The music-heavy HBO drama Tremé returns for it’s much-anticipated third season tomorrow night.
The story revolves around a colorful cast of New Orleans residents who are struggling to rebuild their lives and repair their deep roots in the city. The story begins months after 2005’s hurricane Katrina and the broken levees that devastated the town, putting much of it underwater.
Named after the neighborhood where Jazz was born, Tremé was created by the masterful mind of David Simon, the man behind HBO’s hit, “The Wire”, which has perpetually graced the top of “best show on television” lists, even years after it’s final season.
The famous music of the Crescent City has continued to be a prominent player in the cast, which, among others, includes a tough Mardi Gras indian chief (Clarke Peters), his jazz trumpeter son (Rob Brown), a carefree WWOZ DJ (Steve Zahn), a struggling restaurateur (Kim Dickens), a strong hearted bar owner (Khandi Alexander), a hard working professional trumpeter (Wendell Pierce), a college professor (John Goodman) and his lawyer wife (Melissa Leo) with a soft spot for a moving cause.
Many of the characters are based on real-life New Orleans personalities, which act as “muses” (and consultants) to their on-screen counterparts. Filmed entirely in New Orleans, prominent NOLA citizens and places often play cameos in the stories, including famous Jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Allen Toussaint, Susan Spicer, Jon Cleary, and a number of other well-known New Orleans residents.
Overall, the intertwined stories are interesting and full of life, played with true mastery by the incredibly skilled cast, who almost immediately invest the viewer in their lives, trials, and victories. The soundtrack, which seems to perpetually be playing in the background (and occasionally taking center-stage) is second-to-none on television, mixed with a heavy dose of blues and brass, as well as traditional New Orleans R&B, jazz, Mardi Gras Indian, and much more spice. Each episode’s score is, in itself, a reason for fans of blues, and and New Orleans music in particular, to tune in.