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Woody Allen talks New Orleans jazz, preserving a dying art and mixing music with movies




It was one of the most surprising concert announcements of the year: Director and comedy legend Woody Allen, coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall with his New Orleans Jazz Band.

For nearly 40 years people have packed Allen’s weekly jam sessions at New York’s tony Carlyle Hotel, and their concerts worldwide. Most don’t know Joe Oliver from Jelly Roll Morton, but getting that close to an Oscar winner is worth the ticket. Allen realizes this, and his fellow musicians are fine with it. Anything to keep their favorite music from disappearing any faster than it already is.

“I’m always surprised when anyone wants to hear authentic jazz," Allen said by phone recently. "We’re not currying favor with the crowds, usually. . . . They’re usually used to musicians playing what’s called Dixieland, (wearing) straw hats and Hawaiian shirts, playing When the Saints Go Marching In and making a big fuss. We don’t do that.”

Woody Allen and the New Orleans Jazz Band perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $45-$95, with a limited number of $250 meet-and-greet tickets. For details, click here.

And for more of Steve Persall's interview with Woody Allen, click here.

[Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 8:11pm]


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