While we made sure to stir up a good musical gumbo of your New Orleans Mardi Gras and Brazilian Carnaval favorites this morning on 89.1 Jazz, it was our pleasure to premiere Smokey Mary by Harry Connick, Jr. Smokey Mary refers to the signature train float in the Orpheus Parade. Twenty years ago Harry founded The Krewe of Orpheus, a racially integrated krewe, which was a radically new development in the New Orleans social clubs for 1993. Now their parade is one the most popular and celebrated in the Crescent City.
Smokey Mary is the funky side of Harry Connick, Jr. You may prefer his crooning or big band swing sessions, but we think you’ll like this more electric and energetic sound from Mr. Connick as well. A solid sextet of musicians provides the foundation for the guest musicians: bassist Tony Hall, drummer Raymond Weber, guitarist Jonathan Dubose, Jr., trombonist Mark Mullins, trumpeter Mark Braud and saxophonist Jason Mingledorf. A who’s who of Big Easy stars supplement Connick and friends: Branford Marsalis, Bill Summers, Bobby Campo, Lucien Barbarin, George Porter, Jr. and Sonny Landreth.
The opener and title track is a blues and boogie romp in honor of the float. Hurricane is an unabashed nod to The Meters. Cuddina Done It draws from the mystic side of Dr. John. Dang You Pretty is a highly percussive yet sensual work-out. The disc closes with City Beneath the Sea, a Connick love song to his home town. Mardi Gras is only one day out of the year, but Smokey Mary will be on the WEMU playlist for a good long while