Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue playing at the Sherbino Sunday evening…

We met Gal and the Revue in New Orleans at the 2006 Jazz Fest.  We liked them so much we had them come out to play for our wedding party the summer of 07… What a fine band and a bunch of nice people…  If you weren’t at our fiesta at the Western Hotel that summer or know nothing about Gal and the Revue come on out to the Sherbino this coming Sunday … you won’t be disappointed, they’re a great dance band and Gal has a really fine voice…

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Sunday, June 24th. Doors and bar at 6:30 pm, Music at 7:00 pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the door..

The Sherbino is excited to welcome back, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, for a night of wonderful live music promoting their new album release, “Lost and Found”.

Buy Advance Tickets HERE!

Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue were at the vanguard of New Orleans’ now-thriving country scene when they formed over a decade ago, and they’ve remained in a league of their own ever since. Combining evocative songwriting, impeccable musicianship, and a twinge of punk sensibility to boot, their infectious Western swing energy has earned them their place in the upper echelon of local favorites and helped grow an avid fan-base of two-steppers around the world.

“The Gal” is Vanessa Niemann, an Appalachian-born songstress who has lent her powerful voice and magnetic stage presence to various musical projects in New Orleans and around the country. Upright bassist/musical director David Brouillette, who hails from small-town Louisiana, co-leads the band and provides the backbone for their hard-swinging rhythm. Over the years, they’ve counted among their ranks some of the finest musicians in the region. Their current roster boasts guitarists Gregory Good and Izzy Zaidman along with drummer Rose Cangelosi.

Last year alone found them touring out to Colorado, up the East Coast and into Detroit plus their monthly trips out to Texas for a residency at The White Horse in Austin. This vigorous touring schedule, however, doesn’t prevent the Honky Tonk Revue from remaining 100% native to their hometown. You can find them raising a ruckus at local dance halls, festivals, and watering holes any day of the week. They know the ins and outs of the country canon and can even get folks swinging to an unexpected pop cover or two. Above all, vivid songwriting is one of the group’s great strengths. Their rollicking foot-stompers and poignant Crescent City tributes alike crackle with an authentic country spirit.

Armed with this kind of versatility and an ever-growing body of original material, they put on a show that never gets old and delights rowdy dancers and buttoned-down diners alike. New Orleans may be most closely associated with jazz and brass, but Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue prove that the city celebrates its musical diversity with enthusiasm.

Listen to Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue here!

Posted in Music

Ry Cooder’s Elegant Indignation ~ an old New Yorker piece from 2011.

I can’t write briefly about Ry Cooder, the virtuoso guitarist who has a new record, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down.” Admiration for his accomplishments, his singularity, and the longevity and diversity of his career intervene. For more than forty years, since Cooder released his first record, “Ry Cooder,” in 1970, he has been a musician other musicians have followed closely, and no popular musician has a broader or deeper catalog. He has played songs so simple that they are hardly songs, and songs so complex that they would tax, if not overwhelm, the capacities of most lauded guitarists. He had quit making rock ‘n’ roll records sixteen years before Rolling Stone, in 2003, named him the 8th greatest guitarist on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time (three of the seven ahead of him are dead guys). Even so, his influence has been felt more than his records have been heard, with perhaps one exception: the group of elderly Cuban musicians whom he assembled and recorded in 1997 and called the Buena Vista Social Club.

Cooder’s guitar playing is expressive, elegant, and rhythmically intricate. It frequently has a pressured attack that he has described as having the feel of “some kind of steam device gone out of control.” His sense of phrasing was partly imprinted in his childhood by a record of brass music made by a group of African-American men who found instruments in a field left by Civil War soldiers during a retreat, and played them according to their own inclinations. If you wonder what his sensibility sounds like when applied to rock ‘n’ roll—one version of it anyway—the most widely known example I can think of comes from the period when Cooder had been hired to augment the Rolling Stones during the recording of “Let It Bleed.” He was playing by himself in the studio, goofing around with some changes, when Mick Jagger danced over and said, How do you do that? You tune the E string down to D, place your fingers there, and pull them off quickly, that’s very good. Keith, perhaps you should see this. And before long, the Rolling Stones were collecting royalties for “Honky Tonk Women,” which sounds precisely like a Ry Cooder song and absolutely nothing like any other song ever produced by the Rolling Stones in more than forty years. According to Richards in his recent autobiography, Cooder showed him the open G tuning which became his mainstay and accounts for the full-bodied chordal declarations that characterize songs such as “Gimme Shelter,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Start Me Up,” and “Brown Sugar.” The most succinct way I can think of to describe the latticed style that Keith Richards says he has sought to achieve with Ron Wood is to say that for thirty-five years the Stones have been trying to do with four hands what Cooder can do with two.

Cooder might have been heard more widely except that he doesn’t like to perform. He doesn’t care for being watched so closely or having to entertain. “I couldn’t go out there anymore and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, and especially you ladies,’” he says. The people who like the applause should have it, he feels, but he says he doesn’t care for it. After performing, he used to feel like a withered balloon under a chair on the day after a child’s birthday party. He grew up in recording studios and is more at home there, privately trying to capture something ephemeral and elusive—“the big note,” a friend of his has said, the one that makes all the other concerns fall away. In the last few years, he has toured briefly in Europe and Japan and Australia, with his son, Joachim, playing drums and Nick Lowe playing bass—but not in North America.

For most of Cooder’s career he arranged songs from other writers and various historical sources ranging from Depression era songs, to Bix Beiderbecke’s repertoire, to folk and drifter and cowboy songs, miner’s songs, work songs, surf songs, jukebox songs, calypsos, roadhouse and dance hall songs, protest songs, and songs from the registry of rhythm and blues—but in 2003 he began recording albums of his own material. (My own introductory list of highlights from Cooder’s earlier period: “Great Dreams from Heaven,” “How Can you Keep on Movin’,” “Get Rhythm,” which has a fantastic video, “In a Mist,” “Ditty Wah Ditty,” “Smack Dab in the Middle,” “Tattler,” “France Chance,” “Little Sister,” “Dark at the End of the Street,” “Maria Elena,” “I Think It’s Going to Work Out Fine,” “The Very Thing That Makes You Rich,” and I’ll stop, but I could keep going happily.) The recent records formed a kind of Los Angeles trilogy. The first, “Chavez Ravine.” was inspired by black-and-white photographs of the hill town community inhabited by Mexicans and destroyed to build Dodgers Stadium. The second, “My Name is Buddy,” concerned a red cat named Buddy and his adventures during the most virulent period of anti-workingman and anti-communist feeling. One of the songs he sings is “Red Cat Till I Die.” The third record, “I, Flathead,” is a desert narrative about salt-flat drag racers and an alien racer entangled in a complicated moral dilemma.

What “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down” shares with them is an indignation over the economic and ethical disparities of American life and the destructive and scoundrely meanness of the privileges given to the rich. “No Banker Left Behind,” ridicules the considerations extended to the prosperous men and women who grabbed everything not nailed down during the last few years. The norteño “El Corrido de Jesse James,” a lampoon of the notion of honor among thieves, has Jesse James, sitting around in heaven, wishing to have his forty-four returned in order to persuade the bankers to “put that bonus money back where it belongs.” In the sleek country rocker “Quicksand,” a Mexican man describes a border crossing during which the guide for his group leaves in the middle of the night, and the man who takes over dies the next day in the sun. “Then a Dodge Ram truck drove down on us / Said I’m your Arizona vigilante man / I’m here to say, You ain’t welcome in Yuma / I’m takin’ you out as hard as I can.”

“Dirty Chateau” is an exchange between a man with a big house and inconsiderate habits and his maid whose people were farm workers. In the reggae shaded “Humpty Dumpty World,” God deplores the insubstantiality of his creation, with its rabble-rousing politicians and craven television commentators. “I thought I had built upon a solid rock / but it’s just a Humpty Dumpty World,” he sings.

“Baby Joined the Army” is a haunting, mesmeric lament by a young man whose simple girlfriend signs up to become a solider. She’s tired of her town and was lured by the assurance that “If I get killed in battle, I still get paid.”

In the trancy moan, “Lord Tell Me Why” a baffled, older working man wonders why, “A white man ain’t worth nothing in this world no more.” And “John Lee Hooker for President” is a hallucinated description by John Lee Hooker of his Presidency, where all the Supreme Court Justices are “fine looking women,” and mealy-mouthed corruption is not tolerated. “I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democratic / Under John Lee Hooker everything’s going to be copastatic”

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Queen of Soul Irma Thomas Becomes A Doctor at Tulane

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Irma Thomas is known to R&B fans all over the world, but she’s most beloved in her hometown of New Orleans. Everyone in New Orleans calls her Irma. And everyone knows her songs, like “It’s Raining.” Irma sang the 1962 R&B classic at Tulane University’s 2018 commencement ceremony earlier this month — the same ceremony where she received an honorary degree from the school.

“Well, why not? I’m there,” she says. “Few extra minutes won’t hurt anything. I mean, it [will] bring some more joy to some more people, why not?”

Irma is well known for giving her fans what they want. The 77-year-old has been recording and performing for over half a century and she always sings requests. One song she always dedicates to her fans is “Forever Young.”

“I have fans who’ve been fans of mine for the better part of my career, and they have brainwashed their children with my music that they have become fans,” she says. “So when I sing ‘Forever Young,’ I’m thinking about these people [that] have been with me all these years with this youthfulness about them. And it always makes we well up when I sing it.”

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the power of music & summer

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Fabio Consoli

People who spend time with young children know firsthand the power of music.

It’s easy entertainment.

About ‘How To Raise A Human’

Does raising kids have to be stressful? Is it really dangerous for babies to sleep with Mom? Do chores have to be a fight? Over the next month, NPR travels around the world for ideas to make parenting easier. Sign up for NPR Health’s newsletter to get the stories delivered to your inbox.

And any teacher who works in early childhood will tell you that singing can yield amazing results. “If we didn’t sing the cleanup song, I don’t think anything would have gotten cleaned up,” says Laura Cirelli, who worked as an assistant at a day care center in the late 2000s.

But there may be other ways — surprising ways — in which music plays a role in raising a human.

That’s a question that Cirelli is pursuing in her postdoctoral research in early childhood development at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.

“I find babies are so impressive. We can’t really ask them what they’re thinking. We have to come up with clever ways of figuring out what’s going on in their little brains,” she says.

One thing Cirelli is curious about: What makes young children behave in a pro-social way — taking actions that help others and benefit the group?

She invited a bunch of parents to bring their toddlers into her lab.

“We were specifically testing 14-month-old babies,” she says. “So they’re walking, not yet talking.”

These 14-month-olds said bye-bye to Mommy and Daddy and were then strapped into front-facing baby carriers worn by assistants in the study. The researchers turned on some music. Usually it was “Twist and Shout.”

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Review: Ry Cooder’s ‘The Prodigal Son’ Is a Politicized Roots Refurbishing ~ RollingStone

The veteran guitar virtuoso offers an innovative take on traditional music with a contemporary lefty energy

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Guitar virtuoso Ry Cooder has spent the majority of his 50-year career as one of the country’s most vital communal historians and champions of roots music, illuminating and reanimating everything from bolero to bluegrass. Over the past decade or so, Cooder has also emerged out of his group of Sixties and Seventies contemporaries as one of folk music’s preeminent polemicists, channeling Occupy Wall Street angst on 2011’s recession-era lament Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down and, more recently, lambasting the GOP on 2012’s Election Special.

On The Prodigal Son, however, Cooder returns to his foundation as vital roots music re-furbisher, spending the majority of the album dismantling and reassembling a series of 20th-century gospel, blues, folk and bluegrass traditionals. The never-predictable results range from rousing (see Cooder’s partially rewritten title track) to revelatory (“Straight Street,” “Harbor of Love”).

And although there are no condemnation as literal as 2012’s “Mutt Romney Blues” to be found this time around, Cooder is far from apolitical. In his mere three originals, the singer-songwriter-arranger, fueled by a mix of offbeat humor and righteous crankiness, crams references to climate change, third-world sweatshops, gentrification and fascists – the latter, most pointedly, on his six-minute epic “Jesus and Woody.”

The Prodigal Son, Cooder’s first album in six years, serves both as an urgent commentary on our current dystopia and a satisfying window into the interpretive process of a musical mastermind.

Kennedy Center’s Artes De Cuba Festival, An Unprecedented Cultural Bridge Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email May 11, 2018

At 87 years young, the legendary Cuban Diva of the Buena Vista Social Club, Omara Portuondo, brought gasps of delight, then rapturous applause, just by walking out on the stage in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night. She graciously acknowledged the love in the room then continued with her rendition of beloved classic “Veinte Años,” backed by just a pianist.

She was part of a spectacular concert that was the kick-off celebration for an unprecedented display of Cuban multi-disciplinary arts and culture currently underway at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts called Artes de Cuba: From the Island to the World.

The first of its kind in the U.S., more than 400 Cuban and Cuban-American artists will be participating in an extraordinary showcase of music, dance, fashion, theatre, film, visual arts and more, from May 8 – 20.

Kennedy Center staff began coordinating the event three years ago during President Obama’s historic overtures to the Cuban government and people. But with the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama’s Cuba policy, they faced travel restrictions and a sharply reduced staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. With 200 visas yet to process, they were determined not to let politics get in the way, and routed the artists through Mexico.

Opening night was a celebration in which art trumped politics and was dotted with references to the longstanding musical relationship between the U.S. and Cuba.

Charles Neville Of The Neville Brothers Dies At 79 on the eve of the 49th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival ~ NPR

Charles Neville, performing in southeastern France in 2009. The famed New Orleans musician died April 27, 2018 at the age of 79.

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Charles Neville, saxophonist of New Orleans giants The Neville Brothers, died Thursday in Huntington, Mass. at the age of 79, a representative confirmed to NPR Music. The cause was pancreatic cancer. The news was first reported by The Advocate.

Charles Neville was the second-oldest of four brothers, all of whom would go on to form that legendary, eponymous and definitional Crescent City band.

Neville plied his saxophone chops as a member of the renowned Dew Drop Inn’s house band, supporting legendary musicians like Allen Toussaint, James Booker, Huey “Piano” Smith and Ernie K. Doe. Simultaneously, the Neville brothers cut their teeth playing in various R&B and blues bands in the 1950s and ’60s like The Meters, as well as the proto-Neville Brothers group Neville Sounds.

After a stint in the Navy, Neville relocated to New York, immersing himself in the incomparable ’70s jazz scene there, but returned to New Orleans before the end of the decade to play with all three of his brothers.

The 1976 album The Wild Tchoupitoulas, which Neville helped arrange and featured contributions from all of his brothers, captured the sound of the Mardi Gras Indians tradition. It was recorded with the Neville’s uncle Big Chief Jolly, and served as an incubator for The Neville Brothers‘ band, which officially formed the following year.

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Charles Neville, smiling saxophonist of the Neville Brothers, dies at 79

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Charles Neville, of the Neville Brothers band, died on Thursday (April 26) in Massachusetts. He was 79 years old. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

His brother, Aaron Neville, posted on Twitter on Thursday: “You were a great brother. You’ll always be in my heart and soul, like a tattoo.”

Mr. Neville was the smiling, serene saxophonist with the icicle mustache, swaying in the center of the city’s favorite funk band that included his brothers Art, Cyril and Aaron. His serpentine style lent a lush, mysterious quality to hits such as “Yellow Moon.” The Neville Brother’s instrumental song “Healing Chant,” which features Mr. Neville’s sax over a gentle background rhythm, won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance in 1989.

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Charles Neville onstage during a performance with the Neville Brothers at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Credit Dave Martin/Associated Press

 

Charles Neville, the saxophonist in New Orleans’s most celebrated band, the Neville Brothers, died on Friday at his home in Huntington, Mass. He was 79.

His family announced his death, of pancreatic cancer, in an online statement. On Facebook, his brother and bandmate Aaron Neville, wrote, “You’ll always be in my heart and soul, like a tattoo.”

The Neville Brothers gathered New Orleans’s abundant musical heritage and carried it forward. Art, Aaron, Charles and Cyril Neville formed their band in 1977 and maintained it, amid other projects, until disbanding in 2012. (They reunited for a farewell concert in New Orleans in 2015.)

The group melded rhythm and blues, gospel, doo-wop, rock, blues, soul, jazz, funk and New Orleans’s own parade and Mardi Gras rhythms, in songs that mingled a party spirit with social consciousness.

Charles Neville — who usually performed in a beret and a tie-dyed shirt, with an irrepressible smile — was the band’s jazz facet, reflecting his decades of experience before the Neville Brothers got started. His soprano saxophone was upfront on the Nevilles’ “Healing Chant,” which won a Grammy Award as best pop instrumental in 1990.

Charles Neville was born in New Orleans on Dec. 28, 1939, the second of the four sons of Arthur Lanon Neville Sr. and Amelia Neville, formerly Landry. At 15, Charles left home to play saxophone with the Rabbit’s Foot Minstrel Show.

He went on to work with blues and R&B singers, including Larry Wiliams, Johnny Ace, Big Maybelle, Jimmy Reed and Little Walter. Back in New Orleans, he was a member of the house band at the Dew Drop Inn, working with local and visiting stars. After serving in the Navy from 1956 to 1958, stationed in Memphis, he went on to tour with B. B. King and Bobby (Blue) Bland.

Mr. Neville began using heroin in the 1950s, sometimes shoplifting to support his drug use and serving short jail terms. It was a habit he would not completely overcome until 1986.

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Charles Neville: Remembering the Neville Brothers’ Saxophone-Playing Mystic ~ RollingStone

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It was 1998, and Charles Neville and I were walking through the French Quarter on a steamy hot Orleans afternoon. Out of nowhere, a small man in a raggedy woolen overcoat approached Charles.

Unhesitatingly, Charles embraced him, exclaiming, “Waterman Willie! When did you get out, brother?”

“Last month.”

“Well, here you go.” Charles emptied out his pockets and handed Willie all the bills and change in his possession

 “You make it out of Angola and the odds are still stacked against you,” Charles told me after Willie thanked him and went on his way.

Charles knew. He had made it out of the infamous Angola penitentiary and did more than survive; as a creative artist and human being, he thrived. He was a man – an intellectual with strong metaphysical leanings – deeply committed to expanding consciousness.

The second oldest of the four brilliant Neville brothers, Charles died on April 26th of pancreatic cancer. He was 79 and at peace. He had been at peace for years.

“When you go from criminality to spirituality,” he told me while I was ghostwriting The Brothers, the Nevilles’ autobiography, “your mantra is simple: gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”

He learned saxophone well enough to gig with B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Little Walter. He also got hooked on heroin. Minor crimes landed him in Angola.

“My stint was a godsend,” he said. “Despite the inhumane conditions, there were books. I read everyone from Homer to Nietzsche. Ever since genius pianist James Booker was incarcerated, Angola had the baddest band in the land. It was where I was finally able to woodshed and seriously study the masters – Pres, Bird, Trane – with absolute focus. Reflecting on the non-attachment nuances of Zen Buddhism in my miserable piss-stained jail cell was a key to enlightenment. Not to mention getting clean.”

Once out, he eventually worked with siblings Art, Aaron, Cyril and their Uncle Jolly to form the incandescent Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Mardi Gras Indian funk band that brought the divergent brothers together for the first time. That was the mid-Seventies. In the following decades Charles toured with the Brothers, served as featured sideman on Aaron’s solo dates and played jazz clubs with his own group.

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Marcia Ball Looks Back On Her Blues Legacy: ‘I’m Perfectly Suited For The Job’ ~ NPR

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When Marcia Ball sits down at the piano, the barrelhouse blues that jump out is enough to frighten any set of nearby keyboards. The 69-year-old has been playing Texas boogie and New Orleans blues for 50 years. Her latest album Shine Bright, available now, carries on the tune.

Over the years, the Louisiana-born performer’s skills have been compared to Professor Longhair, Memphis Slim or Fats Domino. By growing up near New Orleans, she got to experience the music firsthand. Ball says her vocal style is partially inspired by soul superstar Irma Thomas and that she is still amazed by Thomas’ performance ability today.

“I saw her last week and she opens her mouth just barely, she smiles and sings and that magnificent voice still comes out as it has since I was 13 and she was maybe 20,” Ball tells NPR’s Scott Simon. Her 12-track album, produced by Steve Berlin, pulls from that effortless influence.

“Everything about this record is light and bright,” Ball explains. She even insisted on wrapping up a piano in aluminum foil for the album cover art after being inspired by a similar piece of art from a preacher from Elloree, S.C.

“I’m perfectly suited for the job,” Ball says when describing her longevity in music — from the traveling to the engagement with her fans. And after 50 years of being in show business, Ball is candid when it comes to her favorite part about life on the road.

“Keith Ferguson — the bass player for The Fabulous Thunderbirds when they were first started out — when he went out on the road and people asked him what it was like, he said, ‘Different tacos,’ ” laughs Ball. “I think maybe as much as anything we just like to eat in different places.”

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Van Morrison Would Rather Play Jazz

Van Morrison’s new album is a collaboration with the gifted Hammond B-3 player Joey DeFrancesco.

For rock stars of a certain age, the eventual turn to the Great American Songbook can feel something like an obligation, or a graceful bow goodbye. For Van Morrison, it’s no such thing.

The 72-year-old Irish musician, who was knighted in 2016, has always had roots planted in early jazz, jump blues and midcentury R&B. From the early 1960s, he was playing blues covers and soul offshoots in Belfast garage bands. Since going solo in 1967, he’s kept his ensembles stacked with heavy-duty improvisers, often building something like a rock ‘n’ roll big band, with a formidable horn section.

Last year’s “Versatile” was Mr. Morrison’s first thoroughbred jazz release, a mix of standards and originals from his back catalog played in a jaunty swing. “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” out Friday, takes a similar approach, but it moves with a lot more vigor and conviction.

That’s largely thanks to Mr. Morrison’s co-bandleader, the Hammond B-3 virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco. Leading a quartet, Mr. DeFrancesco stretches out wide beneath the singer’s blustering swagger, often interceding with riffs and jabs of his own. Mr. Morrison sounds less like his old blend of Otis Redding and Seamus Heaney here and — especially on the standards “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Travelin’ Light” — a touch more arch, closer to Elvis Costello. But there’s no questioning the roiling passion in his voice, or his knack for a deftly curled melody.

In a phone interview from London, where he was preparing for a tour in support of the album, Mr. Morrison talked about his lifelong connection to jazz and blues; the joys of working with Mr. DeFrancesco; and, unavoidably, his hatred of interviews just like this one. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

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