Review: Woody Allen charms Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater with classic New Orleans jazz
'Twas four days before Christmas, and in Ruth Eckerd Hall, jazz fans toasted the star of Annie Hall. (Okay, so that's kind of a lazy rhyme. Cut us some slack; it's the holidays.)
Director Woody Allen brought his side hobby/passion, New Orleans jazz music, to Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Dec. 21, performing a charming set for nearly 1,200 fans. Sean Daly was there, and he writes:
If people came expecting a whiff of Hollywood glamour — uh, no. Dressed in clunky shoes, frumpy khakis and a gray button-down shirt, Allen looked like a man waiting for a bus. And the spare stage was just as humble: a few chairs, a small platform, insurance-seminar lighting.
Taking even more air out of the event, Allen addressed the crowd: "Before today, I'd never heard of Clearwater, and now I love it." That got applause, then this got a laugh: "We're delighted when anyone is foolish enough to come out and see us. So sit back, relax and we'll do our best to be as authentic and passionate as possible."
And with that, for the next 105 minutes, they played rolling roadhouse jazz, rural river songs merging with the hot vibes of New Orleans circa the early 20th century, the Mississippi River meeting the red-light District of Storyville.
Photo: Melissa Lyttle, tbt*