On December 12th, 2012, CREOLE will host its 1st holiday tasting with live New Orleans music afterwards. No one wants to miss trying gator and jambalaya with coconut rice. So, register at our ticketing page for some great food, drinks and music.

 Jambalaya Brass Band

If you find that your musical and cultural diet has felt a little bland lately and been wondering where you might spice it up, well search no more—you won’t want to miss the master musical chefs of the Jambalaya Brass Band! These seasoned New York purveyors of authentic American ‘roots’ music play a delightful spicy musical gumbo of New Orleans fare from the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, to the Rebirth and Dirty Dozen brass bands, to the heights of their own modern sounds which incorporate elements of R&B, Gospel, Funk, Zydeco, Latin, Hip-Hop and Be-bop. This tight and tasty ensemble is the ultimate in New Orleans party bands which is amply demonstrated in their new CD release It’s a Jungle Out There.

The Jambalaya Brass Band is a group of seasoned musical pros from a variety of impressive previous musical settings as diverse as the Duke Ellington Orchestra to the Lounge Lizards, yet they have a knack for integrating these disparate musical experiences into one dynamic setting. They embody the history of the best American music of the last hundred years while at the same time suggesting a prescient trajectory of America’s musical future. Some of the Band’s arrangements are traditional, and many are original and innovative while the playing is precise and spontaneous at the same time, yet all is conceived with imagination and wit. Because after-all, let’s face it, this is New Orleans party music and, if anything, the Jambalaya Brass Band is a joyous and exuberant musical celebration as they have proven on many occasions. From the Warner Bros. film

Where the Wild Things Are, to the Britney Spears Super Bowl Party in New York City at Planet Hollywood, to the half-time Mardi Gras show for the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden this group of talented musical revelers has literally made the party.

Jambalaya’s foundation is provided by Chauncey Yearwood’s bass drum and cymbal; Washington Duke’s snare drum and cymbal; and Ron Caswell’s tuba—and this rhythm section

cooks with a flavor as driving as it is subtle! Filling out this tasty gumbo and adding the spice on top is the trombone, vocals and percussion of Curtis Fowlkes; the trumpet, vocals and percussion of Walt Szymanski; and the tenor sax, vocals, percussion of leader and founder Ric Frank, who has worked with the Ellington Orchestra. In addition, the group is commercially flexible and viable in that they can provide a unit of five to nine players in a live setting—and what accomplished players these guys are!

It’s a Jungle Out There is a rollicking musical journey and a great celebration of American music while at the same time an appetizing preview of what this group is capable of live. Putting on It’s a Jungle Out There at a party is a sure bet, but seeing these talented players live really brings the party directly home to you.

” Jambalaya could stand side-by-side with most any New Orleans brass band in terms of sheer exuberance and energy . . . a party from start to finish.”

–Henry Smith for All About Jazz


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Early Roots of Jazz

The African influence on New Orleans music can trace its roots at least back to Congo Square in New Orleans in 1835, when slaves would congregate there to play music and dance on Sundays. African music, local music, including that of such local Whites as Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Along with such popular European musical forms popular in the city, perhaps most notably the brass band traditions, the cultural mix laid the groundwork for the New Orleans musical art forms to come.

The earliest form was dixieland, which has sometimes been called traditional jazz, ‘New Orleans’, and ‘New Orleans jazz’. However, the tradition of jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether.

By the 1890s a man by the name of Poree hired a band led by cornetist Buddy Bolden, many of whose contemporaries as well as many jazz historians consider to be the first prominent jazz musician. The music was not called jazz at this time, consisting of marching band music with brass instruments and dancing. If anything, Bolden could be said to have been a blues player. The actual term “jazz” was first “jass”, the etymology of which is still not entirely clear. The connotation is sexual in nature, as many of the early performers played in rough working class venues.

The use of brass marching bands came long before jazz music through their use in the military, though in New Orleans many of the best-known musicians had their start in brass marching bands performing dirges as well as celebratory and upbeat tunes for New Orleans jazz funeral processions from the 1890s onward. The tradition drove onward with musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Henry “Red” Allen and King Oliver. The presence of marching bands lives on today in The Big Easy, with musicians such as the Marsalis family doing some of their earliest work in such bands.


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A Holiday Tasting Straight from the Bayou

On December 12, 2012, Creole Restaurant located in the heart of East Harlem, will be hosting it’s first holiday tasting. Adding a twist to the traditional holidays, Creole will be serving Gator Étouffée, Jambalaya ya ya with coconut rice and crab meat and shrimp creole. Festivities will include pairings of wines and cocktails. Creole is so pleased to be partnering with Greenhook Ginsmith from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And Greenhook will be creating cocktails from their American Dry Gin.

Steven DeAngelo and his brother founded their distillery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn where they launched their Flagship American Dry Gin in February last year…our Gin is vacuum distilled, which allows us to distill at lower temperatures which creates a highly aromatic and full flavored gin whose flavors havent been destroyed by excessive heat, particularly the delicate floral aromas of the chamomile and elderflower we use in our Gin….We received 94 Points from Tasting Panel Magazine, making our gin one of the highest rated gins in the world…the Wall Street Journal called it “one of the boldest, most interesting gins on the market”…we are being carried by some of NY’s top bars, restaurants, and retailers including The Gramercy Tavern, Tribecca Grill, The Spotted Pig, The Red Rooster, Astor Wines, and Park Avenue Liquors to name a few…. 
A Holiday Tasting Straight from the Bayou is $35.00 per person. The tasting will be held on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 7-9 p.m. Afterwards, there will be a LIVE NEW ORLEANS JAM SESSION.

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Jambalaya – Étouffée – Creole – Gumbo – The heart of Louisiana Cuisine



When many people think of creole or cajun cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is gumbo. But there is more to this cuisine than gumbo. So, what is the difference between creole, gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée? Well, jambalaya is like a distant paella. A rice dish that’s flexible and can use a variety of meat or seafood stock. Gumbo is a soup but very spicy. In different parts of the American South, there are different versions depending on what state folks settled in. In essence, étouffée is smothered seafood and creole is a sauce served over rice.

The subtelties are in the texture. And you can experience all of that at Creole Restaurant located in East Harlem/El Barrio at 2167 Third Avenue on 118th Street. And almost everynight there is live music. To make a reservation, visit


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It’s all about the Roux

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” –chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions. In Louisiana, the method for making roux is handed down as an heirloom. Each family prides itself on creating traditional foods, from gumbo to etouffee, with its own, time-tested roux. It’s the backbone of flavor for their cooking.

Roux can be made with a variety of oils and animal fats. They are commonly made with vegetable oil, olive oil, or clarified butter, but can also be made with bacon grease or other rendered fats. Since an oil-based roux will separate as the flour settles to the bottom, clarified butter is the preferred fat to use when making a roux for future use, as it will harden when refrigerated, trapping the flour in suspension.

There are four varieties of roux: white, blond, brown, and dark brown. The different colors are a result of how long the roux is cooked; white is cooked for the shortest time, while dark brown cooks the longest. White and blond roux are the most common, used to thicken sauces, soups, and chowders. Brown and dark brown roux have more flavor, but less thickening power than white or blond roux.


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Until the Lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” – African proverbs

In the 16th century the term creole was used in parts of the United States to describe native born persons who were descendants of French, Spanish and Portuguese who were settlers in Latin America, the West Indies and Southern United States.

In Louisiana, specifically they were French speaking white descendants of early French and Spanish settlers. These creoles settled between Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast and small communities in eastern Missouri and Southern Alabama.

Once the Spanish took possession of New Orleans, they began to use the word criollo with regards to the French. The French and Spanish born in Nouvelle Orleans were then considered creoles while those born in the Old World were simply called French or Spanish.

Louisiana was unlike any place in the United States at the time because of the racial makeup. When the French settlers moved to Louisiana, the placage system (legal system to handle inter-racial mixing and off-springs) was set up due to a shortage of accessible white women. The French wanted to expand its population in the new world, however men were not expected to marry until their early thirties and premarital sex was inconceivable. African women soon became the concubines of these white male colonists, who were in some cases, the sons of noblemen, military men, plantation owners, etc. Later, these wealthy white Creole men would marry white women and, in some cases, they would possess two families –one with the white woman they were legally married to and one with their mistress of color. The offspring from their mistresses were then grouped into a new class of creoles known as gens de couleur, or free people of color. This class of people would soon expand when refugees from Haiti and other French speaking colonies would migrate to New Orleans, effectively creating a new middle class between the white French Creoles and slaves.

It was not limited to Louisiana but flourished in the cities of Natchez, Biloxi, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, St. Augustine and Pensacola, Florida.This class of colored people was unique to the South as they were not in the same category as African slaves. They were elite members of society who were often leaders in business, agriculture, politics, and the arts. At one time the center of their residential community was the French Quarter.

Many were educated, owned their own property and businesses. Additionally, some were even slave-owners. They formed a third class in the slave society. This meant that pre-civil war race was mainly divided into four categories. These were white, black, creoles, and free people of color. French Creoles objected to the fact that the term Creole was used to describe Free People of Color but their culture and ideals were often mirrored by them. French Creoles spoke French while Black Creoles spoke Louisiana Creole which was a mixture of English, French, African or Spanish. The end of the civil war was a threat to the Louisiana Creoles of Color because this brought about the two-tiered class system that existed in the rest of the country that was divided predominately by race: black and white.


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Zydeco music

Zydeco is the music of Southwest Louisiana’s Black Creoles, a group of people of mixed African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American and European descent. This Black Creole society that beget zydeco is traditionally rural, French-speaking and is somewhat intertwined with the Cajun culture.

Zydeco music is a relatively new genre of world music, having come about as a style of its own in only the mid-1900s. It is a derivative of “La-La” music (the shared music of the Cajuns and the Creoles), as well as blues, jure’ (syncopated a cappella religious songs), and in more recent years, zydeco has taken many cues from R&B and even hip-hop, proving that it’s a constantly evolving genre.
Zydeco bands generally include an accordion, a modified washboard called a frottoir, electric guitar, bass and drums. Secondary zydeco instruments include fiddles, keyboards and horns. Above is one of the best Zydeco bands in the country. Listen and enjoy.

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