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Presenting Blanche Thomas with Albert "Papa" French and his New Orleans Jazz Band
Winston is taking temporary leave from his regulatory duties to serve as a cultural watchdog by spotlighting a few magnificent but largely forgotten traditional jazz artists. The album Am I Blue brought vocalist Blanche Thomas together with Albert "Papa" French and other top New Orleans musicians.

As Down Beat magazine said of Blanche Thomas "she is exceptional." Ms. Thomas related a bit of her history by saying, "I grew up singing. I made my first public appearance at the Tick Tock, and just down the street was the Pelican where I was a waitress and where Stepin Fetchit shuffled his slow way, and Ray Charles came to sing his blue notes. Later I sang at the Club Bali with the Six Brown Cats. Then the jazz focus moved from Rampart Street to Bourbon Street after the war and I sang at the Mardi Gras Lounge, THE place to work. It was a good time for music in New Orleans; I was happy to be part of it."

Banjo player and band leader Albert French was joined on the album by trombonist Waldren "Frog" Joseph, clarinetist Joe "Cornbread" Thomas, drummer Louis Barbarin, bass player Frank Fields, and pianist Jeanette Kimball, who was described by Down Beat as having "chops as strong as tempered steel."

Listen to the title track of Am I Blue on YouTube.

Winston will continue to occasionally offer commentary on matters of cultural significance including the shameful diminution of arts education in public schools.

Click to listen to Am I Blue

Click to purchase Am I Blue at Nobility Studios

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