Author Archives: Jay Mazza

TVD Recommends:
Greg Schatz at Chickie Wah Wah, 7/25

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The piano-playing singer/songwriter will be appearing this Saturday at TVD’s favorite fine listening establishment. Schatz will be performing songs off his brand new album, Everything That You Wanted, with his band, The Friggin’ Geniuses. The R & R Music Group opens.

Schatz has been a fixture on the downtown music scene since moving to New Orleans. He is mostly known for his work on the accordion, but the new album showcases his formidable piano chops as well as his knack for writing witty, slice-of-life songs that capture the essence of day-to-day living in New Orleans.

The Friggin’ Geniuses feature Doug Garrison on drums, Dave James on guitar, and Dave Stover on bass. They all appear on the new album as well.

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Armand Louis Charbonnet, R.I.P.

The Tremé community laid to rest one of its pillars on Monday, July 20. Armand Louis Charbonnet, the co-owner of the family’s 132-year old funeral business, died on July 9 at 84.

In keeping with the traditions of the New Orleans jazz funeral, which Charbonnet helped maintain his entire life, his send off was replete with music, dancing, and sadness but remained an ultimately joyful and dignified ritual befitting a man who helped so many others through their times of loss.

wailing on casket

Following a mass at St. Raymond/St. Leo the Great church in Gentilly, his flag-draped casket was solemnly loaded into a flower-bedecked hearse, the “coupe de fleur,” as the Original Royal Players Brass Band played a poignant dirge; a song so slow it seemed as if only the trumpeter was playing. A lone crow barked it’s lonely call in the distance.

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TVD Recommends:
The Figs at Chickie
Wah Wah, 7/17

The alt-country, all female, Lafayette, Louisiana based acoustic vocal ensemble returns to New Orleans for their first show in New Orleans since 2008 at Chickie Wah Wah on Friday night. It is The Figs’ only New Orleans show of the year and one of three performances scheduled in 2015. Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers opens with his new band, Michot’s Melody Makers.

The Figs features five vocalists, all singing together on nearly every song. The instrumentation of band includes drummer Paige Pemberton, bassist Melissa Stevenson (who occasionally blows the harp as well), Sarah Gray and Caroline Helm on electric and acoustic guitars, Claire Oliver on claw-hammer banjo, and Jillian Johnson on tenor ukulele.

The group began as a low-key jam session between like-minded musicians in 2006. They created a sensation based on their impeccable vocals and danceable grooves, which mine Cajun, folk, and bluegrass styles. The band released their eponymous debut album (currently out of print, but available as a digital download) on Eunice, Louisiana’s Valcour Records, self-released their second album, What Keeps Me Up at Night, played sporadically for a few years, and then went their separate ways.

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TVD Recommends: Charlie Dennard at Chickie Wah Wah, 7/3

Keyboardist Charlie Dennard will be celebrating the release of his latest project Friday night at Chickie Wah Wah.

Regular readers of TVD will recognize Dennard’s name from my coverage of his first solo release, last year’s From Brazil To New Orleans. The new record is also a return to his roots playing Hammond B-3 in the organ trio setting. After fifteen years touring the globe with the Cirque Du Soleil, Dennard is back in New Orleans. Five O’clock Charlie was also the name of a band he led in the 1990s.

This new recording, Five O’clock Charlie, demonstrates the depth of his musical talent since it is so different from his first effort, which mined connections between two of the musical capitals of the world.

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Tipitina’s and Galactic partner for inaugural Landing Festival, September 26-27

Ever since the closing of the World’s Fair back in the 1980s, music lovers in New Orleans have longed for a new venue on the water which would provide concertgoers with cool breezes and hot jams. This fall, our dreams come true with the first Landing Festival located on the south shore of Lake Ponchatrain.

Tipitina’s and Galactic are curating the two-day festival’s offerings and it looks to be a who’s who of local and national jam-oriented bands.

Of course, Galactic will perform. Expect to see Grace Potter, Cake, Dr. Dog, Trampled by Turtles, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the North Mississippi Allstars, Anders Osborne present N.M.O., the Soul Rebels, and Rayland Baxter. More bands are expected to be announced.

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Celebrate Deacon
John’s 75th birthday
at Tipitina’s, 6/27

This Saturday night the musical chameleon “Deacon” John Moore will be celebrating a milestone with a performance at Tipitina’s with his long-running band, the Ivories.

“Deac” has worn many hats over his long career. From a session man during the 1950s R&B heyday to a Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar slinger in the psychedelic 60s, his career is unprecedented in New Orleans history.

For a long time, he mostly played private gigs, reportedly unhappy with the offers from local clubs. But recently, he has surfaced in a variety of venues—always leading a crack band and always with a smile on his face.

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TVD Recommends: Terence Higgins’ Trio Electric (featuring Cliff Hines & Brian Coogan) at the Maple Leaf, 6/24

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Three of my favorite musicians will be getting together Thursday night at the Maple Leaf Bar to create “a night of psychedelic craziness” that is danceable as well. Those words come from guitarist Cliff Hines. He will be appearing with keyboardist Brian Coogan and drummer Terence Higgins.

This music is edgy in the best sense of the word. Higgins, who many know from his many years in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, with Ani DiFranco, Warren Haynes, and others keeps the band grounded and keeps the dance floor hopping.

Coogan, who is a musical chameleon and plays with Pretty Lights on the international touring circuit and Hines, of Hildegard and numerous other projects, have developed into intuitive players who can play “very loose and improvisational in the best way.” Again those are the words of Hines.

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Kevin Sekhani’s Day Ain’t Done out today, 6/23, on Louisiana Red Hot Records

Kevin Sekhani, the former vocalist for the Mercy Brothers and longtime member of the Austin music scene, releases his solo debut today on Louisiana Red Hot Records.

A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, his new record combines the influences of southwest Louisiana and the progressive Americana of Austin.

With backing from musicians who have worked with Son Volt, John Mellencamp, and Patty Griffin, the new album layers instrumentation including violin, mandolin, accordion, and acoustic guitars exuding the feeling of back porch jam on a Louisiana Saturday night.

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TVD Recommends:
Lion Songs: Thomas Mapfumo and the Music that Made Zimbabwe and companion album

Thomas Mapfumo is one of the greatest African musicians of our time. On the continent, and especially in Zimbabwe, he is comparable to Fela Kuti and Bob Marley. Yet he is mostly unknown in the United States except among a dedicated group of world music lovers. Banning Eyre, a long time correspondent for Afropop Worldwide, aims to change that with his new book and companion album.

Eyre tells the story of the Zimbabwean singer, composer, and bandleader with attention to historical detail, sophisticated understanding of his musical milieu, and unabashed reverence for the man tempered with clear-eyed reality. This is no hagiography as Eyre narrates Mapfumo’s life in the context of Zimbabwe’s pre and post revolutionary history and exposes the contradictions and personal foibles of the man.

I saw Mapfumo three times—twice in 1991 when he performed at the Jazz Fest in April and then again in mid May at Tipitina’s. I wrote a preview before his show at the House of Blues in 2000, which appeared in the Louisiana Weekly. Here’s an excerpt of that column: “Mapfumo is known in his native country as the Lion of Zimbabwe. His music, known as chimurenga, was a critical component of that country’s quest for independence and self-rule. Chimurenga literally means ‘liberation war.’

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Galactic launches Pledge Music campaign for Into the Deep

Everybody’s favorite funky soul band—or is it soulful funk band?—just finished putting the last touches on their new record Into The Deep which comes out on July 17, 2015. But before they put it out into the world, they wanted to make it available to fans of the band before it is available to the public.

Pre-ordering gets you instant access to one of the brand new tracks, “Right On,” as well as exclusive updates and additional content. Check out one of the new tracks after the jump.

The group is also adding some very cool limited-edition items and experiences that fans have been clamoring for including turntable mats, signed vinyl and CDs, drum heads, meet and greets, lessons, and more.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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