Author Archives: Jay Mazza

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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Doombalaya and Nigel Hall to present “Mixtape 1976” at the Howlin’ Wolf Thursday night, 11/17

1976 was a monumental musical year. Numerous landmark albums were recorded and released including Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Rush’s 2112, Paul McCartney’s Wings at the Speed of Sound, Led Zeppelin’s Presence, and Parliament’s The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein. This Thursday night Doombalaya will join the Nigel Hall Band at the Howlin’ Wolf to celebrate the 40th anniversary of 1976 and present their interpretations of some of the great songs which were released that year.

Regular readers of this space are familiar with Nigel Hall. The soul and R&B singer and funk keyboardist has been a recurring subject since he moved to New Orleans in 2013. He’s built a mighty foundation of funk over the years onstage and in the studio with numerous collaborators including Snarky Puppy, Jon Cleary, Soulive, the Soul Rebels, Lettuce, and countless others.

Doombalaya creates a wall of sound when they play live. Their music has been dubbed “progressive world beat” and their style is a mixture of jazz, Afrobeat, prog rock, hip hop, funk, and all things in between including a heaping dose of New Orleans sounds.

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The Rock ‘n’ Bowl to
host Benefit for the Backstreet Cultural Museum, 11/13

The Backstreet Cultural Museum is one of the hidden gems of the New Orleans cultural community. Located in the heart of Tremé in a former funeral home across the street from the historic St. Augustine Church, it has always operated on a shoestring budget. This Sunday afternoon, Mid City Lanes Rock ‘n’ Bowl will host a fundraiser featuring zydeco stars Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Cha’s.

The first time I ever encountered Sylvester Francis, the founder of the museum, was at a jazz funeral back in the early 1990s. He was filming the event with the detailed eye of an expert. Subsequently I noticed him filming every jazz funeral I attended.

All told, he has filmed many hundreds of processions from massive gatherings celebrating the life of internationally known musicians to tiny parades for people from the neighborhood. There was even a jazz funeral for a well-loved dog.

I was writing for the Louisiana Weekly at the time and I decided to write a profile of the man and his fledgling museum. Back then, its holdings consisted of a few Mardi Gras Indian suits and was located in his house.

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The New Soul Finders
to play final show at the Little Gem Saloon, 11/5

Guitarist and bandleader Marc Stone gave new life to the career of legendary vocalist Marilyn Barbarin this past summer when he put together a new version of the Soul Finders—a 1970s era band made famous by the late great pianist, songwriter, and New Orleans funk progenitor Eddie Bo. After a successful run of shows, the New Soul Finders are playing one last time Saturday night at the Little Gem Saloon.

Described as being, “…like if the funkiest bits of your record collection came to life and threw a party,” the New Soul Finders play songs like Bo’s classic, “Check Your Bucket” and deep catalog cuts like, “Can I Be Your Squeeze.”

The band features Stone on guitar and funk master Eric Bolivar on drums. This special show will also include guest performances by guitarist Papa Mali and sousaphonist Kirk Joseph.

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The Music Box Village grand opening to feature “Sunpie,” ​L’Union Creole,​ ​Dédé Saint­-Prix, 11/4–11/5

The embarrassment of riches of world music in New Orleans continues Friday and Saturday evenings when the grand opening of the permanent installation of musical architecture in the Bywater known as The Music Box Village features the great Martiniquan musician Dédé Saint-­Prix performing as a featured guest with L’Union Creole, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes’ Creole diaspora project, along with Seguenon Kone, the incredible percussionist from the Ivory Coast.

The Music Box Village is the locally loved and internationally celebrated project that has been roaming the city and beyond since 2011. Artists, architects, inventors, and builders have created new interactive, playable structures in its permanent location at 4557 N. Rampart Street.

Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes (pictured at top) needs no introduction to local readers. The bandleader, harmonica player, accordionist, and musicologist will take audiences on a journey through Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and Louisiana highlighting the music, dance, and language that unite Creole peoples into a unique diaspora.

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Brazilian legend Carlos Malta in New Orleans this week for six shows, 11/1–11/5

New Orleans music lovers are in a period of an embarrassment of riches rivaling the heyday of international musicians visiting the city in the late 1990s. This week one of the biggest names from Brazil will be playing at three venues in the city including a very special solo performance.

Malta is arguably one of the most inventive and creative woodwind players in the world. Adept at all saxophones, flutes, and fifes (including ethnic fifes like the Japanese shakuhachi and Chinese di-zi), he has been a professional musician since the age of 18.

As a young man, he spent twelve years as a featured soloist with Brazilian icon Hermeto Pascoal playing the biggest international music festivals in the world. His work with the compositional master informed his entire career as he has carved out a reputation as a musician who has raised the profile of the flute as an equal to any of the other members of the woodwind family.

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Self-titled debut album from The Olympians in stores today, 10/28

If you like vintage soul, R&B, and funk created by a new generation of musicians, Daptone Records has been the place to look for it. The label, which may be best known for jump-starting the career of soul belter Sharon Jones, has released lots of great music. Their latest, the instrumental funky soul of The Olympians, is out today.

The band includes musicians associated with the label’s house band, the Dap-Kings, and other bands connected to the label. The music features lush instrumental arrangements of strings, harp, vibes, guitar, and a plethora of keyboards, all laced with blazing horns soaring over funky bass and drums.

The story of the band and its music begins with a dream. Multi-instrumentalist Toby Pazner (keyboards, vibes, bass, and percussion) was moved to put the story of the actual Greek gods, whose mythical home was on Mount Olympus, to song.

He enlisted members of the Dap-Kings including trumpeter David Guy (also of the Tonight Show band), drummer Homer Steinweiss, saxophonist (and Daptone Records co-owner) Neal Sugarman, saxophonist Leon Michels, as well as trumpeter Michael Leonhart (the musical director for Steely Dan and David Byrne), trombonist Aaron Johnson of Antibalas and the musical director of the Broadway show Fela!, and drummer and percussionist Evan Pazner.

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Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa brings El Viaje to Chickie Wah Wah, 10/28

DownBeat magazine called Harold López-Nussa, “the latest in a line of extraordinary keyboardists to emerge from Cuba,” and compared his playing to the work of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. He plays the Mid City fine listening establishment Friday night with his trio.

As the relationship between Cuba and the United States gradually opens up, we should be seeing more performers from the musically sophisticated island. López-Nussa will be appearing with his trio featuring his younger brother Ruy Adrián López-Nussa on drums and percussion and Senegalese bassist and vocalist Alune Wade.

Significantly, the conservatory-trained pianist is the first Cuba-based musician (he has dual citizenship in both Cuba and France) to release an album internationally since the lifting of many of the restrictions associated with the longstanding trade embargo.

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