March 7, 2013

Funky Butts and all that jazz

Many people ask about the name of the band. Most smile when they hear it; although once when we played a concert where the median age was about 75, a sweet-faced elderly lady came up and said, “I really enjoy your music.” Then she frowned and whispered, “Not too fond of the name, though.” Fortunately, that’s not the majority opinion. The term “funky butt” has a storied place in New Orleans history. It was the title of a dance, a Buddy Bolden trumpet tune and, in the early part of the 20th century, when jazz was new, the Union Sons of Honor Hall in the “backatown” district of New Orleans became the Funky Butt Dance Hall at night. Another dance club called the Funky Butt used to be open on Rampart Street in the early 2000s; it was owned by Big Sam Williams and hosted the city’s finest funk bands. But it closed after Katrina hit and never reopened. We thought the name was a fitting homage to our sister city, was reflective of the spirited music we hoped to make, and would make people smile. So far, it’s worked out that way. Except for that one lady, apparently.

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