John at the Circle Bar in New Orleans.

John Swenson and Mac Rebennack (Dr. John) at the Blue Note offices in New York.

Remembering John Swenson

Immersed in the ever-expanding musical universe of the 1960s, John Swenson also loved to write. Together those two passions combined to form his life-long commitment to listening—really listening to try to understand what the music means to both music makers and music listeners. And to write about it. New Orleans seemed to him, to be the heart of this jazz-and-blues-and rock’n’roll that pointed to everything that came before and since. He moved here to discover even more. He became friends with many musicians. He loved them and their music and encouraged them by writing (or sometimes not writing) about moments transcendentally good or horrifyingly bad. And they loved him for that. This was his life—a joyous life, sharing many stories.

A Musical Celebration in his honor will be held in New Orleans, at the Broadside on May 14 from 5 to 10 PM. Proceeds from the event will go to the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic. His family suggests that those who cannot attend may consider donating online to this worthy organization that offers support to the New Orleans music community. – Barbara Mathe

Honor the life of John Swenson by supporting the musicians and culture bearers of New Orleans. 

Please note In Memory of John Swenson