Tag Archives: New Orleans is the One I Love

Remembering Harry Ravain, Drummer (1948 – 2009)

Tonight I saw a music video that plays annually on a local news broadcast in New Orleans this time of year, and it brought back to memory a departed musician from my past.

The late Harry Ravain was a “musician’s musician.” A veteran drummer with a great enthusiasm for his craft and for other musicians, Harry was to music what actor Kevin Bacon was to the movies – he had a connection to most every musician who ever passed through the Crescent City, and was respected and beloved by them all.

For the last dozen or so years of his life, Harry played with Benny Grunch and the Bunch, a legendary New Orleans band known for their colloquial tunes that pay tribute to nuances of life in the Crescent City. In 2006 I started on a quest to realize a lifetime dream and finally record a music CD (one of my “bucket list” items) with talented musicians who could bring a few of my songs (and a few interpretations of others) to life. A mutual musician friend referred me to Harry.

In 2006 and again in 2007 Harry laid down the drum tracks for the CD, perhaps his last recorded work. Later that year, Harry was diagnosed with cancer that ultimately claimed his life in 2009. It is my regret that I didn’t complete the project until after his death, but I was gratified that I had the opportunity to work with him and capture his work for others to enjoy. Harry’s energy and enthusiasm for music and the recording process made the experience pure joy.

If you’d like to hear Harry’s work, here’s a free .mp3 download of one of the tracks entitled “City Soldier,” a tribute to the street performers that make New Orleans a unique and wonderful place to stroll on a sunny afternoon.

Here’s Harry (in red shirt and black vest) in “Ain’t Dere No More,” a video from Benny Grunch & the Bunch:

Happy Birthday Pete Fountain: “Every Note Has a Smile”

Jazz clarinet legend Pete Fountain celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday. Pete had over 50 appearances on the Tonight Show, and was a favorite of legendary host Johnny Carson. He has recorded about 100 albums. He lost many of the artifacts documenting his accomplishments in Hurricane Katrina, but he continues to perform.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pete in 2008 for Where Y’at magazine in New Orleans. The photo here is of Pete and I from the interview, along with Pete’s son-in-law/manager Benny Harrell.
Link to the article “Every Note Has a Smile”

When Ms. Romy Kaye and I recorded our album New Orleans is the One I Love, Pete’s protegé Tim Laughlin recorded several tracks using a custom-made clarinet given to him as a gift by Pete, and it sounds extraordinary. “There’s no better clarinet player in the country now,” said Pete of Laughlin.

Thanks to Tim for lending his considerable talents to our recording project, and best 80th birthday wishes to Pete Fountain (and many more!)

Link to preview the album New Orleans is the One I Love

New Orleans is the One I Love Music Video

If you’ll excuse a little self-promotion today, the music video that I recorded with the talented Ms. Romy Kaye reached 11,000 hits at YouTube this week. Thanks for the support and kind remarks on the song. Complete album preview at CDBaby, iTunes, or Amazon.com

New Orleans is the One I Love by SONOMA

New Orleans is the One I Love by SONOMA CD Cover
I’ve been working on an album on and off for over 3 years and it’s finally complete. Includes 6 of my original tunes and 6 jazz standards, with the vocals of Ms. Romy Kaye. Also includes performances by these great New Orleans musicians:

Tony Dagradi (saxophone)
Tim Laughlin (clarinet)
(The late) Harry Ravain (drums)
Al Arthur (bass)
Jim Markway (bass on 2 tracks)

CD page link