Laissez les Gottschalk rouler!


Before Harry Connick, Jr., before Dr. John, before Ellis Marsalis, before Allen Toussaint, before Fats Domino, before Professor Longhair — hell, even a generation before Jelly Roll Morton, a young piano virtuoso from New Orleans amazed the world with original music steeped in the rich gumbo of the Crescent City’s unique cultural mix.  In a short but eventful life of forty years, he traveled incessantly through the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.  His enormous list of piano works includes virtuoso showstoppers, sentimental ballads, rousing mash-ups of patriotic songs and, best of all, the first prominent classical works to incorporate the racial and ethnic diversity of the Americas.  Add an outsized personality, several affairs — even a scandal or two — and you have a suitable subject for a thrilling biopic, if anyone would care to do one.  As for today, I can’t think of any better music for Mardi Gras than a half-dozen of the most flavorful piano works of the one, the only, Louis Moreau Gottschalk!

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