Dr Michael White

Tunes lyrically toned,
Notes evocatively honed,
Mandeville memories
Hauntingly cloned.
Displaying “the spirit of the best New Orleans clarinetists”, Dr Michael White follows in the footsteps of traditional jazz greats at Mandeville’s legendary Dew Drop Hall.

Gregg Stafford

“He der man!”
Silk shirt, snazzy dresser,
Hot trumpet, deft touch,
Sweet notes, gravelly vocals,
Greg Stafford, “He der man!”
Modern day stalwart of traditional jazz, blues and old time gospel music, New Orleans star Greg Stafford conjures up echoes from the past in a hypnotic performance at Mandeville’s legendary Dew Drop Hall.

Echoes of the Past
An entire year has passed since I met two of New Orleans greatest jazz musicians at legendary Dew Drop Hall, across Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville.

The occasion was a farewell party for the 2010 Ken Colyer Trust French Quarter Tour Group. Along with Barry Martyn’s band, Michael White and Gregg Stafford entranced the audience of ardent fans with their hypnotic performances.

In the shadow of jazz greats like Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, Buddy Petit and Louis Armstrong, they conjured up echoes of the past and the very best of the spirit and legacy of New Orleans.

I count it a privilege to have painted their portraits which are to be presented to them during this April’s Southern Sounds Tour. More of my jazz portraits featuring Dew Drop Hall will follow.


Neighbors Well Met

Joshua and Sandra in joyous duet

Neighbors Well Met
Joshua and Sandra in joyous duet,
New friends, neighbors well met,
With shared spiritual guide
Despite the Atlantic divide.

It was one of those rare, magical evenings. On the very last day of our sojourn, my wife and I were invited to visit opera singer Joshua Walker and his wife Sandra Berry Walker in their delightful New Orleans home. But we hadn’t expected Joshua to treat us to a stunning private rendition “Old Man River” followed by an exhilarating duet with Sandra. They are a charming couple and I promised them this portrait. I hope it does them justice, especially as Sandra runs her own distinctive “Neighborhood Gallery – a gallery without walls”. Albeit an ocean apart.

Esther Enthrals Her Fans

Esther O'Connor in Concert

Esther Enthrals Her Fans

Hail the new kid on the block,
No chip, but a pure golden rock.
A musical queen and songstress supreme,
Thrillingly fulfilling her dream.

When Esther O’Connor asked me to paint her portrait I was both thrilled and honoured. For a while I hesitated, wanting to be sure I could capture her in enraptured performance. Then, watching and listening to her, discovering her values and following her rise to stardom as both singer and song writer, I could resist no longer. Hence this portrait of Esther on stage enthralling her fans. Her father, Greame Duffin, is the bassist with Wet, Wet, Wet, but Esther, highly acclaimed by the media in her own right, is blazing her own road to fame.

Lionel Ferbos, Louisiana Legend
Jazz in Bourbon bars and in Jackson Square,
Jazz at the Palm Court, when Lionel is there.
Of Louisiana legends and New Orleans Greats,
Lionel is peerless, on trumpet at ninety-eight!

Lionel Ferbos, New Orleans’ Grand Old Man of Jazz, will celebrate his 99th birthday at The Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur Street on Saturday, 17 July. A proud, dignified man, Lionel still leads his own band, The Louisiana Shakers. He has been playing trumpet for over 70 years and recording music since the early 1960s, despite the fact that when he was a lad, his mother insisted he play banjo as he suffered from asthma. 99 years young indeed! Aged 16, he took trumpet lessons with “Old Man” Professor Chaligny for 25 cents a time. In the early 1930′s he joined John Handy’s band despite remonstrating “I can’t play in your band, I don’t play all that wild jazz”! Now, in 2010 he is “the last man standing” from the era of the greats, and is famed for his weekly gigs at The Palm Court.

On this very special occasion, I am honoured and proud to present my Art&Verse fine art portrait and poem of Lionel which will be on display at The Palm Court on Saturday, 17 July. Be sure to view the portrait on my website.

Barry Martyn at the 100 Club
Hail to a Legend of Jazz
And showman supreme
Whose flare and pizzaz
Revived the New Orleans Dream.

New Orleans based jazz great Barry Martyn in characteristic form on drums with The Young Bloods at The 100 Club in Oxford Street in February, 2010. Born in London, Barry moved to the USA in the early 1960s since when he has been a key figure in the revival of New Orleans Jazz both as a musician and jazz historian.

“I hail from London,” said Barry. “In fact I was conceived under that grand piano.”

Thank you, Barry, for being so supportive of my jazz portraits and poems.

Let me introduce you to a wonderful New Orleans jazz website featuring News and Views from the French Quarter.

In Geoff’s own words: “This is Geoff Gilbert welcoming you to the cradle of New Orleans Jazz where it all began – music to warm the soul and soothe the spirit!”

Simply click HERE or on my New Orleans Jazz link.

And thank you, Geoff, for your link to my New Orleans Jazz Portraits. I’ve got to get painting more, fast!

Great news, hot off the village Wi-Fi. As a proud resident, I’m thrilled to announce that Lemsford Village has won Best Small Village for 2010 in the Hertfordshire Village of the Year Awards. Not only that, Lemsford won a second award for best Hertfordshire village in the Environment Category.

The picture shows proud members of the Lemsford Residents Association, Lyn, second left, Ghis, fourth left, Nigel, Carole, Terry, Tony, Ginny and Jackie receiving the awards.

Thanks go to all the team, and special thanks from me to my wife, Ginny, for producing Lemsford News, the village newsletter. And for getting me to take this photo of the happy group.

Several of my landscape oil and acrylic paintings along with their poems feature Lemsford and the wonderful countryside surrounding our village. To view them click here.

You can also click here to view a selection of my jazz portraits featuring our local band, Bob Thomas and the Thomcats.

Visitors can visit the artist’s village and his Art & Verse on the brand new Lemsford Village Website. Simply click here.

Hushed Lemsford

Sheer good fortune took me to New Orleans and The Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur Street in April, 2010, to revel in a virtuoso performance by legendary music man and trumpeter, Dave Bartholomew, song writer of “Let the Good Times Roll”. Eighty nine years young and with an untouchable legacy, nowadays Dave picks and chooses his appearances with great discernment. One of New Orleans’ greatest, multi talented stars, during his partnership with Fats Domino he wrote and produced a series of unforgettable numbers including “Ain’t that a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill”. He went on to write over 4,000 songs, two of which, “One Night” and “Witchcraft”, were hits for Elvis Presley.

What better inspiration for my latest Art&Verse jazz portrait and poem, prints of which are available for sale on my Art & Verse website.

Let the Good Times Roll!

Hail Dave Bartholomew
Song writer supreme
To whom honour is due
For his Big Band Beat
And Rhythm and Blues dream.
“Ain’t that a Shame!”
Added to his fame,
So surely “Let the Good Times Roll!”

This year, Lemsford, my home village, was entered by The Lemsford Residents Association for the Hertfordshire Village of the Year Competition, 2010. So on Friday, 18 June, the judges duly arrived to thoroughly assess the village’s many merits. The judges showed great interest in our ‘Exploring the River Lea’ display board which was unveiled earlier this year. To my delight, my Art & Verse ‘Autumn Fire’ landscape was reproduced on the display board. It is a view in oils of the Larch Trees across neighbouring Lemsford cottage rooftops from my garden den and I take pride in reproducing the Art & Verse print here. Or click here and select Autumn Fire to view the picture on my website.

The poem reads:

Autumn Fire
Larch trees aflame
Glorious dawn proclaim,
Golden spun,
Fired by Autumn sun.

The results of the Village of the Year Competition will be announced on 1 July, so watch this space. For more information about Lemsford Village, our Residents Association and The Lemsford News, our full colour village newsletter expertly produced by my wife, Ginny Butler, visit the Lemsford Village Website.