In New Orleans: A Jazz Odyssey

The feeling hit me as soon as I turned the corner onto St. Peter Street, a pounding in the chest that was as familiar as the humid embrace of a New Orleans summer night. It grew stronger as I crossed Royal Street and saw the two battered music cases hanging over a wrought-iron gate. Brass letters on them spelled out the words PRESERVATION HALL. I heard a bass drum, a sprinkle of piano notes and the growl of a trumpet driving home a blues chorus.

A black man dressed incongruously in a cowboy hat and a loud Hawaiian shirt was...

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