Sunday, March 24
at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse
to benefit HAGAR'S HOUSE
MS. GERMAINE BAZZLE
One of the true legends of New Orleans jazz, Germaine Potter Bazzle has been under-recognized nationally and internationally through her entire career. On par with R&B queen Irma Thomas, her voice in jazz is as distinctive as any, with a sweet soul to match. Her exploits singing in the Seventh Ward are unmatched, but she has been known primarily as a teacher. Influenced by the greats like Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Eckstein, she took on a repertoire of classic jazz, American popular songs, show tunes, and the music of Duke Ellington. Sounds of the church were never far behind, and she sang regularly on Sundays with the Saint Louis Catholic Choir. A graduate of Xavier University, Bazzle chose to stay at home, instructing mostly young girls in choir and music appreciation at Xavier Prep. Her limited discography has her included on the compilation New New Orleans Music: Vocal Jazz and her live document, Standing Ovation. In 2007 she was part of the faculty at the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camp, along with other Crescent City music icons, in particular Edward "Kidd" Jordan."
MR. PAUL LONGSTRETH
Paul Longstreth's musical background began in church, where his father was a Methodist minister and orchestral director and his mother was an active participant in Church music, education, and ministry programs. While he received piano lessons from their choir director and was encouraged to sing in the choirs at church and at school, it was not until he got to New Orleans in 1989 that the idea of making music a career became a possibility.
After hearing Mr. Ellis Marsalis in concert at Tulane University he promptly dropped out. To his parents chagrin, he left a hefty scholarship from a reputable university to pursue a career in piano performance! Unsuccessfully, he auditioned twice for the Jazz Studies program at the University of New Orleans. But being stubborn, and persistent, and completely ignorant of how little he actually understood, he eventually gained admittance.
After four years studying with Mr. Marsalis, he graduated and began searching for work. Proving again that he is the luckiest kid on the planet, he was able to build a reputation as a solid sideman and accompanist in the mecca of traditional jazz, New Orleans. He is still amazed to list performances with Lenny Kravitz, Rufus Reid, Nicholas Payton, The Leroy Jones Quintet, Charles Neville, Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Irvin Mayfield, Charmaine Neville, The Harry Connick Orchestra, Sista Teedy’s Bootleg Operation, Jeremy Davenport, Lucien Barbarin, Crönk, UMAMI, The New Birth Brass Band, John Boutte, and A Kind of Lovechild.
Today, he leads bands, writes songs, teaches piano improvisation, and continues to practice, practice, practice! It is an honor to perform music for a living. And it is his desire not just to entertain audiences, but to engage, educate, and enlighten both himself and all willing listeners.
Since opening in 2007, over 125 women and children have found sanctuary, rest, and a home at Hagar's House.
Hagar's House began two years after Katrina, during a time when there were 12,000 people living in New Orleans without homes, and hundreds were living in a tent city in front of City Hall. Knowing this reality, a local homeless organization approached First Grace United Methodist Church- our founding support community- and asked the church to temporarily house people. Despite the fact that First Grace had not repainted its walls, fixed its floor, or purchased pews since the hurricane, the church council unanimously said “of course” when four young AmeriCorps volunteers from Mississippi and Louisiana (who lived inside the church) proposed opening a women’s shelter in the building. Two weeks later, the volunteer area of the church became Hagar’s House, a home for women. We promised that while opening our doors and our lives to provide housing, we would do this while struggling to address the core issues behind why women and children were, and are still, without housing.
Now, almost seven years later, we have fully rebuilt a new home, transitioned from an overnight emergency shelter to a 24/7 residential community, expanded our program to include both women and children, and implemented holistic health, social justice and resident savings programs. Hagar's House is now a community of fun, smart, and creative women and children who are working with and for each other to transition into permanent housing.
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