[JAZZ] One of the many devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina has undoubtedly been the catastrophic loss of much of New Orleans' cultural history, victim to flood-waters wiped out relics, buildings, homes, artifacts and haunts central to jazz and R&B's birth (including the precious holdings of the New Orleans Jazz Museum). Like the 2004 tsunami, the urgency of the crisis will pass-electricity, telephones and potable water will become accessible, levees will be mended, lawlessness and corruption will leave the streets and return to the centers of power where it's always lived-but a deep, abiding scar will remain for the dispossessed, the some 134,000 people who lacked the income or mobility to leave the city, including one of the city's greatest natural resources, the musicians. Sure, New Orleans is a city where even solemn affairs like funerals end with a whooping party, but it will take time and toil to get to that point.
Stepping up to make sure that the Big Easy might again laissez les bons temps rouler, the Portland Jazz Festival, in cahoots with the folks at VH1, Portland Oregon Visitors Association, Azumano Travel (who organized the "Flight for Freedom" to NYC after 9/11) and Mercy Corps, put out an open-armed invitation to displaced musicians, offering them a temporary home in Portland. So far, two musicians (saxophonist Devin Phillips and guitarist Jesse Young) and one band (the brass-funk group Bonerama) have responded, becoming the latest, if temporary, additions to Portland's music community.
Nothing is more emblematic of the indomitable strength of 'Nawlins than its brass bands, and what could sandbag the blues and buoy the spirits faster than an all-out, funkified 'Nawlinz trombone party? A party at Portland's Blue Monk with the Crescent City's Bonerama; a horn-powered, sousaphonic septet known for their work with everyone from Fred Wesley and Harry Connick, Jr. to New Orleans drum legend Russell Baptiste and Galactic's Stanton Moore. Known for their tawdry swagger and a four-trombone frontline, these bone-happy heroes play a rollicking mixture of full-barrel, second-line rhythms, original oompah funk, balls-out covers of the Allmans and a wah-wah-pedal-meets-trombone version of Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic," among other gems. Loud, proud and hip-shaking stuff.
Bonerama performs a benefit concert at the Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont St., 595-0575. 9 pm. 21+. $20 (sliding scale). Proceeds will go the Tipitina Foundation's musician's fund.