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Mark Samuels of Basin Street Records - Interview PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Mark Samuels of Basin Street RecordsNew Orleans, Louisiana is the birthplace of Jazz and Louis Armstrong, and is culturally diverse with its impact on Jazz, Blues, Funk, R&B, and Rock. Mark Samuels, President of Basin Street Records shares his music vision during an interview with Luxury Experience Magazine.

 

Mark Samuels of Basin Street Records
Mark Samuels at the New Orleans Jazz Festival

LEM:

Mark, you started Basin Street Records in 1998. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the music business. What was your vision at the time, and how has the industry changed since then?

MS:

I got into the music business as a fan. I was a sax player in a high school, and later in a band in college that played fraternity parties. I worked on a music project for my brother that later evolved into Basin Street Records.

LEM:

New Orleans has long been considered the place to be musically, and with Basin Street Records' focus on New Orleans based Jazz, Blues, Funk, R&B, and Rock artists, and a tremendously talented line-up including Kermit Ruffins, Los Hombres Calientes, Irvin Mayfield, Jason Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, The Headhunters, and Theresa Andersson, how do you feel that you are impacting music history?

MS:

I have always said that I aspire that Basin Street would be to New Orleans, what Motown is to Detroit. For musicians, this is the place. Music will be around forever. Since Katrina, it is even more important what we are doing.

LEM:

New Orleans took a tragic turn when Hurricane Katrina hit. How has the New Orleans music scene changed since that time, and how has music helped to change the city?

MS:

Music is important for the human psyche. It can make you feel good, which is what the blues is all about, because it makes you feel better when you are not. People appreciate New Orleans music all over the world, and New Orleanians appreciate their city even more now. The music crowds are back, and the Mapleleaf Bar used a generator so that they could be open at night.

Dr. Michael White has worked as a mentor to the Hot 8 Brass Band, a group of young musicians who are interested in more traditional New Orleans music. Jazz & Heritage program is working to match people up to educate them. There is a Jazz orchestra and jam sessions on Wednesday nights at Snug Harbor Jazz on Frenchman Street.

Kermit Ruffins started the Rebirth Brass Band 28 years ago; Corey Henry started a Brass Band when he was 8 years old; Irwin Mayfield started in the Algiers Brass Band; and in my neighborhood, only about 30% of the neighbors are back, so neighborhood traditions may not be able to continue. I am not sure that 9 year olds are going to be playing in the French Quarter for tips in the future.

LEM:

Musician friends of ours, UK-based pianist Neal Richardson and trumpeter/vocalist Sue Richardson, have played New Orleans many times both pre and post Katrina, and when I interviewed Sue Richardson in the March 2008 edition of Luxury Experience Magazine about her favorite places to play in the world, she replied, "Playing in New Orleans was probably the greatest thrill. It is the home of everything I do and so it was a pilgrimage to go, especially as it was the first Mardi Gras post-Katrina when I was there. It was such a bittersweet experience. The musicians were so welcoming and encouraging. Playing Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans with Uncle Lionel and Glen Andrews from Tremé Brass Band in a late night jam on Frenchmen Street was the ultimate experience. I was on such a high."

For so many musicians within the US as well as around the world, playing New Orleans is like climbing Mount Everest; you know you have made the big time if you play here. What makes the New Orleans music scene so unique and vibrant?

MS:

As a port city that was also a slave city, had Spanish and French influences, and also had African rhythms on Congo Square, these all contributed to the elements of Jazz and Blues that is American music that makes up New Orleans. The band, Los Hombres Calientes recognizes the connection of New Orleans, Haiti, and Brazil, as they have a lot of common influences coming into the ports, and that is what makes it what it is.

LEM:

Growing up, what type of music did you listen to, and who were some of your favorite artists? And today?

MS:

Growing up I listened to The Who, The Kinks, The Stones, and The Police. In high school, I played in a Jazz band with Wynton Marsalis, and when I was in 10th grade I listened to John Coltrane's Love Supreme, and then I started buying Jazz albums. When Wynton graduated and went to New York, his brother Delfayo had copies of Wynton's recordings with Herbie Hancock I also listened to them.

 

LEM:

If you had the opportunity to record any musicians past or present, who is on your wish list?

MS:

Sting! Anytime he is ready, call me! I was touring Europe by bicycle in 1984-85 and I listened to his CD about 6 times per day during that trip.

LEM:

What's next?

MS:

Re-sign my artists, look for some new artists, and keep producing records. I will produce 5 records in 2008, and I hope to produce 8 records in 2009, and 8-10 records in 2010.

LEM:

Mark thanks for making the music and congratulations on Basin Street Records' 10th anniversary!

For information on Basin Street Records, please visit the website: www.BasinStreetRecords.com.

Basin Street Recrords - New Orleans, LA
Basin Street Records
Mark Samuels, President
5500 Prytania Street, #10
New Orleans, LA 70115
United States
Telephone:      +1-504-483-0002
Fax:                 +1-504-483-7877
Email:
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
www.BasinStreetRecords.com

For information on New Orleans, please visit the website: www.NewOrleansCVB.com.

© October 2008. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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