April debut set for book on New Orleans music in the ’80s and ’90s

I am pleased to announce that my long-awaited book, Up Front and Center: New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century will be released on Threadhead Press in the coming weeks.

I began this project in 2007. My goal was to have the book out in 2009 to celebrate 30 years of living in New Orleans, but time conspired against me. Then the Radiators announced they were breaking up and I quickly put together I Got the Fish in the Head: A Radiators Retrospective, which was released last year.

The main themes in Up Front and Center are the changes in music scene in New Orleans since the late 1970s including the growth of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the arrival of a second generation of funk musicians following the breakup of the Meters, a music business to replace the collapsed oil economy of the 1980s, the brass band revival, and the rise of Frenchmen Street as a center of the musical culture of New Orleans.

Though five years in the making, this new book is actually the culmination of three decades of writing about my live music experiences. As Reggie Scanlan points out in a blurb he wrote for the back cover, “Jay Mazza has compiled his mountain of published articles, notes, recollections and musings into an intriguing overview of a period of New Orleans music that has, for the most part, been neglected.”

There will be numerous opportunities in the coming months to get your copy, so stay tuned. Excerpts are here.

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