Real jazz music - straight from the roots.

Smile Direct Club or Orthodontist? Which is better?

Smile Direct Club vs. Orthodontist

Today, the world is turning into one massive digitalized platform. Almost everywhere you go, you can see the introduction of new technologies every day, making life more convenient and hassle-free. One major development in the world of orthodontics is the introduction of clear aligners.

Clear aligners have been around for more than a decade now. However, due to its ever-increasing popularity against traditional braces, several newer companies are entering the clear aligner market.

One such company is Smile Direct Club. And most people tend to get confused between – Smile Direct Club vs. Orthodontist. Which one to go for? This may be the same case with you. You may have gotten so comfortable with the traditional concept of getting metal braces from your local orthodontist that adopting a new method that doesn’t involve a face-to-face dentist appointment overwhelms you. But that’s what Smile Direct Club is all about!

If you want to read some Smile Direct reviews and the benefits of choosing Smile Direct Club over an orthodontist, just read on!

Let us first answer one of the most asked questions,

Does Smile Direct Club Aligners Actually Work?

Align Technology’s Invisalign first dominated the market of clear aligners. If you know what Invisalign is, you already have an idea about Smile Direct aligners. Let’s have a quick look at the difference between Smile Direct Club vs. Invisalign.

Both the treatments use clear and transparent aligners to fix teeth misalignments without the use of metal/ bracket braces. However, the difference is that Smile Direct Club is all about remote teledentistry. Meaning, from getting the impression of your teeth to putting on your aligners and checking progress, everything can be done online from the comfort of your home. In contrast, Invisalign treatment is an in-office treatment.

Smile Direct aligners are also popular for their affordability and fast treatment period. Compared to the traditional orthodontic braces, Smile Direct aligners can fix minor teeth alignment in less than six months. Additionally, Smile Direct aligners cost up to 60% lesser than traditional braces.

Now, the solid answer for whether Smile Direct aligners actually work depends entirely on your misalignment issue and overall treatment experience. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Smile Direct Club has helped more than one million satisfied customers, and maybe you can be their next happy grinner! You can visit their official website to read some smile direct reviews and see for yourself.

Here’s how a Smile Direct Club treatment proceeds:

  • For taking the impressions of your teeth, you can visit a local “Smile Store,” and get the impression through a 3D scanner. If your city doesn’t have a Smile Store, you can always purchase the impression kit online, read the instructions, take the impression of your teeth at home, and submit the mold.
  • Once the technicians and dentists receive your mold at the center, they’ll create your custom aligners and plan a treatment accordingly.
  • They’ll get in touch with your online and take you through the entire treatment plan. If you proceed with the treatment, you’ll receive your custom aligner online. All treatment-related queries, updates, and weekly progress updates will be done online.

Difference between Smile Direct aligners and Orthodontist Treatment:

One major difference between a typical Smile Direct Club treatment and at the Orthodontist can be that the former uses a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and the latter doesn’t. Whether you are dealing with crowding or gapping issues, Smile Direct Club uses the same clear aligner option. This still a great option. However, if you have major gapping issues or want to fix a more severe misalignment issue like an overbite or underbite, the orthodontic treatment can be your best option!

At Smile Direct Club, you already know the kind of treatment you’ll receive involving a custom clear aligner. However, at the orthodontist, you have a choice to discover more available treatment options, which is beneficial for you. But some major drawbacks of a face-to-face orthodontist treatment include weekly follow-up appointments at the clinic, longer treatment duration, and of course, more financial investment!

Smile Direct Club vs. Orthodontist Treatment: Which is Better?

If you still haven’t made up your mind as to which treatment you should go for, we hope our recommendation gives you some clarity. Choosing between a Smile Direct Club and Orthodontist is quite easy if you know the severity of your teeth misalignment. For this, we recommend you get a consultation at any local dental clinic.

Once you know your teeth issues, you can contact either of the two options. You can talk to a designated dentist and discuss the treatment more. Smile Direct Club can be the best option for mild-to-moderate teeth misalignments like crowding, gapping, or some minor bite issues as they fix issues faster and at a more affordable price. An average Smile Direct treatment costs $1,895.

On the other hand, traditional metal braces can cost you anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. However, if you have major problems and don’t mind investing some money and time in the treatment, an orthodontist is your go-to!

Having said that, when it comes to convenience, affordability, and faster results, we definitely recommend the Smile Direct Club aligners for people with minor teeth misalignments.

Jazz for everyone – Uncle Lionel Baptist

My Favorite Uncle – Uncle Lionel Baptist’s

Uncle Lionel Baptist’s voice sounds like a silk stocking drug across sandpaper. “It was so big,” he rasped, “there was a fellow in the front who helped pull it along . . . he was bigger than me and when he stopped, I stopped. Sometimes he’d start pulling while I was still playing. It was a mess.” Uncle Lionel was recollecting his first store bought drum. “It was a WPA model.”

Uncle Lionel pounded out his very first bass drum from a number five washtub and used a pot lid as a cymbal. His first band was the Pet Milk Six Brass Band and they would parade from his living room to his back porch, and sometimes around the neighborhood. Lionel’s childhood Treme sounded like a place to frolic unlike the padlocked doors and razor wire fences of today. Lionel’s father gave him the kazoo he played in his childhood brass band. After Lionel mentioned the kazoo, he went to his bedroom and dug around for it. He found it and showed me; the color was dulled but there was no rust.

According to Lionel, “Back then almost every house had an upright piano and people would get together and sing. Everybody was singing and playing and having fun.” Uncle Lionel’s father was a “multi-instrumentalist”; his mother sang and his brother played guitar. Having a good time then was simple and music was ubiquitous. Some of the adults would indulge in a cocktail. “It was like lots of houses was speakeasies, and some people had to have their little liquor and there was lots of home brew. I used to get paid to wash bottles.”

Uncle Lionel who is a clothes horse, smiled as he remembered his first school-band uniform, “the jacket was blue and gold and had white pants.” According to longtime “nephews” and “nieces”, Uncle Lionel has a closet full of suits, some with the price tag still dangling from the sleeve. When not dressed in brass band regalia, he is always resplendent, often in a suit, tie and fiercely shined shoes, sometimes with spats, and always a fedora to top it off. Uncle Lionel, with his martial bearing and dancer’s grace, can make any clothes look good.

In addition to playing at home and school, Uncle Lionel sang at church. He was a Catholic, but his parents were also involved with “the Spiritualist church” where he sang in a quartet. He explained his voice was higher then, and even now can break into a soprano if he “has a little alcohol in him.” (I think it is fair to say that Uncle Lionel likes his beer. Before I was conferred nephew status and was just another fawning admirer, I would ask him after he played a show if he would like a beer. His inevitable response was, “does a fish like water?”)

These days Uncle Lionel plays a special “cut down” bass drum. He’s carried it all over the world. He’s lived a lifetime of singing and playing, but also sewing, shining shoes, peddling coal, brick-laying, floor work and even “funky work”(plumbing). He’s always been good at watching and learning, and he’s had to be to survive.

Uncle Lionel is going to be seventy-four on February 19, and he’s going to be doing the only work he does these days, playing bass drum for The Treme Brass Band, a band he helped found. He will be at Donnas that Friday, like he is every Friday night. Uncle Lionel will be pounding that bass drum, whisking that cymbal, growling and purring songs about this city and its people and their loves and losses.

Uncle Lionel has carried the weight of many things in his life, including the oppression of Jim Crow. He remains unbent. I am proud to be one of Uncle Lionel’s nephews and vow to remain unbowed, just like him, despite the weight of the new repression, and the burden of the foolish and immoral war in Iraq.

Join with Uncle Lionel at Louis Armstrong Park on 20 January, and let everybody know we are not lying down. Together our voices can be heard.

Eddie King’s jazz

Eddie King – Jazz Story

Eddie King’s jazz journey had an unusual beginning; he didn’t begin playing until after he left New Orleans and moved with his mother to Dayton, Ohio. He was thirteen years old when he saw the jazz legend Lester Young.

“Of course, I wanted to play tenor saxophone just like he did,” he said, “but the only instrument they had at school was a trombone. I was just a kid so I took it.” The rest, as they say, is history. New Orleans provided Eddie’s musical roots, however, and he considers that a good thing. “New Orleans music has that swing,” he said.

As we spoke, several members of The Treme Brass band filed onto the simple wooden riser that serves as a stage at Donna’s Bar and Grill, and adjusted their instruments. Eddie leaned on the bar, his back to his band-mates. “Give me a Cognac, darling,” he said to the bartender.

“You have a tab,” she said. She gave him a look of mock accusation and yanked off a piece of paper taped to the cash register. Charlie, the co-owner along with the eponymous Donna, was dispensing beer to some tourists at the other end of the bar. Charlie has sensitive hearing when his money is being discussed. Eddie knows that. He had started over by the time Charlie looked up. Eddie stopped at one stool on the way and clasped a woman’s neck in a quiet hello. He had a huddled remonstration with Charlie. Eddie got his Cognac. The Treme Brass Band plays at Donnas every Friday. I think this scene has happened before.

Eddie has a faint hint of a Midwestern accent, but with a pronounced New Orleans lilt. His speech and mannerisms convey a sense of wry amusement toward the world. When asked about music, he becomes most enthusiastic discussing his teachers. “Yvonne Bush at Clark High School produced so many musicians he said, “I should have listened more to her.”

By the time he graduated high school, Eddie was playing a lot of gigs. But he got married and had children and needed a more reliable source of income so he joined the union and became a longshoreman. (An all too common tale.) Eddie didn’t play music for over twenty years.

Eddie returned to playing music in the late 80s and early 90s. It was a time of resurgence in New Orleans brass band music. Bands like The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Rebirth Brass Band played brass band music with a funk feel. People became interested in both the old and new types of music. Eddie reentered the local music scene.

When he retired as a longshoreman, Eddie decided to return to school. He is currently studying music at Southern here in New Orleans under Professor Kid Jordan and Auguste Flury. He laughed when asked if he was getting his degree, “No,” he said and touched his horn, “I’m just trying to learn more about this.”

Eddie began playing with Benny Jones in the Treme Brass Band a few years ago. He played with Milton Jones, Benny’s father many years ago. As Eddie sipped his cognac, I asked him who was a better drummer, the father or son. Benny, who had bought himself a beer, pulled his stool a little closer. Eddie just shook his head and laughed.

Benny Jones and The Treme Brass Band

Benny Jones founded the Treme Brass Band in 1993. Elliot W. Callier, a.k.a. Stackman, and the incomparable Lionel Baptist are the only founding members of The Treme Brass Band who remain with the band today. Stackman who can give Lionel a run for his money as a raconteur, chose not to talk with this reporter and said, “I get paid to tell stories.” If you have the money or he is in the mood, he has got some good ones.

Stackman wouldn’t say how he got his nickname. Lionel Baptist, who is many people’s uncle in spirit only, said, “Everybody who plays music in Treme got an alias.”

Benny comes from a musical family and his father Milton was a noted drummer. Benny has been involved in music all of his life. His most memorable moment was playing the Hollywood Bowl in the 1980s with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who were at the peak of their popularity. Benny said, “I had some serious flutterings in my stomach looking out over that crowd, but I played anyway. I hadn’t ever been nervous at a crowd since then.”

Benny feels that leading a brass band requires as much business acumen as it does musical ability. It is indisputable that Benny’s ability to “handle up on the business” has made the Treme Brass band one of the most successful brass bands in the city. Benny feels his social connections in the sixth ward help his band’s bookings. Some of those connections were forged in New Orleans most prominent social and pleasure clubs. He said, “In the fifties, I belonged to the Sixth Ward Diamonds, and in the sixties, the Sixth Ward Highsteppers, and now I belong to the Black Men of Labor.”

Although Benny takes responsibility for the bands business decisions, he shares musical and creative ones. The Treme Brass Band is recording its third disk and according to both Uncle Lionel and Benny, all the band members are contributing “a little this or that” to the songs. Both Lionel and Benny were close mouthed about the as yet unnamed disk, which will be coming out sometime this year. Benny expects the disk to be popular with both current Treme Brass Band fans and the new ones he hopes to make in our event: A Jazz Funeral for Democracy.

Carnival season has begun, and despite portrayals in the media to the contrary, Mardi Gras is not solely about flashing body parts and rowdy and lascivious behavior. For locals, Mardi Gras is about the music, the skirl of the trumpet, the thump of the bass drum, the oomph of the tuba; it is an ebullient ramble through streets cloaked in temporary mystery. Mardi Gras is certainly not about being the stationary target for some rich Republican on a float.

Brass Band music at its purest is street music and is the heart of the carnival sound. Brass Band music celebrates the ritual egalitarian revelry of carnival and the Treme Brass Band plays it as well as anyone.

Despite the Carnival season, we must mourn the death of our eight Louisiana brothers, indeed the death of all who have died in the Iraq war. Brass band music allows mourners to confront death head on without artifice or banality. It encourages grief, which in time allows healing. Unfortunately this funeral is a symbol of many funerals. If each funeral cortege from this war was linked end to end, the procession would encircle the world.

It is traditional to dance and celebrate after a jazz funeral, particularly during carnival. But at the end of the day on 20 January, the parade must transform into a march: a march to uphold our laws, preserve our civil rights, end the illegal war and restore honor to our country.

How to Attend a Jazz Funeral

Different occasions call for different dress. A Jazz funeral is no different. How do you dress for one? If you take your cue from the musicians that participate you can’t go wrong.

Musicians wear comfortable black shoes with white socks or spats. Check out Treme bass drummer and local heartthrob Uncle Lionel Baptist and his styling spats. They wear black trousers, a white shirt or blouse, a black sports coat and a cap emblazoned with a band name. It is not unusual for a player to belong to several different bands simultaneously, and to have affiliations with a quite a few over the course of a lifetime. Players regard their caps with reverence and if you are ever given one you will know you have arrived.

On the day of the funeral, musicians and mourners gather at the church. In our case we will meet at Louis Armstrong Park at 10:00 a.m. If you play a brass band instrument, and are properly dressed and prepared to play dirges, you are welcome to march and play with the band. The instruments commonly used in a brass band are snare drum, bass drum, trumpet, tuba, sousaphone, saxophone, clarinet and trombone. The band will depart from the park at 11:00 a.m. sharp, heading to the river.

If you are not a brass band player, then you essentially have two options, you can either second line or pick a spot along the parade route and watch from there. Second-lining is a term which encompasses all the different ways you can follow a parade by foot: a mournful walk, a happy stroll, a spirited dance or as part of a frenzied undulating mass. Until we reach the riverside, we hope people will honor our wish for a solemn occasion. There will be times as the band plays that they will walk very slowly: one foot is placed forward and sideways, the other moves to join it, then that foot moves forward and the step repeats again. Practice at home, get the feel if doing it right and when you get here you will know more than many of the locals.

The cardinal rule a second-liner must follow is never get among the official procession. Careers have been cut short and avocations have been lost because a players’ horn got hit and busted his lip or knocked out a tooth. You must be respectful of them and give them space to play. All other rules are somewhat optional, this one is not. This rule is not only for the musicians’ safety, but for yours. Nobody wants to get a tuba up side the head. This rule also applies to those standing and watching the band pass by.

In a jazz funeral following the release of the departed’s body, the band begins to swing in a celebration of their comrade’s life. The signal is given by the snare drummer, whose drum is muffled with a rag inside; he will wave the rag and the band will launch into Didn’t he Ramble. The entire procession will then begin a tour of the deceased’s favorite haunts: bars, lounges, pool halls, restaurants and bordellos. In our case, we will adjourn to Washington Park on Frenchmen street where there will be more music, beer and food. (The trinity of New Orleans’ delights.)

It is not unusual for a brass band player to have a pre-march cocktail. It is almost obligatory to have one after the procession. We certainly don’t discourage that tradition but we ask that you mindful of your safety, and drink responsibly. You do not want you to conclude your visit to New Orleans with a trip to Central Lock-up. Have fun!

A Tale of Two Jazz Funerals

New Orleans is generally acknowledged as the birthplace of jazz. Buddy Bolden, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory, King Oliver and the inimitable Louis Armstrong practiced their craft in the Crescent City. In the early twentieth century jazz musicians didn’t rate very high on the actuarial table, so not many years after the birth of jazz a curious custom arose-the jazz funeral.

Jazz funerals follow a tradition which is rooted in the beginnings of the Anglo-American slave trade. Slaves saw death as freedom. As Simon Schama wrote, “To die in the Carribean was to go home.” Funerals were therefore seen as an occasion for joy as well as sadness.

Musicians of all races and ethnicity have told me the most important criteria for inclusion into the jazz community is not the color of your skin, but how well you play. Jazz funerals are multiracial events and have been for some time. There is no question, however, that at least in its inception, the jazz funeral was a ceremony defiant of the white oligarchy of Jim Crow and a way to celebrate the lives of some of the heroes of African-American culture.

The funerals were a moving tribute to the deceased. They also allowed participants to be involved in something culturally significant and escape the persona of their everyday, often menial job. The Mardi Gras Indians and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs were other ways that people of color, who were pushed to the economic and social margins, asserted their cultural identity. All of these customs and traditions struggle to evolve, and many are in danger of being relegated to a museum.

This danger is occurring not only because of lack interest in jazz funerals, but because of a lack of respect for the participant musicians and lack of knowledge of their wishes. Their wishes deserve to be respected because many of these people create music revered around the world. Brass band and jazz music, which has always been intertwined in New Orleans, is a vital part of American and Louisiana culture. The traditions, the ground on which the music stands, are eroding, just like our barrier islands.

Two jazz funerals in 2004 showed the beautiful and the ugly, the sublime and the surreal, and the best and the worst of this changing ceremony. Tuba Fats was emblematic of the brass band musicians in this city. He scrambled to make a living, including a sidewalk gig working for tips every Saturday in front of Saint Louis Cathedral. He had poor health-care benefits and made poor life-style choices. He endured countless drudgeries just to keep going. Yet Tuba was one of the most popular musicians to ever play in this city. Joe Torregano, a fine clarinet and saxophone player, said, “Tuba was probably the second most photographed musician to ever come from New Orleans. Only Louis Armstrong was photographed more.” Tuba was also the composer of the oft-covered brass band staple Food Stamp Blues. With all his talent, charisma and goodwill going for him, Tuba should have done well. But he passed on before his time, dying at fifty-three.

Perhaps because he was so revered, Tuba’s jazz funeral drew more people than any in recent memory. The procession traversed the middle of the French Quarter and several thousand people, many from the music community and many more who were not, played, watched or second-lined. From the outset the funeral was disorganized. There was no designated leader, and no command hierarchy, which with that many people was a recipe for disaster. The musicians didn’t stay together, and at times those in the vanguard were separated by several blocks and a milling crowd from those behind them. Nobody was on the same page musically, and only one or two songs were played as a group. Instead of dirges there were only fast-paced songs, most of which could barely be heard. Vendors in trucks trolled for customers, pushing beer and hot sausage po-boys on the crowd. A man jumped up on the horse-drawn casket, and sat between sprays of flower videotaping the chaotic mess. It was more like a wild Mardi Gras day than a funeral.

Frog Joseph’s funeral was dramatically different. Frog was one of the greatest trombone players to come from this city. After a beautiful service, which featured the performance by three trombones of a haunting rendition of The Wabash Blues (one of Frog’s signature tunes), people assembled in front of the church. The funeral route was in a more sedate area of New Orleans than Tuba’s, between St. Bernard and Esplanade, and the procession was mostly comprised of family and old friends. Members of the procession knew where they should be, bystanders stood solemnly on the curb, and the procession wound to the graveyard without any problem. The cream of New Orleans brass band and jazz players were there. The old dirges they played were moving and cathartic.

The difference between the two funerals is directly related to their organization. Three of Frog’s sons are prominent New Orleans musicians and they were friends with many of the musicians who played. Kirk Joseph, a big man who is a wonderful tuba and sousaphone player, spoke to the crowd at the church service. He promised, “As long as I’m alive my family will be involved in New Orleans music.” (Kirk has a son who is a budding musician.)

Kirk lived up to his statement and his father’s memory. He was absolutely in charge at his father’s funeral (with lots of subtle help by his family), and his determination that there not be any silliness was respected. He helped prove that New Orleans’ residents could respect family and tradition and the inherent beauty and grace of a jazz funeral and still have a good time.

Music city jazz fest will start in Louis Armstrong Park, which is in the Treme neighborhood. It was there that many of the first notes of jazz were played. Fittingly, the Treme Brass Band will be the lead brass band for the Music city jazz fest, though many of the city’s other fine musicians are expected to participate.

The funeral will be a symbol of a city’s mourning: mourning for our dead and wounded in Iraq, mourning for the countless innocent lives that have been lost, mourning, most of all, for those lost civil liberties that used to define being an American. The organizers intend to exercise control over this event, just like Kirk Joseph did for his father’s funeral: there will be dirges until the Patriot Act is buried in the river, there will be no people stumbling among the band, there will be no grandstanding to get on television, and parade marshals and police will be in charge.

Together we can show that the jazz funeral has new and vital meaning. Together we can send a signal of unity in our sorrow. Together we can adhere to the traditions of this very solemn occasion. Together we can say some people in our nation still care.

Arcadia Jazz Band

As a young man, trumpeter Clive Smith was a regular on the London scene in the ‘60s. Later he became internationally recognised as a dancer and choreographer. A search for a quieter life led him to the sleepy town of Axminster in rural Devon.

His retirement from showbiz went smoothly enough until Kathy Stobart of the Humphrey Lyttelton Band visited his shop one day. The two became firm friends.

Clive was subsequently bullied into retrieving his trumpet from the attic and getting involved in the local jazz scene. Clive was soon leading the East Devon Jazz Orchestra, and the smaller professional band that emerged from that became known as the Arcadia Jazz Band.

The strong connection with Humphrey Lytleton has been maintained. The line-up of two saxes, trumpet and trombone plus rhythm section reflects that of Humph’s band in recent years, and Pete Strange, Humph’s arranger/trombonist, has written several arrangements especially for Arcadia.

Seven years on, Clive has managed to attract some of the best jazz musicians in the SouthWest to Arcadia. With quality musicians, and the eight-piece line-up, the band can effortlessly recreate the sounds of the Big Band era one minute, and take you back to New Orleans the next.
In recent years the band has shared stages with Kenny Ball, Don Lusher’s “Best Of British”, George Melly, Helen Shapiro, Marion Montgomery, Laurie Holloway, John Critchenson, and of course, Humphrey Lytleton.