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Famous New Orleans Musician Tells About What Inspired Him to Play New Orleans Jazz

Xavier University educator  and New Orleans musician Dr. Michael White revealed what inspired him at a young age to take up the clarinet and play traditional New Orleans jazz.

New Orleans musician dr michael white

New Orleans musicians Dr. Michaels White reveals why he committed to New Orleans jazz at a young age.

On the show Music Inside Out with Gwen Thompkins on public radio White talks about the song that changed his life when he got a rare recording of clarinetist George Lewis and heard Burgundy Street Blues. He said he did not commit completely to the clarinet until he heard George Lewis do this song. Here is how he describes his experience:

I went home and I put on this record and from the first note it was like my whole life had been darkness and all of a sudden a light came on. It just opened up and expressed what it felt like to be from New Orleans. It was like all the things that are unique and special about New Orleans life and living.

The way people laugh, gumbo, the smell of cut grass and flowers in the spring by City Park, the bayou, the river, being around the French Quarter, going to fish fries, having people sit out on their stoops, learning their news from them, going to local restaurants and meeting strangers.

All the things that are very unique about the city, it seems like all those things were in the music, it seemed to be historic but at the same time timeless. I guess what that really was as I look back on it, was that it transmitted a spirit, and that was the real sprit of New Orleans and the real spirit of the people of New Orleans and the people that created this music.

I’m not the only person. There are other people that say that song changed their lives one way of the other. I’ve heard that all over the world. It’s a magic song, I have to tell ya.

Here is George Lewis performing his beautiful composition Burgundy Street Blues.

Dr. White was featured in the film “The Sound After the Storm” produced three years after Hurricane Katrina.

No doubt that Burgundy Street Blues as performed by George Lewis contains a spirit that’s influenced many New Orleans musicians decades ago and is still doing so today. Have a listen. It just might inspire you.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans History, New Orleans Life, New Orleans Music.

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