September 7, 2017
Educators, Aid Workers Gauge Harvey’s Impact on Musicians
DOWNBEAT — Judging from the flood-related atrocities in New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina in 2005) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (an unnamed storm that deluged the city last August), it could be months and possibly even years before officials can assess the full impact of Hurricane Harvey’s toll on Houston.
In the city and surrounding regions in Texas and western Louisiana, more than 70 people were killed and over 1 million displaced by the Category 4 hurricane’s rainfall, which began on Aug. 25 and continued for several days, with up to several feet of rain destroying homes and businesses.
While news media have covered many aspects of this natural disaster, few have talked about the impact it has had on musicians. In the worlds of jazz, blues and roots music, Houston has been an important incubator, bringing us jazz stars such as Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland and Helen Sung.
But what about the new crop of music professionals? While some clubs presenting jazz have been spared by the storm, many venues have been shuttered because of the damage. To make matters worse, the flood waters rose so quickly that many musicians who evacuated had to leave their instruments and equipment behind.