During a normal month of May, New Orleans Jazz clarinetist Tim Laughlin would be running from one gig to another in the middle of Jazz Fest. But the pandemic of 2020 stopped the music, and Tim gave his neighbors ‘The Isolation Blues’.
The COVID pandemic of 2020 brought an eerie quiet to the French Quarter. You would normally hear the music of street musicians, the occasional brass band, New Orleans jazz, kids tapping out a rhythm on a bucket, the clip-clop of horse and buggy, and the voices of people. But with businesses boarded up, visitors gone and residents staying home, all is quiet. It’s a sad quiet.
a small taste of new orleans jazz
With all live music silenced, and beautiful Spring weather outdoors, Tim Laughlin stepped outside onto his balcony overlooking a French Quarter street. He sat in a chair and started playing his clarinet. “Neighbors were cracking the windows and coming out,” Laughlin recalls. “And I like the way it sounded from hitting the wood balcony floor, bouncing out into the buildings and the air, the harmonics and overtones all blended together.” And it became an afternoon treat for the neighborhood. People brought lawn chairs, a glass of wine, and they sat quietly and enjoyed the sound of New Orleans jazz that came from a lone clarinet. It was haunting, soulful and comforting. It was normal.
The isolation blues
On the day of my visit, Laughlin had scribbled down a few notes and chords on a sheet of music paper. The page was titled, ‘The Isolation Blues’, a song he wrote a few hours earlier. He introduced the tune to his scattered audience on the sidewalk below and got a few chuckles. Then he played the slow bluesy song, the notes echoing a feeling shared by most. These were lonely times but the music made it feel a little better. It felt like home.
Tim laughlin debuts ‘The isolation blues’
More about new orleans jazz great tim laughlin
Tim is a native of New Orleans and has played with some of the Crescent City’s greatest jazz musicians. He has recorded a dozen solo albums which include some of his original compositions. During the isolation of the 2020 COVID pandemic, Tim released a new music CD. Be sure to check out “New Standards”.