Author Archives: Jay Mazza

Khris Royal to join BrasilNola at D.B.A. tonight, 1/11

Saxophonist and multi-talented musician and bandleader Khris Royal will be joining BrasilNola, one of the city’s hottest new acts, on Thursday night at D.B.A. Expect a blend of the lush rhythms and harmonies of Brazil with the booty shaking funk and brass of New Orleans. It’s a New Orleans samba dance party!

BrasiNola evolved out of the varied musical interests of Danny Abel, the guitarist in Khris Royal and Dark Matter, bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Haynes, Karl Denson), and Brazilian keyboardist and vocalist Eduardo Tozzatto.

While there have been plenty of purely Brazilian acts on the scene in New Orleans, BrasilNola is a new concept that brings the dance rhythms of Brazilian music from the 1970s (a heyday if you ask this Brazilian music fan) into the mix with the funky sounds of the same period in New Orleans (the heyday of the Meters, Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey, and so many of the greats).

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Kathryn Rose Wood
and Mikayla Braun join forces for one night only at Gasa Gasa, 1/11

The first ever performance of two of the leading singer/songwriters on the new New Orleans scene will be a bittersweet night for the two musicians, Kathryn Rose Wood and Mikayla Braun. Steve Panacek, the guitarist who plays in both of the women’s bands is leaving town to test the waters in New York. The night at Gasa Gasa will be celebration of their long association with the axe-slinger and sound engineer.

Dubbed, the Braun-Wood Band, this one-time-only effort will exponentially raise the quotient as they unite their considerable musical powers. Though the two have performed on the same bill and collaborated in the past, this special show will showcase their original music in duet form with a full backing band.

Braun and Wood began occasionally performing alongside one another in the spring of 2016. Soulful song selections, sublime harmonies, and natural camaraderie resonated with audience members. It made sense to continue their musical alliance on a larger scale.

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Kick off Carnival at the Maple Leaf Bar, 1/6

With Mardi Gras falling rather early this year on February 13, the Carnival season is compressed into less than two months. But with 12th night falling on a Saturday, the festivities will start with a bang. Following the traditional streetcar ride of the Phunny Phorty Phellows, which leaves the Willow Street Streetcar barn at 7 PM, head over to the Maple Leaf Bar for live music.

The 101 Runners have become the go-to act for celebrating the season and the Mardi Gras Indian band headlines the evening. This is their eleventh year getting Carnival started at the Leaf. The opening act is a new group on the scene, the Iceman Special.

Percussionist Chris Jones leads the 101 Runners. The band is made of some of New Orleans finest musicians including uber-sousaphonist Kirk Joseph, drummer Raymond Weber, keyboard player Tom Worrell, and guitarist June Yamagishi. But the main attraction is the spirited black Indian chanting and tambourine work of Big Chief Juan Pardo and Isaac Kinchen of the Golden Comanche tribe.

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Trombone Shorty’s  “Tunes for Toys,” a toy drive and concert, is scheduled for the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center, 12/21

Though TVD may be on holiday break for the next two weeks, the music keeps on coming. Next Thursday, the Trombone Shorty Foundation, the Gia Maione Prima Foundation, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation present the annual “Tunes for Toys.” This free concert begins at 7 PM at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz and Heritage Center. Everyone is encouraged to bring a new toy in exchange for admission.

“Tunes for Toys” will feature music from New Breed Brass Band with special guest Trombone Shorty and students from the Trombone Shorty Academy. “This toy drive is very special to my heart,” says Foundation founder Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. “We love being able to showcase our Academy students’ hard work, and also give back to children in the Tremé community where I was born and raised.”

The New Breed Brass Band includes members of the latest generation of musicians to emerge from the Tremé neighborhood. Snare drummer Jenard Andrews leads the band. Andrews is the son of Tremé legend James “Satchmo of the Ghetto” Andrews. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is his uncle.

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Celebrate Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s Birthday Week

He’s one of the last remaining links to the glory days of the New Orleans Rhythm and Blues scene in the 1950s. And he’s still on the top of his game as a guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader. Fans and music lovers will have a chance to wish Walter “Wolfman” Washington a happy birthday four times this week.

His regular Wednesday night gig at D.B.A. is a favorite mid-week show for locals and visitors alike. It begins at 10 PM and Washington will be appearing with his longtime ensemble, the Roadmasters. Thursday is a special early evening performance as part of the ongoing music series at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The show begins at 6 PM.

Washington will be a special guest Friday night at Tipitina’s when Anders Osborne begins his annual two-night Holiday Spectacular. Osborne always brings his A-game and very special guests are expected. Besides, Washington, Ivan Neville and Rickie Lee Jones are on the bill.

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Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove returns to the Maple Leaf Bar, 12/8

Sousaphonist Kirk Joseph is one of the busiest musicians in town. Yet, even he was surprised by his answer when asked to recall the last time his solo act played at a club in New Orleans. It was over twelve years ago (not counting last night’s performance at the Three Keys) and the gig was at the Maple Leaf Bar where the band returns Friday night.

The membership in the Backyard Groove has changed a bit over the years. Longtime collaborators, saxophonist Tom Fitzpatrick and trombonist Mark McGrain are on board. Joining them on the front line is trumpeter Kevin Lewis. Guitarist Takeshi Shimmura, a regular on the Backyard Groove’s festival gigs, will be laying down his sterling licks. Keyboardist/vocalist Lilli Lewis and Joseph’s cousin, drummer Jaz Butler round out the latest version of the band.

Fans the world over know Joseph as a founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The uber-sousaphonist, as I dubbed him some years back, helped develop the sound of the first brass band to begin integrating modern sounds into traditional New Orleans jazz. Check the vid below of them playing back in the day at the storied Central City music hot spot, the Glass House.

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Cuban sensations Telmary and Habana Sana to play the New Orleans Jazz Market Thursday night, 12/7

PHOTOS: EDDY GUTIERREZ | Two months ago, the CubaNOLA Arts Collective presented an incredible set by the Cuban band Interactivo Esencial at the New Orleans Jazz Market. Dancers, Cuban music lovers, and anyone interested in hearing the latest sounds emanating from the island nation should head back to the wonderful space on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd for what should be another amazing performance by Telmary and Habana Sana. Show time is 9 PM and the Saints game will be televised. La Cubana food truck will be out all evening for the game and the concert.

Every year at Jazz Fest there is one act that everyone is talking and writing about as the post fest reviews come in. This year it was Telmary and her amazing band. If you missed it, here’s what I had to say, “The best of the fest for the first weekend goes to Cuban singer and rapper Telmary. Her band, Habana Sana, featured a female conga player; a female pianist/flutist/vocalist, and two backing vocalists/percussionists along with rock band instrumentation.

The energy was through the roof as the drum-tight band percolated over her mile-a-minute rapping. She had a few things to say in English including “I’m ready to jump for the Mardi Gras!” Looks like she’s back a few months early.

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Bonerama brings Hot Like Fire to Tipitina’s
for album release party Saturday night, 11/18

When Hurricane Nate was threatening the gulf coast, the city of New Orleans ill-advisedly instituted a city-wide curfew 36 hours before the unpredictable storm was slated to make landfall. Perhaps the early warning was because of devastation wrought in Houston or long memories of Katrina. Though the storm ended up to the east of us, numerous shows were cancelled including Bonerama’s album release party.

Back in October, their seventh studio album, Hot Like Fire, the first on New Orleans’ premier independent label, Basin Street Records, was released on schedule and has been earning rave reviews. Due to the only-in-New Orleans, trombone-driven funky rock band’s relentless touring schedule, the party was rescheduled for Saturday night. Darcy Malone and the Tangle are the opening act.

Bonerama first burst on the scene twenty years ago with a sound unlike anyone had ever heard. With three trombones out front, led by founding members Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, the group moved past genres into a category of one.

With a sousaphone and drum kit (Matt Perrine and Walt Lundy respectively) driving the beat, they can sound like a brass band. With a driving electric guitar, played with jazzy aplomb by Bert Cotton, they can rock. Given this is a New Orleans band through and through, heavy funk is in the DNA as well provided in a large part by third trombonist Greg Hicks. Consider his solo on the album’s last cut, “Christiania.”

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The Crooked Vines to host album release party tonight, 11/9, at the Howlin’ Wolf, Alive in stores Friday, 11/10

The last time I saw The Crooked Vines was on Halloween night. They were tearing it up in front on a costumed crowd at the BMC. Tonight, they will celebrate the release of Alive, their sophomore effort, at the Howlin’ Wolf. Kathryn Rose Wood and Aaron Benjamin open the show at 8 PM.

The band is classified as “rock” but their complex sound featuring a chugging horn section allows them to display musical chops and influences ranging from jazz and progressive rock to folk and funk. The album showcases their ability to combine genres into compelling songs.

Lyrically, the tunes include thought-provoking narratives touching on a wide range of emotions. A theme of personal growth runs through the album mirroring the development of the band as a unit and as individuals. Live, they just put on one hell of a show. Just ask the guy in the comb over baldhead wig and witching woman twitching on the dance floor on Halloween.

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TVD Video Premiere: Jackie Venson, “Mysterious”

“I wrote ‘Mysterious’ about platonic love and the sometimes strange behavior of the heart. I dedicated this EP to all of the forms of love that are not typically written about. Love is all we have and even though the heart can be mysterious, I choose to follow it.”
Jackie Venson

As we wrote just last month, fresh off a tour with fellow Austin, Texas guitarist and vocalist Gary Clark Jr. with whom she has been compared, Jackie Venson’s new EP, “Transcends” features compositions that highlight an increased focus on her songwriting. Picking up the guitar in only 2011 during her final year at the Berklee College of Music where she studied classical piano, the focus since has been solely on her guitar work.

Last year, she released Jackie Venson Live to rave reviews from Guitar Player magazine and the Austin Chronicle among others, as well as a spot on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Venson is one of a new generation of blues and roots performers who embrace technology. While she often tours with a three-piece combo, she also plays solo using loops and pedals to create a powerful sound.

Venson is currently working on new music and plans to hit the road again in January.

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