New Orleans Jazz Festival

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New Orleans Jazz Festival
Companies and Record Labels

In 1994 and 1995, Tony Brooke traveled to New Orleans to provide remote audio recording services to WWOZ-FM, the nation's only all-local music radio station, during the world-famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In a series of guerrilla-style multitrack and stereo recordings, Tony captured dozens and dozens of musicians in action at venues of all kinds, including the famous Tipitina's, the then-new House of Blues, clubs, record shops and restaurants. Many of these shows were also broadcast live on WWOZ. Various album releases came out in the years following these performances.

Many years later, some of Tony's recordings were transferred by WWOZ for preservation in The WWOZ Collection at The United States Library Of Congress.

An interesting side story came from these projects. At the end of the 1995 Jazz Festival, a huge rain storm dumped 19 inches of rain on parts of New Orleans, killing five people and pushing the city's systems to their limits. While parked in a restaurant parking lot, Tony watched as flood waters rose quickly around his van, which was filled to the brim with recording equipment. The water was rising so quickly that you could see its progress like water filling a bathtub. As the waters topped the van's tires, he wondered if this would be the end of his recording business, and how he would get home to San Francisco.

Then the water stopped rising. The locals who had gathered to watch all breathed easy and went back into the restaurant. They explained to Tony that the water would soon be gone because the city's pumps had kicked in. Needless to say, Tony wasn't as relaxed as they were at first. But sure enough, the water started dropping just as quickly as it rose.

The water had stopped just short of the van's electrical system. A few hours later, the van started up. Getting out of New Orleans and back to San Francisco was another adventure, because the flood's debris caused three flat tires as Tony tried to drive out of town.

But most importantly, the recordings were not damaged in the 1995 storm, and survived again when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005. After Katrina, WWOZ made arrangements to have their priceless collection of recordings (including those engineered by Tony) preserved at the Library of Congress.