Author Archives: Jay Mazza

James Martin’s Something’s Gotta Give in stores tomorrow, 1/13

Saxophonist James Martin’s eagerly awaited follow up to his debut album is due in stores on Friday, January 13. Martin will be performing live at the Louisiana Music Factory at 4 PM on Saturday and celebrating the album release at the Maple Leaf Bar on January 28. In between he is playing his regular gig at RF’s Martini Bar in the French Quarter on the 13th and the 20th.

I have been seeing Martin since his earliest days on stages in New Orleans with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Orleans Avenue when the musicians were still in high school. His technique on the horn, his vocal ability, and his sense of stagecraft have grown as he has developed into a fully realized musician over the course of those fifteen years.

Now with the release of Something’s Gotta Give, his sophomore effort, Martin has come into his own as a songwriter and bandleader. The new album features all original compositions with the exception of two cuts that both reflect his deep roots in New Orleans.

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Royal & Toulouse return to New Orleans at the Howlin’ Wolf, 1/13

The southern soul and blues band was born in Birmingham, Alabama but first made their mark in 2006 in New Orleans. Since then, they have developed as a unit, released critically praised recordings, including last year’s Shake that Reputation, and built a following across the country. They return to where it all began for a show Friday night at the Howlin’ Wolf.

The band, which features the scorching Milyn Satterfield Little on vocals, Christian Herring on guitar, Ricky Little on bass, and Dylan Johnson on drums, released their debut recording, Skull Orchard, in 2009. The album scored worldwide airplay. Their 2011 follow-up, Southern Circus, featured guest appearances from well-known musicians including keyboardist Matt Slocum (Susan Tedeschi, Rich Robinson, Col. Bruce Hampton) and trombonist Chad Fisher (Gregg Allman, Jason Isbell, St. Paul & the Broken Bones).

Their tour last year supporting the latest release took the band through twenty states and included incendiary performances at such storied venues as the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, the Windjammer in Charleston, and the Sidewinder in Austin. A special stop was made at Daytrotter Studios in Davenport, Iowa where the group took time off from the rigors of the road to record five new tracks. The new music is currently featured on their site as well as on Paste magazine.

Deltaphonic opens. Show time is 10 PM. Tickets are available here.

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The Gregory Agid Quartet celebrates Words Are Not Enough
at the Louisiana Music Factory, 1/7

Clarinetist Gregory Agid is a familiar face around town due to his work with a variety of bands and musicians including Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and Kristina Morales. He will be performing at 3 PM on Saturday at the Louisiana Music Factory.

Agid represents a new generation of players attracted to the clarinet. The instrument was an integral part of jazz in its early years and the names of its first practitioners—Johnny Dodds and Alphonse Picou among them—are legendary. But it fell out of favor among jazz musicians when bebop and modern jazz styles became more popular.

Yet, it remained common in New Orleans with prominent players such as Pete Fountain, Dr. Michael White, and Tim Laughlin. Another musician, Alvin Batiste, who was better known as a music instructor than a live performer but had a thoroughly modern approach to the instrument, had a profound influence on Agid and other players of his generation and the generation that preceded him.

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Fareed Haque to host two nights at the Maple Leaf Bar, 1/6–1/7

Guitar virtuoso Fareed Haque will lead his Funk Brothers band this Friday and Saturday night at the Maple Leaf Bar. On Saturday night, two special guests—Victor Wooten and Jeff Coffin—will join the band.

Fareed Haque is one of the greats. Steeped in classical and jazz traditions, he is known for his unique command of the guitar and mastery of different musical styles. His latest ensemble features three other masters of their instruments—pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier, organist Tony Monaco, and New Orleans’ own drummer Stanton Moore.

Haque had a distinctly cosmopolitan upbringing. With a Pakistani father and Chilean mother, he was exposed to a wide variety of styles of music from a very young age. He loved jazz, but took a turn towards classical music when he transferred to Northwestern University in college.

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Gravy celebrates the release of Get Busy Living at Gasa Gasa tonight, 12/9

New Orleans band Gravy will be throwing down uptown at Gasa Gasa tonight while celebrating the release of their latest recording. Produced by Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio of Galactic, Get Busy Living is the strongest effort to date from a band that preaches the gospel of New Orleans funk.

The group, which came together as a band of experienced and working musicians hailing from different parts of the country, is the latest descendent in a long line of bands influenced by the original stream of New Orleans funk going back to the 1960s. According to Mercurio, Gravy, “created their own very original sound with…a bit of neo soul mixed with some indie rock smothered in a whole bunch of New Orleans funk.”

I concur. The lead cut, “Uptown Getdown” percolates with a classic funk groove and tells a Carnival tale familiar to any young reveler in the Crescent City, …”though I haven’t seen the sun in days, I know it’s still shining.”

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Holly Bowling’s classical take on the Grateful Dead, Better Left Unsung in stores tomorrow, 12/9

It’s been over twenty years since the untimely passing of Jerry Garcia and the subsequent dissolution of the Grateful Dead. Since then, their music has become a touchstone for musicians of every genre. Classical musician Holly Bowling adds to the canon with a stellar collection of songs by the Dead played solo on piano complete with improvisations that reflect the unique style of Garcia and his iconic band.

The highlight of the two-disc set is a long, winding version of “Eyes of the World,” which Bowling recreates after painstakingly transcribing every instrument from a particular live recording. For those keeping track, this take on the tune was played on June 18, 1974 in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a tour-de-force reimagining complete with massive chords standing in for Phil Lesh’s bass and the polyrhythms of the two drummers.

Elsewhere, she plays such favorites as “Franklin’s Tower,” “Cassidy,” “Terrapin Station (Suite),” and “China Doll.” The melodies of these classic tunes sneak up out of a symphony of notes.

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James McMurtry brings Complicated Game to Chickie Wah Wah, 12/9

The celebrated tunesmith James McMurtry will be making a rare New Orleans appearance when he graces the stage at Chickie Wah Wah on Friday, December 9. Modern day bluesman Alvin Youngblood Hart opens in support.

McMurtry has been touring extensively in support of his first album in six years, the universally acclaimed collection, Complicated Game. Texas Monthly praised the longtime Austin resident’s new effort, “At a stage where most veteran musicians fall into a groove or rut, McMurtry continues to surprise,” calling the new album, “…a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.”

Longtime fans know McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have been turning ears for over 25 years. He counts fellow southern and roots music songwriters including Jason Isbell among his biggest supporters.

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Pat McLaughlin to
play 2 nights at Chickie Wah Wah, 12/4–12/5

Nashville based singer/ songwriter Pat McLaughlin will be appearing at Chickie Wah Wah on Sunday, December 4 and Monday, December 5. The first evening will feature three of New Orleans’ most in demand sidemen, drummer Carlo Nuccio, bassist Rene Coman, and guitarist John Fohl. On Monday, December 5, McLaughlin will be appearing as a special guest with fellow singer/ songwriter Alex McMurray.

McLaughlin is visiting the city as a member of the legendary John Prine’s touring band. They are playing Friday, December 1 at the Saenger Theater and Saturday night at the Saenger Theater in Mobile. However, McLaughlin is no stranger to the Crescent City. He has been a regular visitor for decades and in the late 1990s, he was a member of the super group, Tiny Town, which featured Tommy Malone and Johnny Ray Allen of the subdudes along with drummer Kenneth Blevins.

During the 1970s, McLaughlin honed his craft in San Francisco and Boston before relocating to Nashville and releasing his first album in 1980. By the late 1980s, McLaughlin was developing a stellar reputation as a songwriter in the world of country music. He earned his first country music award in 1988 for the song, “Lynda,” which was recorded by Steve Wariner. In 1992, Tanya Tucker and Delbert McClinton had a hit with McLaughlin’s song, “Tell Me About It.”

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Zeke Fishhead’s Preservatives Vol. 3: One Red Spiral out now

Since leaving the forever road the Radiators were on since the 1980s, Ed Volker, the band’s leader and principal songwriter, has released an incredible amount of new material and has dug deep into his archives to rework old songs. His latest collection, One Red Spiral, goes back to his youth mining poetry and songs he wrote between 1969 and 1973. It’s available here.

For fishheads this is fascinating material. Here’s Volker’s own take on the genesis of this new project, “In 1977 I surveyed all the lyrics I‘d written up to that point (that winds and roads hadn’t purloined) and compiled the most memorable in a large spiral notebook with a red plastic cover.”

The songs on One Red Spiral began as poetry and some were never recorded in any form. Delving deep into his memory banks and with assistance from his sisters, Volker has reclaimed the music and recently recorded the tunes in his home studio.

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The Asylum Chorus to celebrate latest release with 3 shows, 11/17–11/20

I use the word supergroup a lot. I’m not the only one. But, one could argue that the Asylum Chorus is a super choir. Featuring eight vocalists, the group has a new EP called “Take A Piece” which features six original songs. They will be playing at the Maison tonight (11/17), performing an in-store set at the Louisiana Music Factory on Saturday (11/19), and playing at the Spotted Cat on Sunday (11/20).

“Take A Piece” features songs by five different members of the roots-soul ensemble and was recorded at Esplanade Studios. They enlisted an A-list of musicians to play the music. The backing band on the EP features Danny Abel on guitar, Joe Krown on organ, Doug Belote on drums, and Ryan Clute on bass. Band member Amy Trail handles piano and Wurlitzer duties.

The singers in the Asylum Chorus are Lucas Davenport, Mike Camarata, Melanie Gardner, Hannah Kreiger-Benson, Ashley Shabankareh, Sybil Shanell, Roan Smith, and Amy Trail. They each bring their own strengths to the project and the songs, which the group has honed on stages over the past year, veer all over the place.

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