Breaux Bridge native Sam Irwin and his traditional jazz band, the Florida Street Blowhards from Baton Rouge, will make their debut appearance at the Teche Center for the Arts in Breaux Bridge, November 17. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at techecenterforthearts.com.
Chanteuse Yvette Landry will share the stage with the Blowhards and sing “Loveless Love” and “I Wish I could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate.”
Irwin says there’s a lot of emphasis on Cajun music in the Bayou State, but jazz was also quite common in Acadiana.
“My band is exploring that ‘other’ Louisiana music, traditional jazz,” Irwin said.
“Breaux Bridge, Parks, New Iberia, Crowley, Opelousas were all centers of jazz in Acadiana. Yvette’s family members played in jazz band and there’s a famous picture of the Breaux Bridge Band floating around on social media,” Irwin said. “Bunk Johnson was in New Iberia. In Parks, musicians like Hypolite Charles, Hypolite Polite and Gabriel Ledet were playing jazz way back in the 1920s. Landry’s Orchestra headed by Bill Landry, Yvette’s great-uncle, was playing jazz. Jazz has a very strong tradition in St. Martin Parish.”
Irwin has assembled an unlikely mix of musicians in the Florida Street Blowhards. Pianist John Dupaquier, a New Orleans native, is 89-years-old.
“John has been teaching piano in Baton Rouge for 70 years,” Irwin said. “He’s played in many jazz bands including Buddy Boudreaux’s Band, The Last Straws and the Rampart Street Six. His solos are sublime.”
Irwin, a former music major at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette), is the author of Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean and It Happens In Louisiana: Peculiar Tales, Traditions and Recipes from the Bayou. He sang in the Baton Rouge Symphony Chorus for 30 years before picking up his trumpet again after a 20 year lay-off.
“I got a great foundation in trad jazz at the New Orleans Traditional Jazz Camp,” he said. “And I just practiced trad jazz more and more. I got my chops back in decent shape and started asking everyone I met if they were musicians and wanted to play trad jazz. Now I’ve got a jazz band.”
Irwin found David Seymour, a 32-year-old California transplant woodwind player, on social media.
“David’s a great improviser. He doubles on clarinet and soprano and tenor sax,” Irwin said. “His knowledge of the genre is unusual for someone so young but it just goes to show how far-reaching jazz is.”
Rounding out the band is Philip Vincent on bass and vocals and Zachary Farris-Bourque on drums. Both are in their young 30s.
“Philip is a professional musician who teaches piano and is a church musician in Gonzales, La. Zach loves to play drums no matter what style it is,” Irwin said. “Both guys are learning the finer points of trad jazz and are having a bunch of fun exploring this Louisiana musical heritage.”
The Florida Street Blowhards Set list includes Je Vous Aime, Milneberg Joys, I Found a New Baby, You Rascal You, and the irrepressible John Dupaquier singing Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gave To Me. The Blowhards also play St. James Infirmary, Arkansas Blues and Egyptian Ella.
“Come out and hear us play,” Irwin said. “It will be different. It will be fun.”
for bookings, call Sam Irwin at 225-620-8698 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FLORIDA ST BLOWHARDS ALSO DO WEDDING SECOND LINES!