Author Archives: Jay Mazza

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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Record release and listening party for
Nola Breaks, Volume 1
tonight, 12/15

Professor Shorthair, aka DJ Yamin of Nola Mix, is releasing two essential tracks from his NOLA Breaks disc on 7″ vinyl tonight at Gasa Gasa.

This is the first in a series of 7″ vinyl releases from the compilation of edits of unsung New Orleans funk tunes and local funk vocalists. The new record features New Orleans funk divas Mary Jane Hooper and Inell Young getting the royal boom bap treatment that’s geared for DJs and record enthusiasts alike.

The special event is the first of Berenice Mondays’ all vinyl nights, which will continue on the third Monday of every month featuring all-vinyl sets by their resident DJs during Happy Hour. Soulful, unpretentious, edgy, colorful, whatever you wanna call it. No Top 40. No attitudes (except the good kind). No fluff.

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Kidd Jordan and family to play the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center grand opening, 12/12

The long anticipated music education facility will open its doors for the first time with a gala concert featuring the Jordan musical family of New Orleans led by patriarch Edward “Kidd” Jordan at 8 PM. Advance tickets are sold out although a limited number will be available on a first come, first serve basis. WWOZ will stream the performance.

After nearly two years of renovations, the historic building, located at 1225 N. Rampart Street, is poised to become a state-of-the-art education and community center. It will be the permanent home of the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music and will serve as the location for many programs and events produced by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. It also will be available for other community arts organizations for classes and events. The building has seven classrooms (including dedicated labs for piano and drums) and a 200-seat performance hall.

The Jazz & Heritage Center is named in honor of George Wein and his late wife Joyce, the pioneering festival producers who helped to launch the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (which is owned by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation) in 1970.

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TVD Recommends:
Phil DeGruy at Snug Harbor, 12/9

There are a few musicians with the ability to use snark and satire to bash down the walls of conventionality surrounding our national obsessions. Tonight the guitarist tears into his annual “17 Strings of X-mas” presentation with characteristic aplomb at Snug Harbor.

DeGruy is at his best around the more commercial holidays whether they be sacred or secular. Describing his show as a “special assault on x-mas CULTure,” I expect humor, wit, and dervish-like attacks on his 17-string creation, which is known as a guitarp. Plus several well-known Christmas songs with “dubbed” lyrics as in the video below.

A master of the pun, DeGruy’s between song commentary, filled with sotto voce asides and “I just thought of this” comedic improvisational riffs, mixes a deadpan approach with more over the top witticisms than most “professional” comedians can muster in a month’s time.

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TVD Recommends: “Queens Rule!” exhibit opening, 12/6

Wanna see something really cool? Head over to the McKenna Museum of African American Art at 2003 Carondelet Street on Saturday at 6 PM. The opening reception of “Queens Rule!” is scheduled to run until 8 PM. A special performance is planned at some point in the evening.

“Queens Rule!” is a collection of photographs of Mardi Gras Indian queens including vintage photos and posed studio portraits as well as other elements of the uniquely New Orleans cultural groups including elaborate beadwork and costumes.

The exhibit is part of an ongoing project to document the work of the Mardi Gras Indians. Previous efforts have included two yearbooks, which have featured profiles and photographs of spy boys and flag boys—two of the many positions in the ritual hierarchy of the Mardi Gras Indian that also includes queens and big chiefs.

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Bobby Keys:
An Appreciation

When I heard that Bobby Keys, the longtime saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, passed away at the age of 70, I immediately flashed back to my teenage years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like so many suburban youngsters growing up in that period, I was enamored with guitar rock.

Though the memories are fuzzy and my musical intelligence nascent, I bet the guitar was the only instrument I could pick out of the wall of sound produced by bands like Kiss and Aerosmith or legendary slingers like Ted Nugent and Peter Frampton. These musicians and numerous others of a similar slant were the mainstays of rock radio during the period.

When I discovered the Rolling Stones around about 1976, another instrument entered my musical consciousness—the saxophone. As I dove off the deep end into the music of the Stones, I devoured all of their music and learned as much as I could about the band from the rock magazines of the time.

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TVD Recommends: Turkey Jam with the New Orleans Suspects, Paul Barrere (Little Feat) and more, 11/28

Tipitina’s is the place to be on the night after Thanksgiving for a massive throwdown.

Over the past year or so, the New Orleans Suspects have welcomed long time Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere on stage. The Suspects’ bassist Reggie Scanlan (The Radiators) has a longstanding friendship with Barrere based on their mutual love of the New Orleans second line groove. Over the 30+ year career of the Radiators, he sat in with them numerous times.

WhenBarrere they first started jamming with the Suspects, they would basically just play Little Feat songs. But over time Barrere (pictured below) began learning the Suspects’ material, so now he feels comfortable playing whatever makes the set list on any given night.

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Five questions with Yegor Romantsov of Debauche

Ever since I first saw Debauche at the Mid City Bayou Boogaloo I have been amazed at the band’s ability to move a crowd and to generate a feeling of joyous abandon among the audience.

Initially, I thought it was an act, ha-ha a Russian mafia band, that’s a good one! But then I found out their leader, Yegor Romantsov is actually from Russia. Hoping to get some answers and more details about Debauche and their music, we sent over some questions.

You’ve been creating quite a sensation in New Orleans with your band Debauche ever since you started playing locally. What brought you to New Orleans and tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born in the Soviet Union, in what is now known as Ukraine. I lived for eight years in New York and came to NOLA in 2006. I worked in construction for a few years. In 2008, I started to play solo in a coffee shop. A few months later, I got a few musicians to play with me. They were mostly former members of the Zydepunks. Music and people brought me to NOLA. I like the city very much and Debauche would have never happened anywhere else but New Orleans. It works both ways, and it is a sensation that is only made possible by the people in New Orleans.

You lead what is quite possibly the only Russian mafia band in the United States. Are there similar bands in Russia or other countries in the former Soviet Union?

There are not that many bands that do what we do in the United States or even in the former Soviet Union countries. Russians freak out when they hear Debauche, because of the way we arrange and play these songs. We get compared with Gogol Bordello a lot, which I take as a compliment. And yes, we are the only Russian mafia band in the United States.

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TVD Recommends:
Marc Stone and the Bayou Brothers at the Maple Leaf, 11/19

Tomorrow evening, the Maple Leaf Bar will be erupting with blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and even some Cajun country sounds when the guitarist and bandleader welcomes Dave Malone and Camile Baudoin to the historic stage on Oak Street.

Stone is well known to regular readers of TVD, WWOZ listeners, as well as blues and soul aficionados. He has been holding down the Wednesday night residency at the Maple Leaf Bar and bringing in special guests all month.

This week, the two guitarists and vocalists joining Stone are best known for their long tenure with the Radiators. But since that band disbanded from regular performing (there have been periodic reunions; the next one is scheduled for January), they have been bringing their telepathic guitar histrionics to audiences with Raw Oyster Cult.

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TVD Recommends:
Cha Dooky Doo, The Music of Art Neville
at Tipitina’s, 11/15

The terms “living legend” and “icon” get bandied around so much as to render them nearly impotent, but the genuine article lives among us. Saturday night (11/15) at Tipitina’s a group of local musicians will be joined by the man himself in an unprecedented review of his sixty-plus years setting the standard for popular music.

Art Neville first burst into the public consciousness as a teenager when his iconoclastic vocal stylings turned a little-heard country and western tune, “Mardi Gras Mambo,” into a hit. The song, released in 1954, became a perennial favorite and defines Mardi Gras music in New Orleans.

Neville’s career had just begun. Since those heady first days, the keyboardist and vocalist has claimed many other accolades. As the founding member of the Meters, he helped define a new genre of music—funk. As the eldest of the Neville Brothers he brought that style to the world.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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