Songs for Fat Tuesday

This month's playlist highlights the rich and far-reaching history of jazz music, capturing the spirit of Mardi Gras.

‘Fat Tuesday’ or Mardi Gras in French, holds deep cultural roots, intertwining ancient pagan festivities with Christian traditions. It marks the final day of indulgence before the solemn period of Lent. While Mardi Gras is celebrated worldwide, its heart lies in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here, the streets come alive with an array of colours and sounds, as parades, masquerade balls, and vibrant costumes flood the city.

Fat Tuesday

New Orleans, often considered the birthplace of jazz, infuses Mardi Gras with the soulful notes of trumpets, saxophones, and lively improvisation. Jazz bands parade through the streets, creating an atmosphere of spontaneous celebration.

The connection between jazz and Mardi Gras runs deep, echoing the history of a city that has always embraced diversity and spontaneity. The lively parades, adorned with flamboyant costumes and elaborate floats, march to the beat of jazz, infusing the atmosphere with infectious energy. The improvisational nature of jazz mirrors the unpredictability and thrill of Mardi Gras, creating an atmosphere that captivates both locals and visitors alike.

The playlist

The playlist features jazz icons and New Orleans giants such as Louis Armstrong and Harold Battiste, who intertwine seamlessly with the vibrant tapestry of Mardi Gras.

Armstrong, the charismatic trumpet virtuoso, gifts the city with timeless melodies like ‘Saturday Night Fish Fry’ and ‘The Mardi Gras March’. Alongside him the innovative arrangements of Harold Battiste add a modern flourish to the traditional jazz landscape, creating a dynamic synergy.

Highlighting the far-reaching influence of New Orleans music, the playlist concludes with Igor Stravinsky, a prominent 20th-century composer shaped by jazz during his Parisian years in the 1920s and 1930s.

His ‘Ebony Concerto’ showcases jazz’s rhythmic complexities, reflecting Stravinsky’s openness to diverse musical influences. This dynamic interaction between classical and popular genres during that era exemplifies the Mardi Gras spirit, blending contrasting styles seamlessly.

Hear the playlist below or every Tuesday in January at 3.30pm in the Music Gallery.