Two Creole families joined forces at Lisner Auditorium Saturday in a program devoted to southern Louisiana jazz and zydeco.
Trumpeter Doc Paulin, 83, and his Dixieland Jazz Band (which includes four of his sons) set the evening's exuberant tone with a sweet-and-sour blend of clarinet and brass. The song list included everything from marching band standards to Professor Longhair's rambunctious brand of rhythm and blues. An electric guitar and bass seemed out of character with some of the older tunes, especially when the band laced them with modern-sounding substitution chords, but Paulin and his sons Kirby on clarinet and Scott on trombone consistently made for a colorful and spirited front line -- woven melodies, brash call-and-response shouts, Kirby's fluid improvisations and his dad's engagingly raspy vocals made certain of that.
Seventy-five-year-old zydeco accordionist Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin then walked out with his "family band," consisting of son Lawrence, grandsons and longtime friend and fiddler Canray Fontenot. Partners in music for 60 years, the elder Ardoin and Fontenot recalled zydeco's roots with a rousing old-timey duet that gave way to zydeco's vigorously syncopated sound of rubboard and drums. Fontenot proved to be a real character, while Bois Sec, Lawrence and even his 9-year-old son, Chris, took on button accordion. The tunes were alternately happy and sad, yet invariably danceable.