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Ham Carson and Friends
When: 7 to 11 p.m.
Where: New Orleans, 114 First Ave. S., 622-2563.
Clarinet isn’t sexy. In fact, outside of real music heads, few know the instrument boasts a rich tradition in jazz. There was the great Sidney Bechet. In the early 20th century he and Louis Armstrong pioneered the solo as well as group improv. Then there’s free jazz maverick Anthony Braxton. He makes the instrument skronk like a starving pterodactyl. He even jammed with Wolf Eyes! Scene veteran Ham Carson is far more Bechet than Braxton. At the same time, however, he’s on a trip of his own. For nearly 20 years the clarinetist has commandeered a weekly gig at New Orleans Restaurant, where swing with shades of Dixieland and bebop is the order of the day. If you thought clarinet was for classical squares, check out Mr. Ham Carson.
-- JUSTIN F. FARRAR