"Sherman, fire up the Wayback Machine!"


A return to New Orleans in May 1972!


Almost at the end of my stay at Tulane ...


In the months before two friends (George Schmidt and Rick Mackie) and I started up

a little musical group: The New Leviathon Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra.


What a trip that was!

George was working on his Masters in Art History, and in the University's Jazz Archives (his hobby), had discovered some sheet music piles that were stamped: "Oriental Fox-trots."


Well, ...

We were about to return to a period of "exotisme," New Orleans style.


Soon the three of us were hand copying parts for various instruments in a little orchestra which included xylophone, wood blocks and a large gong.


And about a week later, we had gathered some musician friends together one Saturday morning in McAlister Auditorium. 


We played one piece after another, and could barely get to the end of each without bursting out laughing with glee! (Listening to these pieces below, may get you the same reaction).


So soon, we put it all together, and gave our first concert.

This is music composed from after the War of 1812, to just before WW-1.

During the music, some people moved into the aisles in front of the stage and started dancing, you guessed it: fox-trots.


This first concert was well received, and we were invited to play at the New Orleans Jazz Festival that Spring.


Well, I was going to stay in New Orleans for a while after graduation, do some music, relax, ... but that was not going to fit with parental plans for the graduate.


Anyway, George Schmidt kept it going, replacing musicians as they came and went, and

the New Leviathon continues to this very day. Here is their site. 


A year after our concert, the movie business picked up "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin (George had rediscovered it in the Jazz Archives) and used it as the theme in "The Sting" in 1973.


The New Leviathon has played every New Orleans Jazz Festival since, toured in Europe once or twice, and also worked with Woody Allen for one of his movies (which one, I don't know).


Today, I got back into this, because I came across our first album, a recording of our first concert. I have a turntable that permits conversion to MP3 files, so you can have a listen.

Perhaps I enjoyed it more than someone else might, but that's just a personal thing.



Side 1 

Side 1 program






Side 2

Side 2 program
















The first song on Side 2 is "Dardanella (An Echo from the East)" and since that number was a little slow, I decided to walk back stage in the middle, feigning a broken string, put on a pink kimono, and walked back on stage to play a solo cadenza, much to everyone's surprise in the orchestra, and delight in the audience. (That starts at 2min, 40sec in the MP3 file below).


And of course, leaving the best for last: the Hyena Stomp.



I'm listed on the record jacket as "Mr. Kay Moneaux, the Famous Belgian virtuoso."


George did a nice job on the vocal of "In China."

(I like the lyrics: 'In China, ... be bride and groom, no more gloom, when the flow-ers bloom.') 


We played "Oriental Moon" in the dark, with a light shining on the mirror ball as it spun above us.


It seemed to have gone over pretty well.


Here are some pictures from that era:



Founders in 1972


The founding members in 1972







Our first concert, a fuzzy picture from the record jacket: pagoda backdrop, mirror ball, Jesuit priests from across the street at Loyola (stripped to the waist, with turbans, balloon pants and fanning us while we played). White suits and fezzes.



Below, some parts of the record jacket, giving the titles of the 12 musical numbers that we played. Pretty amusing at the time ...



And after my departure, the beat went on: 6 more albums, Amazon, Wikipedia.



Ah, college ...


I even got two pages in the Jambalaya, the Tulane yearbook for 1972.


Yearbook p 314 - Jambalaya 1972



Someone got a shot of me practicing in my favorite location:



Yearbook p 315 - Jambalaya 1972


Standing atop one of the bookshelves in the Music Department's Library. Nice acoustics.


And an excellent Amati violin that they had loaned me without blinking an eye.


"Show me your Student ID, and sign the card." I did.


The day we left New Orleans (in a hurry) I dropped it off at a friend's apartment and asked that he bring it back to the Library.


I suppose he did.



Certainly, not everything in life is fun.

Some things were.



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