Mardi Gras music legend Professor Longhair is not only an artist you should know, but now you’ll have a smart fact to tell your friends before you go forth in search of beads and booze!
There’s a little, teeny tiny celebration today called Mardi Gras — while everyone will be partying it up to DJ hits and mainstream rap chart-toppers, we’re making our Theme Song of the Week a little more traditional.
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, watched anything set during the times of prohibition, or visited Disneyland after the release of the film The Princess and the Frog, then you may or may not know about the trademark and traditional musical styles that have come from this area of our nation. Jazz, blues, and big band influences meld seamlessly in a style of music that lets you treat your ears to a good time. And none other was legendary at this genre than a jazz pianist who went by the name of Professor Longhair.
I can’t tell if I want to eat some Creole crawfish, start dancing, toss around Mardi Gras beads, or all the above; so take a listen to this track, “Big Chief” and instantly turn your week into a celebration. While Professor Longhair was never a mainstream artist back during his day, the influences of blues and jazzy piano is still a strong element of modern music today, especially with soul-inspired artists like Chet Faker (a play on the name of the famous ’50s jazz singer and trumpet player, Chet Baker), and Lily Allen, who sampled this very tune on her debut album Alright, Still.
I could use about two decades to dive into the rich culture that comes from this genre of music, but I’ll spare you the history lesson and instead let you enjoy this track. Start your Fat Tuesday off right!