and singer named Grace Lebage after her ancestral home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The role of Grace Lebage is read by Troi Bechet, and Marie Laveau’s words are read by Monique Moss.

Music:

The British soldier band marching to their deaths in “The Battle Of New Orleans” might well have played this theme or something much like it; simple, arrogantly stiff and tentatively triumphant. Like my hero Bernie Herrmann would have done for a Hitch or a Welles flick, the theme is stated, then mutated, inverted, played backwards, fast, slow, major, minor and even done as a banjo tune to celebrate the Dirty Shirts. What New Orleans musicians can do is take the banal and milk it for all the joy and freedom possible. James Alsanders does a great slow march and Tim Green is inside and outside at once. Jon Gross played meaty no frills sousaphone, as Sousa visits from the Spheres to applaud. Kevin O'Day was late, as he had an early gig at the French Qt. Fest, but once he picked up his bass drum, the session caught fire.

Players:

James Alsanders – drums
Jon Gross – tuba
Jeff Albert – trombone
Steven Walker – trombone
Andrew Baham – trumpet
Tim Green – tenor sax
Martin Krusche – alto sax
Peter Orr – banjo
Jonathan Freilch – electric guitar
Kevin O’Day – bass drum
Mark Bingham – electric guitar, banjo
Monique Moss – voice
Troi Bechet – voice

 

2. Teeming Docks: New Orleans 1820-1860 9:14

Words:

This poem follows the growth of New Orleans as a key trading center after the Battle of New Orleans, and the rise of a plantation system based on cotton, made possible by slavery, and the suppression of blacks even in the complicated mixed-race culture of the Crescent City, right up to the eve of the Civil War.

Music:

Katrina still affects us. I know, America sometimes seems bored with our little mess; we’re on to new fancier disasters…. This was to be a piece for Dr. Michael White to play on his pain stick (also known as a clarinet) but his commuting back and forth from Houston, his lack of an NO home and the needs of his infirm Mom conspired to prevent this. As it turned out, pianist Frederick Sanders took the music home and came back with variations aplenty! Tim Green, Martin Krusche and Andrew Baham made up for Michael’s absence with their cliché-free tailgating and winks and smiles to every era of jazz and pre-jazz New Orleans.


Players:

Frederick Sanders – piano
James Alsanders – drums
Jon Gross – tuba
Tim Green – tenor sax
Martin Krusche –alto sax
Andrew Baham – trumpet


3. What if William Blake Had Gone to New Orleans? 5:11

Words:

This is speculative poem wherein Blake visits New Orleans in the 1820s, bringing with him his printing press and the canvas for his huge painting of the Last Judgment. After a vision he experiences during a visit to St. Louis church in New Orleans, he etches a poem and publishes it on his printing press. Its title is “Oothoon Came to the Crescent,” a poem in rhymed quatrains telling how Oothoon, who in Blake’s symbology represents thwarted love, comes to New Orleans to consummate at last her desire for her lover Theotormon.

Music

The CD was about done when Ed told me that the Oothoon song, one of the first things we did, was actually a part of this poem. A quick re-vision added the Quiet Joy music, which was “of the time” of Blake to the poem before and after Oothoon and presto chango, we have the piece as Ed conceived.

Players:

James Alsanders – cymbals
Carol Berzas, Jr – acoustic guitar, 12 string guitar
Mark Bingham – electric guitar, banjo
Helen Gillet – cello
Frederick Sanders – piano
Rick Perles – violin
Monique Moss – voice


4. Did Mark Twain Meet Marie Laveau? 3:20

Words:

Twain did visit New Orleans around Mardi Gras in 1860. In this poem He encounters Marie Laveau at a Mardi Gras party, and tries to find out how his literary career will turn out, while she warns him about the terrible war soon to commence.

Music:

In 1986, Michael Minzer and Hal Willner made the Allen Ginsberg record “The lion for real.” The guitarist Bill Frisell was part of the cast. He made a strikingly beautiful musical setting for “Bricklayer’s Lunch Hour.” This banjo theme is likely from the same galaxy as Bill’s piece, only from the Clown and Circus district. This was my demo, sitting at the console with an SM-7 jammed up on my banjo.
Attempts by the “real” musicians to recreate the goat-like innocence of the demo were fruitless and Ed suggested using the demo. I added Hart and Helen to the demo and everybody was happy. The British dance hall cello and flute lines lifted from 5th Dimension and Laura Nyro songs give the piece that POMOMOFO surreal touch we all long for, but rarely achieve.

Players:

Hart Mcnee – flute
Mark Bingham – banjo
Helen Gillet – cello
Monique Moss – voice

5. Marie Lebage and Huey Long 3:20

Words:

Lemoine Lebage’s great granddaughter, school teacher Marie Lebage works on Huey Lung’s campaign in 1928, and supports him right up to the day of his assassination in 1935.

Music:

This sad waltz might be classified as “Third Stream Cajun music.” Gunther Schuller, watch out! Maybe Gunther and Dewey Balfa wrote the piece together and I lifted it from the air. No kidding folks, it’s a Cajun waltz, with truffles and pig’s feet, just like Huey would have wanted it.

Players:

Frederick Sanders – piano
James Alsanders – drums
Jon Gross – tuba
Tim Green – tenor sax
Martin Krusche – alto sax
Andrew Baham – trumpet
Helen Gillet – cello
Rick Perles – violin


6. Unearned Suffering 1:29

Words:

In a surreal duet, the singer Susan Cowsill and Ed Sanders recite this rumination on unearned suffering from ancient times up through the governmental cruelty after Katrina.

Music:

As all true composers know, bicycle spokes are the perfect foundation for percussion pieces. I had bought a new paella pan a few weeks before Katrina. Lacking a stove for 21 months, the pan was still unused, so it became a lovely tone in James Alsanders' hands.
Susan Cowsill is known to be able to sing harmony with anyone. She can clone phrasing faster and more precisely than anyone I’ve seen or heard over my 40 plus years in music. The thinking was, if she can do this with Ed, she could do anything. She did!

Players:

James Alsanders – bicycle spokes, paella pan, cast iron skillet, cowbell,
tambourine, GoBo
Susan Cowsill – vocal

7. Calling on Charles and Wallace? 1:15

Words:

What is more timely than an invocation to Charles Ives and Wallace Stevens, both insurance executives as well as great artists, to do something about the evils the insurance industry wrought upon the victims of Katrina.

Music:

This theme was on paper and in my brain for 20 years. A pop song ? What was it? It seemed perfect for a poem about insurance. Which reminded me of this: "We're in a free fall into future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast. And always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective . . . Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes." —Joseph Campbell

Players:

Frederick Sanders – piano
Helen Gillet – cello
Rick Perles – violin

8. Some FEMA Trailers in Hope 8:41

Words:

This is the final poetic work in the Johnny Pissoff Quartet, a four-part tracing of the life and milieu (1967-2005) of Jonathan Abner Tobias Pissoff. In “Some FEMA Trailers in Hope,” Mr. Pissoff and two close friends break into a FEMA storage area in Hope, Arkansas and bring some badly-need trailers to New Orleans after Katrina.

Music:

It may be the highest of high musical honors to finish out the final installment of the Johnny Pissoff Quartet. The music relates to the original three Pissoffs, only we are not parodying country music, we are country music. We have lost our mullets along the way. Carl Berzas’s amazing high tenor confounds and amuses with each listening.

Players:

Kevin O’Day – drums
Mark Bingham – bass
Carol Berzas, jr – guitar and vocal
Helen Gillet – cello

9. Quiet Joy 1:09

Words:

A meditation on the Great Return of wildlife, birds, flowers and animals to New Orleans a year and a half after the storm.

Music:

This is the same theme we used on Blake to NO, as it is both an archaic 19th century melody and a fun fiddle/banjo tune. Alas, despite my optimism, there are still very few roseate spoonbills in Louisiana today.

Players:

Rick Perles – violin
Helen Gillet – cello
Frederick Sanders – piano
Mark Bingham – banjo

10. The Experience 2:29

Words:

A poem about those whose experiences during and after Katrina has resulted in profound psychological damage— such post-traumatic shock that they have become what sometimes is called “gone.”

Music:

The ability to pitch change, time stretch and to move and copy notes means you can take string players playing a C chord or samples even, and…. turn it into this! Frederick Sanders enjoyed the challenge in listening to what I did, viewing my odd score and then mostly improvising his part.

Players:

Frederick Sanders – piano
Mark Bingham – keyboards

11. My Ironing Board 1:20

Words:

It just poured into my head one morning, this poem on the interwoven feelings of grief and freedom after having lost everything in a great flood.

Music:

In the Bywater, the 9th Ward neighborhood that did not flood, there are many bands and people doing largely un-categorizable music. Along with the well known (Quintron, Morning 40 Federation, Happy Talk Band, Alex McMurray, Kermit Ruffins, New Orleans Klezmer All Stars) we also have Ratty Scurvics, DJ Tracheotomy, Vavavoon, Hot Club, Linzi Zaorski, Naked Orchestra, Magnetic Ear, One Man Machine, Schatzy, Andy J. Forest, The White Bitch, Jonathan Frielich, Black Rose band, Hart McNee, members of the Hot 8 and Free Agent brass bands, the Herringbone Orchestra, Wazozo, Raymond “Moose” Jackson and Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship. And more I can’t recall.
The session for “And Then Came The Storm” produced this track as well. I joined WAWBSABS on banjo with Jeff Albert and Hart McNee as ringers.

Players:

Aurora Nieland – soprano sax,
Walt Mcclements – accordion
Mark Bingham – banjo
Jeff Albert – trombone
Alynda – bass drum
Mischa – French horn
Erin Bell – French horn

12. Rape 3:36

Words:

During the flood after Katrina, Grace Lebage and her husband have taken refuge on the roof of their house; George Lebage wades to some stores to look for food. While he is gone, Grace is attacked on the rooftop.

Music:

Samples and players and plug-ins, oh my! Jeff Albert played actual trombone and I played the electric guitar.


Players:

James Alsanders – percussion
Mark Bingham – electric guitar, keyboards
Jeff Albert – trombone
Troi Bechet – voice

13. Ash Wednesday and Lent 2:42

Words:

A discourse on the religious underpinnings of Mardi Gras and the penance and atonement of Lent in the context of someone who has experienced great losses from the hurricane.

Music:

This noirish ballad seemed to go well with Ed’s impassioned poem and reading. Tim Green and Andrew Baham play the melody beautifully and Helen Gillet adds lovely cello harmony before taking the melody toward the end of the piece. Rick Perles plays the violin improv at the end. Thanks to all the players for the subtle changes and arranging ideas that made this come to life.

Players:

Frederick Sanders – piano
James Alsanders – drums
Jon Gross – tuba
Tim Green – tenor sax
Martin Krusche – alto sax
Andrew Baham – trumpet
Rick Perles – violin
Helen Gillet – cello

14. Grace Lebage 4:49

Words:

Grace Lebage and her husband, rebuffed by the government for help, organize benefits and raise the money to rebuild their Katrina-ruined house. Nothing can stop Grace Lebage reach the Dream!

Music:

I tried to make a choral piece that might have been in High Noon. Somehow none of us could sing like those ladies they had in Hollywood in the 50’s. Ned Sublette rescued the piece by looking at the music and playing it on the nylon guitar. He layered a few of the “choir” parts and it was good. I added an electric thru a Leslie cabinet and wrote parts for Helen Gillet who came in and saved the day once more. Still wish I had a dozen ladies singing ah, ah, but, maybe next time.

Players:

Mark Bingham – electric Leslie Guitar
Helen Gillet – cello
Ned Sublette – classical guitar, acoustic guitar
Troi Bechet – voice


15. Then Came the Storm—a Prayer for the Victims of Katrina 13:30

Words:

This extended piece traces the formation of the tropical depression that became Katrina, the inadequate responses by officialdom, including the mayor of the city, and then describes what the storm did to a great American city, including the forced evacuation of over 100,000 residents, almost all of them from black neighborhoods, to over 44 states.

Music:

Going way back to Indiana in 70’s and then NYC in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the use of guitars having 6 of the same string tuned to the same notes has a history that might need a book to explain fully. Bands have made careers of it and great composers have created sound fields unheard of before the use of masses of one strings. It’s a good thing.

This piece has 11 electric guitar players, some in one string many not, 2 basses, 2 baritone horns, one French horn, drums, tenor and alto sax, flute and accordion. It references early VU, Branca, Doors, 2nd line New Orleans, Xenakis, Willie Schwarz and even Stan Kenton. Call this piece a poem on the storm accompanied by a brief history of chaos rock. We end in some peace with the notes of a healing raga.

Players:

Bernard Pearce – guitar
Riley Bingham – guitar
Mark Bingham – guitar, keyboards
Rob Cambre – guitar
Peter Orr – guitar
Carol Berzas, Jr. – guitar
Lefty Parker – bass
Raymond “Moose” Jackson – bass
James Alsanders – drums
Shawn Hall, Courtney Egan, David Sullivan, Galen Cheney,
Kristen Myers, Andrew Neubauer – bowls and marbles:
Mischa – French horn
Aurora Nieland – soprano sax
Tim Green – tenor sax
Martin Krusche – alto sax
Hart McNee – bass flute
Alynda – bass drum
Erin Bell – French horn
Walt Mcclements – accordion

Poems for New Orleans
Recorded January-May 2007 at Piety Street Studios, New Orleans,
www.pietystreet.com


Sound Sachem: Mark Bingham

Engineers: Drew Vonderhaar and Wesley Fontenot

Cover Photo By: Michael Minzer

Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Boulder, Colorado