Author Archives: Jay Mazza

TVD Recommends: Joel Harrison and Mother Stump at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, 1/23

Friday night, Snug Harbor is the place to be to hear one of the most inventive guitarists out of the New York City scene. He will be appearing with an all-star group of New Orleans musicians featuring Rex Gregory on tenor saxophone, Chris Severin on bass, and Ricky Sebastian on drums.

Harrison will be performing songs off his new album, Mother Stump. Though recognized as a respected composer, this new recording focuses on his guitar work.

The set list is a mixed bag of unconventional songs including cuts by Luther Vandross, Buddy Miller, George Russell, Blind Willie Johnson, Paul Motian, Leonard Cohen, plus several Harrison originals. “It’s all about the melody and emotion on this record,” says Harrison.

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Big Chief Bo Dollis, R.I.P.

The story has become mythic. A young Quint Davis, now the long time producer/director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, hears a distinctive voice carrying over tambourines ringing through a sweaty crowd in a tiny, back-of-town barroom. The voice belongs to Theodore Emile “Bo” Dollis, the Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias, who passed away January 20, 2015 at the age of 71.

Davis recruited Dollis to help spread the word about the brand new festival in an era when word of mouth was the only form of social media, spearheaded efforts to record that unparalleled voice, and formed an unlikely partnership. Over the ensuing decades, Dollis emerged from the tightknit, insular world of the black Indians of New Orleans to the center of several major shifts in the unique culture.

He was one of the first Indians to record the call-and-response chants, which define the musical aspect of the culture. He continued to record throughout his long career including two ground-breaking recordings in the 1970s. Those albums, the eponymous Wild Magnolias and They Call Us Wild, became the holy grail for vinyl crate diggers a decade later due to their limited pressings.

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Mike Dillon begins Wednesday residency at Gasa Gasa tonight, 1/14

The vibraphonist and percussionist is setting up on Wednesday nights at the uptown club with a different collection of musicians appearing each week. Tonight, bassist James Singleton (Astral Project), guitarist Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds), and drummer Stanton Moore (Galactic) join him.

I asked Dillon what fans can expect from the first show of his residency at Gasa Gasa.

“I am going to hit it a little old school with Stanton and James. Eddie plays a nice Wes (Montgomery) meets Grant Green style so we are going to play some Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson tunes. We will also be playing some of my instrumental compositions. Eddie Bloom is going to show up as well for a portion of the evening,” he said.

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Danny Barker tribute show tonight and gala/late night jam, 1/16

One of our truly legendary musicians is getting his own tribute show. The iconic musician, who played with all of the greats during a career in New York, returned home to find the brass band tradition withering and set about revitalizing it, will be honored this week with a couple of standout evenings .

Tuesday night, Snug Harbor is the place to be for the Danny Barker Birthday Tribute. An all-star band featuring musicians who were influenced by the late honoree will play two sets at 8 and 10 PM. Expect to see guitarist Steve Masakowski, trumpeter Gregg Stafford, trombonist Lucien Barbarin, drummer Herlin Riley, bassist Jesse Boyd, guitarist and banjo player Detroit Brooks, plus special guests.

On Wednesday evening, a seminar is scheduled for 6 PM at Café Rose Nicaud. Panelists include four culture bearers with intimate connections to Barker. This is a chance to learn more about Danny Barker and his contributions to the culture and the music of New Orleans.

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2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup announced!

Ever since the partnership between Festival Productions, the long time producing company of the Jazz Fest, and AEG Live, a massive music industry player, the annual event at the New Orleans Fairgrounds (April 24-26 and April 30-May 3) has grown in appeal and stature. This year is no exception with two legendary headliners from across the pond, The Who and Elton John, anchoring the Saturday lineups. There is also a big TBA for the last day.

For music lovers interested in intergenerational performers, jazz vocalist extraordinaire Tony Bennett will return to the fest with his singing partner of late, Lady Gaga. For funk fans, the original four members of the Meters will reunite for the first time in three years.

Other major acts of note include Ed Sheeran, Pitbull, Steve Winwood, Widespread Panic, Chicago, Jerry Lee Lewis, the O’Jays, Allison Krauss, Wilco, No Doubt, Terence Blanchard, and Jimmy Cliff. Of course the headliners are just the icing on the cake for hardcore festers. The rest of the lineup is drawn from the deep pool of New Orleans and Louisiana acts.

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Louisiana Music Factory in-store performances resume Saturday, 1/10

After a short hiatus, everybody’s favorite Marigny record shop will feature three bands celebrating releases this weekend. In keeping with their tradition, the range of performers is as eclectic as the store’s music offerings.

Jeff Chaz, the Bourbon Street bluesman, opens the proceedings at 2 PM. Chaz has released five albums. His latest, Chronicles, came out in 2013.

Davis Rogan appears at 3 PM supporting his latest release, Davis Ex Machina. Rogan plays old school, R&B-inspired piano and sings wry songs culled from his fertile imagination and rooted in the foibles of his hometown and its denizens.

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“Dirtyvich” to play tonight at the Maple Leaf Bar, 1/8

Drummer Johnny Vidacovich and the good folks at the uptown saloon have been known to use some creative names for the various groups of musicians who join him on his ever-evolving Thursday night gig. Previous favorites include “Dumpstavich,” which featured Ivan Neville and Tony Hall from Dumpstaphunk.

This evening, Dirtyvich will feature three two members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, sousaphonist Kirk Joseph and baritone saxophonist Roger Lewis, along with former longtime drummer Terence Higgins. For fans of drummers and horns, this is going to be a night to remember.

Vidacovich has mentored numerous members of the tight-knit community of players here in New Orleans. He has also been featured quite a few times on the same bill with his protégés. I remember many memorable occasions with Galactic drummer Stanton Moore and Vidacovich throwing down on tandem drum kits.

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TVD Recommends:
Joe Ely at Chickie Wah Wah, 1/8

Due to overwhelming fan demand, the American singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music touches on honky-tonk, Texas Country, Tex-Mex, and rock ‘n’ roll returns to the Canal Street fine listening establishment.

Ely was born in 1947 and spent his formative years in Lubbock, Texas. In 1970, he formed the Flatlanders with fellow Lubbock musicians Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. According to Ely, “Jimmie was like a well of country music. He knew everything about it. And Butch was from the folk world. I was kinda the rock ‘n’ roll guy, and we almost had a triad. We hit it off and started playing a lot together. That opened up a whole new world I had never known existed.”

In 1972, the band released their first and only album until 2002’s Now Again, but they have appeared together on each other’s albums. Since the band’s initial breakup just after their first album was cut, the three musicians have followed individual paths. Their most recent release is 2012’s The Odessa Tapes, which features unreleased tracks from the formative 1972 session.

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Jefferson Parish to honor the legacy of
Ellis Marsalis, Sr.

Wednesday morning (1/9) at 11 AM, the Jefferson Parish Historical Commission, Jefferson Parish Officials, and the Marsalis Family will dedicate the Marsalis Mansion Motel with a Louisiana Highway Marker. The marker will be placed on River Road at Shrewsbury Road close to the former location of historic business.

Operated by the father of pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, Jr. and the grandfather of New Orleans musicians, Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason, the hotel was known, according to the Amistad Research Center at Tulane, by various names from 1944-1986 and served a vital purpose in the Civil Rights movement. Many well-known black dignitaries including Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed at the establishment.

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JP spokesperson, Karen Fortunato said, “Proprietor Ellis L. Marsalis, Sr., was patriarch of the jazz musician family and was a civil rights pioneer. Because of his concern for his community, encompassing a period of time in excess of 50 years, the black citizens of Jefferson and New Orleans enjoy unprecedented input into the political processes that affect their lives.”

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TVD Recommends: BRASStravaganza at the Howlin’ Wolf, 12/20

Six of New Orleans’ best brass bands will share the stage at the Howlin’ Wolf at 10 PM in the Christmas edition of a music series dedicated to celebrating and promoting the brass band legacy of this great city.

The event brings together the divergent styles and songs of the Hot 8, Most Wanted, Da Truth, New Breed, Free Spirit, and the Young Pinstripe Brass Bands. One of the highlights of the Christmas edition of BRASStravaganza will be a powerhouse rendition of the song “This Christmas” by a fifty-piece brass band assembled from the night’s lineup.

BRASStravaganza is also back as a precursor to Brass Fest, which debuts in the spring as a new force in the festival culture of New Orleans, as well as a music series in its own right. Brass Fest will be an all-day event featuring an expanded lineup of the city’s incredible brass talent including Rebirth, Hot 8, The Stooges, and Most Wanted Brass Bands. Artists who have emerged from the brass band tradition, such as Shamarr Allen, are also on the roster.

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