Music in New Orleans is not like music anywhere else in the entire world. You might walk into a dive and find Aaron Neville’s daughter dropped by for a little fun with the house band. Everyone either plays music or wishes they could and the music has a groove that‘s like no other.
It was the birthplace of Jazz and later, Rock and Roll and not what most people think of either. That came later and wasn’t nearly as organic and fun.
Someone asked Fats Domino about it once in the early ‘50s and he said they’d been playing it in New Orleans for for 15 years.
He was a lot closer to the source than Elvis or Chuck Berry obviously but if you pull the curtain back and look past him, you’ll see Professor Longhair, aka Roy Bird.
And that guy was something else.
He learned to play on a piano that was missing some keys and developed a style that never really sold but that underpinned what became rock and roll.
When you listen to someone who has a real talent and does something utterly distinctive, it’s not hard to wonder what it must have been like for him to sit down at a piano and discover his genius. His excitement must have driven him for hours on end as he began to understand he was wildly gifted. We’re very lucky to be able to listen decades after his death.