[ NEW ORLEANS IS TWO PLACES NOW: one, loudly welcoming tourists back; the other, a silent stretch of barren homes. There's danger and dislocation around many corners, yet it's hard to feel more secure and connected than while dancing through the streets behind a brass band in a Sunday second line. It's still too soon to fully grasp the effect of the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina. And we've only just begun to hear real echoes of the experience as channeled through music.
Dr. Michael White's Blue Crescent (Basin Street) offers careful musical consideration of questions that are at once highly personal and broadly aesthetic: What did all this mean? How do we move forward without forsaking -- but, rather, by nurturing -- what we once held dear? The album is "not intended to be another trendy 'Katrina CD' or an escape from and cover-up of reality," writes the clarinetist and Xavier University professor in his liner notes. ]