If the roof-raising music in HBO's hit show Treme leaves you wanting more, you're not alone. These four diverse releases go deeper than the show's compilation albums. Jazz is the undisputed star of Treme, the David Simon-created HBO series named after the eponymous New Orleans neighborhood. Though the plot is driven by colorful characters trying to get their lives back on track in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it's the roof-raising music—from old-school jazz to Cajun-style folk tunes—that walks off with the show. Vocalist John Boutté sings the opening theme; the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, brings down the house with "Time Is on My Side."
But for many Treme viewers, the experience is frustrating: Dozens of world-class musicians weave in and out in cameo roles, briefly making an accordion jump or a fiddle weep, before drifting out of frame just seconds later. The music featured can be found on Treme compilation albums, of course, but for those who want more, here are four diverse releases that showcase some of the top-notch New Orleans talent appearing in the series. Artists not profiled here but worthy of exploration: Galactic, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Delfayo Marsalis, The Soul Rebels Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield, and The Rebirth Brass Band.