Date: Saturday, December 11, 2010
Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Building: Woldenberg Art Center, Freeman Auditorium
Location: uptown campus
The Louis Prima Centennial Colloquium is a day-long celebration of the legacy of jazz artist and entertainer Louis Prima, featuring presentations by Dan Morgenstern, Will Friedwald, Marcello Piras, Elijah Wald, and Jack Stewart. The colloquium is made possible with the support of the Jay Pritzker Foundation, the New Orleans/Gulf South Center at Tulane, OffBeat, and French Quarter festivals. Inc.
9:00 am Opening remarks, Bruce Raeburn, Curator, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University
9:30 am Dan Morgenstern, "Louis Prima and Pee Wee Russell: A Great Unsung Partnership" "Louis and Pee Wee" will trace the productive and happy musical partnership of Messrs. Prima and Russell (1934-36), via records, the short film "Swing It" (a surprise in the cast), and some personal grace notes.
10:30 15 minute coffee break
10:45 am Will Friedwald, “Deconstructing Louis : The Life, the Legend, the Lasagna” Friedwald will discuss Prima’s influence as an iconic popular singer and entertainer and his role as America’s first “overtly ethnic celebrity.”
11:45 am-1:30 pm Lunch
1:30-2:30 pm Marcello Piras, “Prima di Prima (Before Prima): Some Historical Background” Piras will address the historical background of Prima and other musicians, born either in Sicily or from Sicilian parents, who came to New Orleans and could merge with the burgeoning jazz scene in a seemingly effortless way. Such historical fact has been cited as proof of the early contribution of white musicians to jazz, perhaps assuming that “white” be an effective descriptive tag for any European, in either cultural or ethnic terms, with the assumption that there were “pure” blacks and “pure” whites who then “merged” in the USA being instrumental to the USA-as-melting-pot myth. Reality is much more complex.
2:45-3:45 pm Jack Stewart, “Louis Prima: Something Old, Something New, and Something Unexpected” Throughout his career Louis Prima's music was constantly evolving while retaining a surprisingly large number of the basic New Orleans elements that he and many others started with. Many of these early influences in their near-original form were re-introduced into the mix by Prima. The relatively recent availability of a considerable amount of material from Louis' long and varied career, has put his life in a new perspective which has caused a re-appreciation by many formerly reluctant New Orleanians.
4:00-5:00 pm Elijah Wald, “Louis Prima and the Timelessness of Jumping, Jiving, and Wailing” Music historians have a tendency to get hung up on eras and genres, and thus generally describe the shift from swing to rock ‘n’ roll as a revolution or a disaster, depending on their preferences. Louis Prima’s career proves how flawed that description can be, since he was rocking in the 1930s and swinging in the 1960s. Though his success was exceptional, many musicians and entertainers attempted to follow a similar trajectory, and their longevity challenges common assumptions about both jazz and rock. Prima is often compared to Louis Armstrong, but as an entertainer he also shares kinship with artists as disparate as Cab Calloway, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Durante, and Connie Francis.
Sponsored by: Howard-Tilton Memorial Library as well as New Orleans/Gulf South Center, OffBeat, French Quarter Festivals, Inc.
Attendance: Open to the public
Open to: Visitors
Tickets: Not required
Please RSVP via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 504-865-5688
For more information contact Bruce Raeburn via email to email@example.com or by phone at 504-865-5688
Calendar of Events, Tulane University 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org