Echos of New Orleans

I wanted to post this video back a while back and found it in my files. It is a trumpet section practicing in a neighborhood near Frenchman’s Street in New Orleans around jazz fest this past April. Unlike most of the world, I often like hearing musicians practice more than the actual performance. You can learn a lot just from how they go about breaking down the music and get a real sense of the amount of work it takes to play well. I do not know what this tune is but I was walking and heard this trumpet section practicing. A guy came up to me and started trying to bum some money off of me. I asked him to just give me a few minutes to listen to the horns. He explained to me that they were running the scales and that you get a better sound if you tighten your lips. We converse for a bit and I spotted him a few Washington’s for keeping the block safe.

The scale they were playing is what sometimes is called the diatonic bebop scale. I remember hearing that David Baker coined the term but it does not really matter, as I call it the New Orleans scale.

What I love about it is the tension of the I to VII to flat VII. How about the “Welcome to America” scale.