Dancin' with the Boys
As with many Northerners, Elise Morris is familiar with the winter doldrums. Her solution? Head south to a land with warmer climes and brighter colors, namely, New Orleans. “Don’t give me New York City,” she sings on “Mardi Gras,” the kickoff tune to her album Dancin’ With the Boys (Jazzbo), “I just want something pretty from the Mardi Gras.” While the music doesn’t conjure Professor Longhair or Walter “Wolfman” Washington, it definitely rings with the exuberant spirit of Carnival, which wrapped in February, when snow blanketed a good portion of the country above (and below) the Mason-Dixon Line. Supported by her Band-o-Matic band and a contingent of top-shelf horn players, Morris speaks for anyone dreaming of ditching the snowboots and trekking down Bourbon Street for some fried fish and hot jazz. Apparently, the song hit a nerve, not just with the snowbound, but perhaps with those longing to escape the confines of their own homes during COVID lockdown; released as a single, “Mardi Gras” went to No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes Jazz Charts and No. 3 on the Billboard Jazz Digital Sales Charts.