May 24, 2022

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Why couldn’t Grammy resist John Baptiste

Why couldn't Grammy resist John Baptiste

Some of the music in “We Are” derives its acoustic aesthetics from the ’60s, but other parts recall the ’90s, that moment before 9/11 when Cape Mo became a Grammy favourite, and Starbucks albums completely epitomize the genres infiltrating paternalistic CD players everywhere. “Scream,” a song from Batiste’s album that won Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song, reminds us of that era.

It works now too. The first half of “Boy Hood,” a collaboration with Trombone Shorty and PJ Morton, re-adjusts the aesthetics of contemplating the simple joys of childhood in New Orleans.

Ultimately, Batiste’s music is all about feeling fulfilled as a teamwork. Often that means playing things that sound familiar and keeping them fun. In “Freedom,” a horn-driven funk song that won a Grammy for Best Music Video and was nominated for Record of the Year Song of the Year, Battisti looks like he stepped into the cast of an old protest song, creating a party anthem instead.

But there’s one more thing to understand before you can get a Batiste: It comes from a city where time and space are still somewhat crumbling, and where the tradition of black machines that faded 50 years ago continues in most other parts of the country. This tradition is based on gathering and dancing, and as a result it probably has a less complex relationship to the musical enjoyment of any style of living in this country – even though… increasingly desperate Circumstances Face those who live there.

Batiste’s vibe may seem ridiculous to someone outside of New Orleans, especially if you haven’t wandered down Frenchmen Street with a plastic cup in hand, or found your way to a brass band performance in Celebration hall On a weeknight, or catch the Caribbean funk of the Neville brothers on a spring afternoon at JazzFest. Listen to the recordings that Batiste’s peers are putting out in New Orleans these days – trombone shortsAnd the Morton BJ And the tank and bangasFor example, follow in the footsteps of Neville, Dr. John and Professor Longhair – and you will find the same strain of happy funk that makes you feel so happy. Challenge your digital brain full of sarcasm to get it back again. See if you can handle it.

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Battisti’s 11 nominations on Sunday — more than any artist — touched on categories under R&B, jazz, roots music, and film recording (for Currency on the Pixar movie “Soul”) and classical music. What that tells you is that supporting a young jazz musician these days means standing behind something broader than any one genre, even when it’s relatively traditional, proud to stand in Satchmo’s shadow.