Last night was (another)one of those special evenings in New Orleans at the Ellis Marsalis Center Memorial Tribute to the beloved Bob French. After being scooped up by Mac and Wallace, we headed over to the center so Mac could go over the music with Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis along with George(on bass)and Gerald French(drums). These guys don't get together enough these days so what ensued was a mini session of catch up, and numerous stories from an animated Mac about his early days on the road with James Booker and many others, a history that most haven't heard I'm sure. As I sat there quietly just takin it all in, Mac would be spewing out stories about who was in the band at different times on the road back in the day, and I can remember Gerald askin, “wait, all those cats on stage at once with you Mac??....damn.....” damn is right......;-) After a bit the show started of course with Harry, Branford, George and Gerald playin a memorable version of “Just a Closer Walk” followed by some words from good friend and event organizer Ann Marie Wilkens ending in a particularly funny story about the time Bob French was able to play at the White House for President Obama which lightened up the room quite nicely. Mac then joined the band onstage for a stirring version of “Mama and Papa”. With a couple other stops to make that evening we took off afterwards but with that kind of start I am sure the rest of the evening was truly amazing especially knowing who was in the “house” and I look forward to hearing about it. And special thanks to my friend Fred Goodrich for the personal invite and to Ann Marie for putting on this special and much deserved tribute, as I am certain there were big smiles in heaven last night.
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