Author Archives: Jay Mazza

TVD Recommends: Ed Volker’s Jolly House at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/29

There’s a lot going on Saturday night including the Krewe of OAK’s Midsummer Mardi Gras parade, so the fine folks at Chickie Wah Wah have pushed back their usual schedule. Phil DeGruy and Emily Robinson open the show at 9 PM.

Dubbed “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out,” this incarnation of Jolly House will present “Deep Fishhead Blues” on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Keyboardist and singer/ songwriter Ed Volker, aka Zeke Fishhead, gathers two of his longtime musical partners, bassist Reggie Scanlan and percussionist Michael Skinkus, to perform with former James Brown bandleader and Scanlan’s partner in the New Orleans Suspects, saxophonist Jeff Watkins.

Guitarist Phil DeGruy and vocalist Emily Robertson will open the show with “Gone With the Wind Chimes, “ their Katrinaversary musical satire. Phil said expect to see his giant set of chimes, tuned to the key of G flat.

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TVD Recommends: Cuban legends Los Van Van at the House of
Blues tonight, 8/27

This gig tonight at the House of Blues may be flying under the radar amid all the Katrina 10-year anniversary hype, but for fans of Cuban dance music or international music of any genre, I highly recommend checking out this legendary group. They are on their first U.S. tour since the two countries have begun normalizing relations.

Arguably one the most important bands to form in Cuba since the Castro revolution, Los Van Van was formed in 1969 by bassist Juan Formell. Formell passed away last year at 71, but the group, which has gone through many personnel changes over the years, forged on. Fans says, “the train keeps a rollin’” referring both to the continuation of the group and their highly syncopated dance music.

Like many international acts formed in the late 1960s including many members of Brazil’s Tropicália generation, Los Van Van sought to reach the youth movement by tapping into the burgeoning sounds of rock music. This hybrid style is called timba and has grown to include other elements as well including funk and R&B.

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The Batture Boys offer free download to commemorate Katrina

Tommy Malone of the subdudes and Ray Ganucheau of the Continental Drifters have a brand new musical collaboration called the Batture Boys. They have quietly been recording a new album produced by Grammy award winner Jim Scott and are offering a free download of the first single, “The Mighty Flood.”

The two musicians have been working together for over twenty years beginning with the subdudes’ 1996 release, Primitive Streak. Ganucheau also recorded and toured with Malone for his two solo releases, 2001’s Soul Heavy and last year’s critically acclaimed Poor Boy.

Over the past month, the two musicians have joined drummer Johnny Vidacovich for two of his trio nights at the Maple Leaf Bar. I was in attendance both nights and marveled at the near-telepathic ability of the three to musically communicate.

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TVD Recommends: Gravity A, Sonic Bloom free at Tipitina’s, 8/21

There are only three weeks left of Tipitina’s Foundation Free Fridays series at the uptown club. Friday night is a killer double bill.

Electro-funkateers Gravity A headline and they are presenting a special show. For only the second time (the first was a Lundi Gras show earlier this year), they will be performing Pink Floyd’s classic 1977 album, Animals in its entirety.

Guitarist and vocalist Cliff Hines will be joining the band for this performance. Here’s what he said about the show. Read More »

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Zeke Fishhead releases new full-length, No Fun

Zeke Fishhead, aka Ed Volker, the leader of the Radiators, has released his latest collection of songs called, No Fun. It is available as a download here.

Volker had this to say about the release, “I spent from October 2013 to April 2015 playing a good bit of gigs—with Mollusc, The Rads, The Suspects, and with The Iguanas (as Los Reyes de Lagardo) when my gear was getting some upgrades …after Jazz Fest, in May, with all the recording gear working well, I returned to writing and recording and I’ve currently being gifted with very generous streams of Inspiration …”

The music is dedicated to memory and spirit of Eric Vandercar. He was a taper and major part of the Radiators’ community who was killed in a horrific train wreck in Connecticut.

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TVD Recommends: Mike Dillon Band at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/13

mikedillon_zacksmith

On Thursday August 13, vibraphonist and percussionist Mike Dillon returns to New Orleans with his new band featuring guitarist Cliff Hines, bassist Nathan Lambertson, and drummer Claude Coleman, Jr. Lynn Drury will open the show at Chickie Wah Wah with her duo act with guitarist Chris Atkins.

Dillon has been touring relentlessly since putting the new act together. I had the opportunity to see them before they left town at Tipitina’s back on July 17. The set took on a more jazzy tone given that Hines and Lambertson are two of the leaders of a new generation of jazzmen who also are seemingly versed in every style of music.

Hines recently toured with Hildegard, his art rock project with singer Sasha Masakowski. He is also known around town and increasingly across the country for his uncanny channeling of David Byrne during a Talking Heads tribute show with electronic funkateers Gravity A.

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TVD Recommends: Shuggie Otis at the Howlin’ Wolf, 8/8

It’s been nearly two years since guitarist/ singer/ songwriter Shuggie Otis last played in New Orleans. That tour earned rave reviews all over the country partially because of his fascinating back story. He appears Saturday night at the Howlin’ Wolf.

Here’s his story in brief. He is the son of the famed bandleader Johnny Otis. He wrote some really compelling songs back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He famously turned down replacing Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones, a gig that went to Ron Wood who still sits in the guitar chair next to Keith Richards. The Brothers Johnson took one of his songs, “Strawberry Letter 23,” to the top of the charts back in 1977. You can still hear it on classic rock radio. Then he disappeared for nearly 40 years.

A variety of events created a confluence bringing him back into the public eye in 2012. He toured extensively in 2013 including the show at the House of Blues in October.

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TVD Recommends:
The 1st Annual Indie-Pop Summer Showcase at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/8

Ship of Fools, the acclaimed, cello-driven ensemble from Baton Rouge, the Kid Carsons (with John and David Shirley of the Cardinal Sons), and a solo acoustic set from 2015 NOCCA graduate Gabrielle Evelina are the bands scheduled for the First Annual Indie Pop Showcase at Chickie Wah Wah. The show will begin at 9 PM.

The members of Ship of Fools are studying music at LSU. Led by cello player and Venezuelan native Raudol Palacios and fronted by vivacious vocalist Ashley Monaghan, the acoustic ensemble also features Michael Blount on guitar and Eric Brown on drums. The band submitted the vid below to a contest to appear on NPR’s prestigious Tiny Desk concert series.

Brother and sister musicians, Chad and Morgan Carson, lead the Kid Carsons. They play a compelling blend of Americana rooted in the Louisiana soil of their home state. They recently presented a critically acclaimed homage to Gram Parsons, the iconic patron saint of country rock.

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Satchmo SummerFest 2015 Weekend Picks

Satchmo SummerFest is all about Louis Armstrong—his instruments, his incomparable trumpet playing, and his inimitable vocal stylings. But ace musicians always surrounded him. This year more than ever the annual event has reached out to other instrumentation with performances by guitar players and pianists among the many trumpeters. The full schedule for Saturday is here and Sunday is here.

While Ellis Marsalis, Deacon John and many of the trumpeters on the schedule are certainly well-known musicians, we certainly shouldn’t overlook the other working players especially those on other instruments. Top on my list plays early on Saturday.

Seva Venet is a banjo player, guitarist, and music historian. He has put together a great aggregation which includes nary a horn player. His Storyville String Band reaches back into the first years of the 20th century when jazz was just being born.

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Satchmo SummerFest 2015 Friday Picks

This year, the organizers of the annual festival celebrating the life and music of Louis Armstrong are trying something new. For the first time, there will be a $5 cover charge for admission to the festival at the Old U.S. Mint. It will be interesting to see if there are more people set up outside the gates, less people inside, or if the new policy is a non-starter. Here are our picks for Friday, July 31, 2015. The full schedule is here.

Deacon John will be making his first appearance at the festival. As discussed in a previous post, the septuagenarian musician is performing a lot more around town lately including a great show celebrating his birthday at Tipitina’s and a performance at the French Quarter Festival in April.

This year, his set partially overlaps with that of trumpeter James Andrews. Since his cousin, Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill passed away earlier this year from a shocking infection, Andrews has also been playing a lot more in clubs around town.

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