Drummer Gerald French blends family and New Orleans music traditions

NEW ORLEANS--Hailing from the musical French family, drummer Gerald French has been beating the skins for almost 30 years.  For him that time has been rewarding in shaping his musical journey.

French says, "The biggest accomplishment for me was plying with cats who played with my grandfather, and I got a chance to do that at the tail end of their careers. Cats that come out of that lineage of New Orleans cats, it's special."

Gerald is the son of the great bassist and singer George French, and until recently he was always the youngest guy on the bandstand and that taught him a lot.

"It's only been recently since I took over the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band where now I'm in a position where I'm not the youngest one on the bandstand. For the beginning of my playing career I also played with older cats, and that's where you learned."

According to French, there's also a balance between the authentic New Orleans sound of yesterday and that of today.

Says French, "If you're coming to see a museum piece, that ain't gonna happen. Music lives and in New Orleans music constantly evolves."

Speaking of evolution, French's other music project is the New Orleans Catahoulas, a band dedicated to the golden era of our city's R & B sound.

"That whole genre of music we kind of bringing that thing back, and the same thing. It's got that groove, it's got that New Orleans thing to it, and man, those are some of the best songs ever written. That late 40s to early 60s period in New Orleans, man, that's some of the best music ever," according to French.

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