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Various Artists: Make it Funky: The Music That Took Over the World

There is no better argument for rebuilding the city of New Orleans than this documentary. Director Michael Murphy lets acts like the Neville Brothers, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Irma Thomas do the “talking” from start to finish with snippets of their own versions of that authentic New Orleans sound. Make It Funky is the by-product of an April 27, 2004, concert in New Orleans, and its best moments come when piano players Allen Townsend and Jon Cleary do a fabulous piano call-and-response version of Professor Longhair’s classic “Tipitina.” They are only slightly outdone by the trumpet trio of Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield and Troy Andrews, who explain jazz as world music with a captivating rendition of “Skokiaan,” a song Crescent City hero Louis Armstrong made famous when he recorded it in 1954. Watching all of this wondrous music, listening to the rich commentary and seeing all the history caused me to consider sending my copy of the film to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who hastily called for New Orleans to be bulldozed following Hurricane Katrina only to later retract his loose rhetoric. This film is more than enough evidence to convince any of the other doubters of the genius of the Big Easy.

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