JOE LASTIE on WGNO ABC "Keeping our New Orleans sound alive"
"I watched both of them play drums in church, and my grandfather was Frank Lastie, and he had a thing where he did with his fingers," Lastie recalled. "He didn't play with his arms , he played with his fingers, and that stuck out with me, watching him play like that."Lastie still performs with the family as a gospel group, and his current band - Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sounds - helps to keep our sound alive. "What I'm trying to do... People come to New Orleans to hear what? New Orleans music New Orleans jazz. That's what I want to bring to people who come to New Orleans. I want them to hear that New Orleans sound," says Lastie.As we mentioned, Joe played with Preservation Hall for 27 years. He no longer travels with that iconic group, but manages to play local gigs with their legacy band. He counts that time on the road as time well spent.
"I loved it. I played for kings, I played for queens, I played all over the world," he said. "It's not a place where I haven't been, so I'm really grateful for traveling with Preservation Hall through the years. What stuck out with me with that someone came to me and said, 'You know what? You look like your playing was God sent from above.'"
Joe Lastie's New Orleans Sound performs at the Maison Bourbon on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Joe Lastie Jr. is preserving New Orleans Music and all that Jazz by C.C. Campbell-Rock
As the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, Joe Frank Lastie Jr. is ramping up his mission to preserve New Orleans’ traditional music, a.k.a, Jazz. Lastie, a master drummer, is a member of one of New Orleans’ beloved musical families, the Lasties, whose musical legacy includes original compositions and performances of New Orleans traditional music, rhythm & blues, and gospel music. Today, Lastie preserves the music and keeps his mission alive with his band, Joe Lastie’s New Orleans Sound.
Lastie was born in New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz, America’s first indigenous music. His familial roots led him to not only love and play New Orleans’ sounds, but also to preserve the music for future generations.
For the past 40 years, Lastie has worked daily to preserve New Orleans music. Right after high school, Lastie began playing music on Bourbon Street and in the French Quarter. Performances with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, his work as a member of the Preservation Hall Foundation, his gigs at the Maison Bourbon Jazz Club, and years of touring nationally and internationally provide rare opportunities for the music preservationist to perform, inform, and educate.
“I’ve been on the road with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for 27 years, my band plays at Preservation Hall and I’m a member of the Preservation Hall Foundation, which is dedicated to the education of music and outreach at schools and all over the world,” says Lastie.
While New Orleans is credited with being the birthplace of Jazz, most New Orleans musicians refer to the genre as “traditional music.” Known for creating New Orleans’ modern jazz, pianist and music professor Ellis Marsalis once said, “We don’t call it jazz, we call it traditional music.”
Lastie’s desire to preserve New Orleans’ traditional music comes at a critical time, when upcoming New Orleans musicians are fusing traditional and contemporary sounds; creating new genres of music like jazz-funk, jazz/r&b, jazz-rap, and other music forms.