Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Local jazz band shaking off the rust with neighborhood front porch sessions

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BATON ROUGE - One local jazz band is shaking off the rust from the stay-at-home order in a unique way.

Since the band members haven’t been able to play together in the past two months, ‘The Jazz Souls’ have started playing, what they call, 'front porch sessions' in the Poet’s Corner neighborhood of Baton Rouge.

“We’re the type of people that if we’re not playing, you get this itch. It’s nice to be able to scratch it,” upright bass player David Randall said.

That itch had been building for weeks for Randall and the other three members of the band.

“We play jazz standards, some might call us an American songbook band,” drummer and founding member of the band Dale Harris said.

For two months, the group of 12 years had no gigs to play, and no practice sessions together.

“So, we missed that during the outbreak. And Gary says... no, it was my idea. I said, ‘let's get on our porch, that’s enough social distancing. And let the neighbors listen if they want but let’s practice.’ I really missed it,” Randall said.

“We sounded a lot better than we thought we would, having not played together for a while. We thought we were going to sound pretty terrible. But, I don’t know, sounded pretty good. The people seem to enjoy it,” Harris said.

Thursday night was only their third front porch gig on the corner of Homer and Pericles Street, but they’ve already acquired some neighborhood fans.

“It was quite a surprise the other day when about 10, 15 people showed up, and actually, threw money in the tip jar. It was sweet. We weren’t looking for that. Though we did put the tip jar out,” Randall said.

Randall says there’s a lot of noise surrounding our lives right now, but not the kind you tap your feet to.

“We take the masks off when we play. I have it in my pocket, dear, I promise,” Randall said, laughing.

Jokes aside, he says this time has given him a greater overall appreciation for his passion for music.

“I didn’t even realize how much live music there already was in Baton Rouge, and it’s gonna come back. Slowly, but surely,” Randall said.

The Jazz Souls will be playing at least once a week either on Tuesdays or Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


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