Friday, February 14, 2014

So Many Tubas So Little Time...

I'm down here in New Orleans. I brought a couple of instruments with me and for a few minutes each day I sit in our little courtyard and quietly strum a tune or two. I do it quietly because there are other guests in the surrounding apartments. Not to be judgmental but I can make an educated guess that there is going to be one in the crowd that thinks I am too smart for my britches in the way I have strung wire, wood and cigar box together to make these sounds, these old songs. Probably good thing I did not bring a tuba. 

In addition to the loud factor that keeps me from disturbing other guest with a tuba there are a couple of other little things. One of them is some nasty noise ordinance politics that have been happening between city residents, club owners and city government that I don't even begin to understand. The other is the fact there there are tuba players out the wazoo around here. To start latest Tuba Tales I'll post photos of guys I did not see play a note.  I caught them in off guard moments and this is a guy I saw in in Jackson Square. 
He looks a little lonely sitting with early morning (I like early mornings in the Quarter best, we know what's down there at night) sunlight glinting from his bell but actually his girl is on the other side of him. I did not see him play but folks were forming pick up bands and I hope he made some good tips for the day. 

I saw this guy walking along Frenchman Street. 
I have done a lot with the tuba in my life. Most of it was early on and my chops have faded a bit as I seem to be reduced to playing Christmas songs, nursery rhymes and general farting noises. I don't think I have ever done like this guy and carried a tuba and led two dogs around by leash. In fact I don't think the guys sitting in the chair has every been smelled up and down by a tuba player's dog. What ever their purpose for the evening tuba, man and dogs drifted on off toward Decatur Street and what ever adventures await for the evening in the Quarter. 

I saw this group gathering for a day of Jams in Jackson Square. It was the same morning I made the other young man's photo. Don't know which guy was the tuba player but I wondered if you can have too many tubas in the square. Some in my vicinity think you can with too many with the number being one, meaning me. 
This tuba belonged to the tuba player in Dorine the clarinet player's band. I have one of their cds  I bought years ago and they can still be seen playing around the Quarter. I think Dorine used to be married to the tuba player but I am not sure if she still is. I did not see this group play and one reason I am not sure of her martial status is that a couple of hours later when we were eating at a neighborhood boil house located the other side of Claibourne Avenue across the street from Ernie K Doe's Mother in Law Lounge Dorine came in and sat a the other end of the communal dining table from us. Just like this tuba she was by herself. 
You know what? I have never played a tuba gig where  they said, "hey wait a minute, we gotta strap a microphone on that thing so you can be heard better." Maybe if I hang around in New Orleans it will happen for me. Or as singer song writer Todd Snider says, "maybe not." 


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