Monday, June 11, 2007:

Roots Canal: Luther Kent

Luther Kent & Trick Bag - Just a Little Bit
Talo first introduced me to Luther Kent, who I wrote about in one of my earliest posts. In fact, Talo introduced me to New Orleans music. And New Orleans food. And New Orleans culture. And New Orleans itself. Talo grew up in Slidell, just across Lake Pontchartrain from the Big Easy. He was a friend of Lisa's from college, and later our tenant (until we took over our entire brownstone for our growing family and had to evict him -- but found him a similar situation with good friends around the corner). He always was an iconoclast, if not an eccentric. In school, he rode to class on a unicycle. Now he ties flies. Writes and draws travel journals from his trips to Scotland, New Zealand, Alaska. Smokes Cuban cigars and drinks single malt Scotch. But what would you expect from a five-foot-tall Japanese guy from Louisiana? He used to bring us New Orleans memorabilia after his trips home. One year, he brought us live crawfish. After that, we airfreighted 40 or 50 pounds of the things to Brooklyn every year for a Mardi Gras blowout. (You have to look in their eyes to figure out whether they're dead or alive, we learned.) Later, he brought us down to New Orleans for our first Jazzfest trip. And joined us again last year for our second, which I wrote about here.

Talo had to quit his advertising job a few months ago because he was spending so much time back home with his father, who had cancer. Talo was in town for a few days last week and was supposed to join our barbecue on Friday night, but his sister called that afternoon to tell him his father'd taken a turn for the worse. Weakened by chemotheraphy and other complications, he died that evening. Before Talo flew back to his father's deathbed, he brought us a CD of Luther Kent at this year's Jazzfest. Charles Brent, the musical director of Kent's band, Trick Bag, who used to arrange the giant horn section that gave the band a sound as big as Kent's voice, also died recently and is remembered in this song, Just a Little Bit.

Requiescat In Pace.

[Jazzfest Live]
I'm sorry to hear about Talo's father. How is Talo holding up? Have you spoken to him since he left?

That's a rambunctious track, not at all what I'd expect for a remembrance based on my somber tiresome church upbringing.

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