Local jazz violinist Jairus Daigle just dropped his new CD EnMotion. Let’s take a look at it.
I’m not sure whether Daigle is trying to blend light classical melodies with jazz or is just using the violin as a very melodic jazz instrument. I can hear it both ways, especially in the first two cuts.
In “Rewind (Interlude),” which is a bit in the spirit of old fusion jazz, wistful melodies are accentuated by backwards tape loops and other electronic effects. Such effects come in clusters at the beginning of a few cuts, and sound like a turntablist gone wild. But these are very short introductory passages. EnMotion isn’t a wild record. It’s accessible from beginning to end, with some really moving melodies and some nice hooks.
Much of the recording is pleasantly downtempo. In “The Movement,” an elegiac violin gradually develops into violin pyrotechnics. The drum and bass beats speed up the recording just a tad.
The drum and bass pace continues in the next cut, “Go,” in which the special effects have a psychedelic tinge. Daigle is able to make his violin sound like an electric guitar at times, and also works electric guitar into his jazz arrangements.
Such is the case with “Sky View,” a number with a lot of hiphop elements. Part of the grab bag of effects in the intro sounds like a theme from a 1950s sci-fi movie. In the latter part of the cut, a long, blazing drum solo is laid down over simple melodic violin motifs, with the number ending in an electric guitar solo.
I can hear references to at least two dozen kinds of music in this eclectic work. But it all hangs together in a flawlessly smooth manner.
This record will keep you mellow and energetic while you do housework. But you can also dive into it. You can listen to it while you sit in an easy chair and smoke a cigar and sip on single malt.
Daigle’s Improv Clinic
Daigle must stay busy. He’s running a free music improvisation and performance clinic for those of high school age or older. Jazz saxophonist Jessy J will be a special guest.
Both musicians and instructors will work one on one with participants. The clinic is affiliated with the local non-profit music education program Jazz in the Arts. It will take place June 22, 9 to 11:30 am. Interested? Call 309-2712.
If you want to write, and you’re not getting quite as much writing instruction or writer networking as you’d like to here at home, consider the Mini Monthly Writers Retreats at the Teche Center for the Arts at 210 E. Bridge Street, Breaux Bridge. Each writers’ retreat takes place on the first Tuesday of the month, 6 to 8 pm. There’s no charge, but a $5 donation is suggested.
The retreats give writers a working group with which they can generate new work, discover and develop their voice, and participate in guided discussions in a non-judgmental, supportive and inspiring atmosphere. These retreats are open to writers of blogs, essays, short or long-form fiction or poetry — you name it.
Facilitator Clare L. Martin welcomes both established writers and wannabees. Says Martin, “too often we beat ourselves up for not writing. There will be none of that here. We want TCA to be a welcoming space for all … writers. Mini Monthly Writers’ Retreat will nurture a love of words and our … creative spirits.”
Participants should be individuals 17 or older who are writing for pleasure or as professionals. They should bring something to write with and on; pen and paper are recommended; tablets, laptops and phones are discouraged.
For more information, contact Clare Martin at TCA 337-366-0629 or email@example.com
One person writing in Breaux Bridge these days is Yvette Landry. When she was hanging out with some friends’ kids a while back, one of them asked for a story. On the spot, Landry made up a tale about “an old oak tree deep in the swamp that turned disobedient little boys into stone and devoured them.”
Within three days, she’d written the story. She then hired an illustrator and located a publisher for The Ghost Tree. After that first children’s book, she wrote a second: Madame Grand Doigt. Both are now housed in the Special Collections of the Library of Congress.
Such quick and decisive work is probably second nature for someone with Landry’s self-confidence. She’s toured Russia as a cultural ambassador for the Library of Congress. She performed at the Kennedy Center in 2016. She’s played at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 14 years in a row. And she’s recently performed at SXSW with Marcia Ball.
In her youth, Landry never thought about a career in music. Then her friend told her about a weekly Cajun jam session held in the back of a local business. Landry was hooked. “Everyone was playing music and everyone was happy. It was people like me, my people … “
Four months later, Landry was playing bass in the shop with the Lafayette Rhythm Devils, who quickly asked her to join their ranks.
Having learned the bass, she went on to learn the guitar and the accordion.
After releasing two solo albums in 2010 and 2013, Landry ran into old school buddy and steel guitar player Richard Comeaux. She proposed the two record a duet album. Comeaux bought a 12-pack of beer and the two made the album in three hours with no overdubs; all in one take.
Ever since, the two have played together at Buck & Johnny’s Restaurant in Breaux Bridge weekly.
Landry was astonished when Swamp Pop legend Warren Storm, a former collaborator with Comeaux, walked into Buck & Johnny’s one night in 2017.
Landry invited Storm to dinner. The next day, she went directly to the University of Lafayette Press and asked if the house would publish a biography of Storm if she wrote one. To her surprise, the immediate answer was yes.
Now Landry and Storm are recording an album of Storm’s songs at Dockside Studio in Maurice. Marc Broussard, Sonny Landreth and others are part of the band. All proceeds will go to Storm, who now, at the age of 82, lives in a modest apartment in Lafayette. He still performs many weekends in Lake Charles.
Storm calls Landry “Wonder Woman.” Comeaux agrees. He says, “her soul has taken over, the confidence is there, she’s got it. If the door opens, she’s going through it.”
If you want to hear Landry and Comeaux play, go to Buck & Johnny’s (100 Berard St.) in Breaux Bridge on any Thursday evening, 7 to 10 pm.
I imagine that few if any of us knew that until recently, the roster of reserve deputies of Lafayette’s City Marshal Mike Hill included such luminaries as U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins and Shaquille O’Neal. That’s right. Shaquille O’Neal.
Hill has just trimmed his group of reserve deputies by nearly 50. One theory is that the many posts were awarded for political patronage by Hill’s predecessor, who has been the object of vigorous legal investigations in recent years.
Higgins actually beat Hill to the punch, coming by the office some time ago to turn in his card, badge and weapon. He’d first been deputized in March, 2016 (before Hill took office). But, “he didn’t do any work for us that I’m aware of,” Hill says.
The city marshal’s office retrieved the commission card of Shaquille O’Neal. It turns out O’Neal is big on working with law enforcement, and is currently a deputy in Brevard County, Fla. Why he would want to be a deputy in Lafayette, I don’t know, unless it’s due to the fact that the city is fairly close to where O’Neal starred at LSU. But one gets the feeling that O’Neal isn’t exactly hanging around the Lafayette deputies office these days.
One thing we know — the star will have to return his weapon in person. The ATF insists on hand-to-hand transfers of weapons. Shaq plans to make the return sometime this summer.
It’s interesting to note that, according to a story in Lafayette’s The Current, Higgins and O’Neal were the only two of these 50 released deputies who were ever issued weapons.
Deputy marshals are typically used for special events, such as traffic and crowd control. Hill reckons that of all the deputies he had before he made the cuts, only five were actually doing those things.