"Big City"

by Bob Putignano

"Mardi Gras Around The World Part 3"

The Pacific Northwest DeltaMusicExperience.com

As if it wasn't enough to have the honor to celebrate Mardi Gras in three countries (Italy, Switzerland, and the USA), five days after landing back from Italy I was off to Portland Oregon for the Delta Music Experience riverboat cruise along the Columbia River which is the brainchild of Amanda Gresham. The theme of the weekend was appropriately titled; "NOLA Northwest Mardi Gras On The Columbia River" and featured; Charmaine and Charles Neville, Chubby Carrier and Bayou Swamp Band, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Orleans Ave, Doyle Bramhall, Ann Rabson, Eden Brent, Michael "Hawkeye" Herman, Dick Waterman, Paul Delay, and Lady A.

Words cannot describe what a wonderful 3 nights of music which was delivered by all the performers, plus the enthusiastic crowd, the gorgeous backdrop of the Columbia River and its surroundings, the top shelf staff of the Queen of the West Riverboat crew, and the outstanding cuisine on board. This entire weekend was first class from every aspect!

Highlights included band performances by Chubby Carrier's band whose mantra was "There ain't no party like a Chubby party, as a Chubby Party just won't stop!" And their 2 performances were exactly like that; non stop, balls to wall, full tilt boogie zydeco. Additionally,Troy Andrews Orleans Ave. band is one of the most exciting bands I have seen in a quite some time, and each member is under the age of 21! The chops and interplay of these young musicians is mind blowing, as each member has the command of their instrument not unlike artists who are at least double to triple their young age. Andrews was especially a delight as he showed his prowess on trombone, trumpet, keyboards, drums, and vocals! Watching them perform was like getting a glimpse of the future- and their future looks bright. Look for this band to be a major player in the not too distant future.

What also made this musical weekend special was the jams that took place in the 2 performance rooms throughout the weekend. Charmaine Neville was especially dynamic as she took command (with her daddy Charles on sax) of the Troy Andrews and Orleans Ave band, the results of which were nothing short of spectacular. Charmaine is one heck of band leader and directed the band with her percussion bell with impeccable timing- that the band locked on to with Rolex like precision.

Every musician on board took turns sitting in with everyone's bands, and each night ended with some very serious high level jam sessions.

Fortunately more Delta Music Experience riverboat cruises are being planned, and best wishes and congratulations to Amanda, Barbara Hammerman and the entire DME crew for this very special event, and here is to many more years of partying on the great rivers of North America. For more info about upcoming DME events keep checking; deltamusicexperience.com If this current experience and weekend is any indication, you will not be disappointed in their future plans- no way!

Bob Putignano www.SoundsofBlue.com

Bob Putignano
Radio Host WFDU's "Sounds of Blue"
President of the NY Blues and Jazz Society