Author Archives: Jay Mazza

This is NOLA launches with Hurray for the Riff Raff and much more tonight, 10/17

Winter Circle Productions and the Joy Theater present the first installment of this free monthly event series, which is an effort to build and showcase the emerging contemporary culture of New Orleans.

Besides HFTRR, This is NOLA will feature performances by Coyotes, the Deslondes, DJ OttO, visual art installations, street food, and craft cocktails that represent the city’s more progressive side.

The motivation for launching This is NOLA came from a lack of centralized support for the contemporary arts, cocktail, and culinary scenes in New Orleans.

While the city continues to support and preserve the traditional local culture for which New Orleans is known and loved around the world, very little is being done to cultivate and capitalize on the emerging, progressive set of New Orleans music, art, and hospitality. This is NOLA is meant to trumpet this cause and share these bands, chefs, artists, and mixologists with the local New Orleans community.

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Phil deGruy debuts “Clinically” Happy Hour tonight, 10/16

For the at least the next three Thursdays, the world’s only guitarpist will be performing solo at Chickie Wah Wah from 6-8 PM.

DeGruy is best known around town for performances with various guitar ensembles including Twangorama, but his solo performances place him in another musical dimension because of his instrument. The guitarp is a custom contraption which features a seven-string guitar with a ten-string high register harp located beneath the standard strings where a pick guard might usually be placed.

There is no separation between the guitar and harp parts, enabling the right hand to do a 17-string arpeggio. Though DuGruy generally eschews loud playing, he can make quite a racket with this instrument.

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Brazilian musicians
and filmmakers in New Orleans for television series pilot production and performances

Nancy Viégas and Tadeu Mascarenhas, producers of a new Brazilian TV series called Routes & Roots, are chronicling iconic people and places, sounds, history, and traditions along well-known routes. They will be in New Orleans this week to film the pilot episode called, “Where is Route 66?”

Viégas and Mascarenhas are also the leaders and producers of Radiola, a highly regarded and critically acclaimed band from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Performances are scheduled for October 15 and 16, 2014 at Chickie Wah Wah. On Wednesday, Tom McDermott will play a set, followed by a set by Nancy Viégas and Tadeu Mascarenhas. McDermott will also perform with the Brazilian musicians. On Thursday, Viégas and Mascarenhas will perform with Jimmy Robinson. Other local musicians are expected to perform as well including Helen Gillet.

Routes & Roots features tips on interesting places to visit and stay, local and regional food specialties, cultural and community events, and musical influences as well as musicians and artisans at every stop along the way.

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New Orleans Suspects’ new Ouroboros in stores today, 10/14

Though they have been begging off the moniker of “supergroup” in some recent stories, the New Orleans Suspects are still a super group. Their latest release features ten brand new, all original songs, which call to mind the members’ influences while remaining true to their New Orleans roots.

Ouroboros is the band’s third release and the follow-up to their 2012 live CD, Caught Live At The Maple Leaf.

It defines the band’s sound, which is one that puts their own twist on the traditions of New Orleans music–fever-inducing funk, irresistible R&B rhythms, Longhair rhumbas, dancing-in-the-street second lines, jazzy soul-drenched horns, mind-melting swamp hoodoo, and feet-don’t-fail-me-now Carnival music.

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TVD Recommends:
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey at Snug Harbor, 10/11

On Saturday night one of the most adventurous, forward-thinking groups to emerge in the last twenty years makes their first appearance at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro. For fans of Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, this is a chance to hear them in one of the best sounding rooms in the city.

The gig is in advance of the release of Worker, their 26th (!) album, which arrives via Royal Potato Family next Tuesday (10/14).

It’s a major shift in focus for the band, which recently dropped its horn section and recorded as a trio—Brian Haas (keyboards and founding member), Chris Combs (guitar, lap steel), and Josh Raymer (drums).

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TVD Recommends:
Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers album release party at One Eyed Jacks, 10/10

Friday night, One Eyed Jacks is the place to be to celebrate the release of the first album from the all-star rockabilly band led by musical polymath Aurora Nealand.

Taking a page from Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes (two of the members of that band are also members of the Danger Dangers) and select other groups, each band member has a nom de musique. Nealand is of course, Rory Danger, and sings and plays saxophone.

Here’s how they define themselves: “New Orleans Premier Rockabilly Band, Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers met in the Belly of the Beast and since then, have never left. With an epic premier show at Chaz Fest 2010, (quickly followed by a legendary farewell show and a heroic reunion show), the Danger Dangers quickly overtook the New Orleans Rockabilly scene and have been dominating ever since.

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TVD Recommends: A Tribute to Joe Sample and the Crusaders, 10/9

This Thursday night, Chickie Wah Wah will present a very special show organized by the most peripatetic musician in New Orleans. Keyboardist Charlie Dennard has assembled an all-star cast of musicians to pay tribute to the late, great keyboardist and composer who passed away on September 12, 2014.

Joe Sample was a groundbreaking Houston native who led the bebop-oriented, Art Blakey-inspired Jazz Crusaders to critical acclaim. He became a popular stylist when the group relocated to Los Angeles, shortened their name to the Crusaders, and began pursuing a more original approach which merged soul and jazz.

Charlie Dennard was a well-known member of the New Orleans musical community in the 1990s before literally running off to join the circus. He has been a keyboardist and musical director for Cirque du Soleil for twelve years. This is his second return to New Orleans before he finally retires from the world-famous troupe to devote his energies to New Orleans.

The band includes drummer Doug Belote, guitarist Todd Duke, bassist Pat Casey, and saxophonist Jason Mingledorff. Special guests are expected.

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Mardi Gras Records releases Ultimate New Orleans Brass Second Line Funk! on vinyl, 10/7

Heads up collectors, DJs and music fans who love the warm sound of music on acetate! The local label released today this greatest hits collection featuring songs by the Rebirth Brass Band, the Treme Brass Band, the Olympia Brass Band, and others.

The album features a great lineup of songs, which will keep any party moving. It kicks off with Rebirth’s iconic 1987 classic, “Do Whatcha Wanna.” Rebirth contributes three more of their best-known tracks to the compilation: “Feel Like Funkin’ it Up,” “I Feel Like Bustin Loose,” and “Casanova.” The latter of these, a hard-driving cover of Cleveland-based R&B vocal group LeVert’s 1987 hit, which is a second line parade favorite.

Another highlight is a young Glen David Andrews’ vocals on “Rock With Me, Knock With Me.” This song came out on the Lil’ Rascals Brass Band’s classic 2001 album, Buck It Like a Horse.

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Zeke Fishhead releases Waiting for the Abyssinian

In my book about the Radiators I speculated about what the world of Fishhead Music would have been like had the band released an album a year over their 30+ year existence. Though it would have been no small feat in the music business of the era, it also would have been entirely conceivable based on the output of the band’s leader and principal songwriter.

Since the band dissembled in June 2011, Ed Volker, aka Zeke Fishhead, has been as prodigiously productive as during his years with the Radiators. The only difference is we are getting to hear the output.

This latest recording finds Zeke back in his home studio churning out new songs. The album features eleven originals written and recorded between April 2011 and December 2011. This period is significant because it includes a few months leading up to the Radiators’ “Last Watusi” and the six months following.

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TVD Recommends:
Free in-store concerts
at the Louisiana Music Factory, 10/4

It’s been a long slow summer for everyone in New Orleans, particularly the musicians and the businesses catering to them. All that changes at the LMF on Saturday when they present a full afternoon of live music.

The day starts at 2 PM with Michael Cerveris & Loose Cattle. The leader is best known around town for his collaboration on the musical Nine Lives, which is being prepped for a possible national run including a stint on Broadway. It turns out the actor/singer also fronts a band playing country music and a few fascinating rock covers (see below).

At 3 PM, Ken Swartz, a long time New Orleans resident who traffics in the earliest blues and originals appears. Jimmy Carpenter follows him.

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