Author Archives: Jay Mazza

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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HIP Fest takes over the Blue Nile for two nights, 11/11 and 11/12

(HIP) stands for Hosting Improvising Performers and the second of these annual events features some of the leading lights of the creative music scene. Three internationally known musicians, William Parker (pictured), Rob Mazurek, and Gianluca Petrella, will be appearing with local players in duos and trios and together with one very special local guest at the Blue Nile.

The Village Voice characterized William Parker as, “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time.” He is scheduled to play a duo with bassist and cornetist James Singleton and in a trio with drummer Dave Cappello and HIP Fest co-founder and trombonist Jeff Albert on Tuesday night.

Cornetist and electro-acoustic composer Rob Mazurek has helped redefine the aesthetic boundaries of artistic expression for well over a decade with his Chicago Underground Collective. He will appear with guitarist Cliff Hines as well as with bassist Nathan Lambertson and drummer Simon Lott on Tuesday night. Read More »

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TVD Recommends: Lonesome Leash opening for O’Death at the BEATnik, 11/8


O’Death has been getting raves reviews around the nation for their modern take on alt-country. I expect their set to be wonderful. But the reason I am recommending this show at the BEATnik is because one of the openers is New Orleans’ own Walt McClements performing under his nom de musique. 

Readers will remember him from his tenure with one of my favorite named bands in recent history, Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? He was also a formative inspiration for Alynda Lee Segarra, the songwriter and leader of Hurray for the Riff Raff and he was a member of the band in one of its early incarnations. McClements has also toured with Dark, Dark, Dark—another influential band. Read on to hear his latest single.

I saw his act last year at the AllWays Lounge. He played accordion, drums, and a bit of trumpet, sometimes all at once. His singing was very evocative and the small but attentive crowd ate it up.

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UK electronic pop group Kids on Bridges collaborates with New Orleans artists

The name may not be familiar to New Orleans and American audiences yet, unless you witnessed their over-the-top set in 2011 at the Howlin’ Wolf opening for the Revivalists and the Honey Island Swamp Band, but it will be soon.

The group, whose debut album, Kidology, debuted last month has been tearing up the charts in the United Kingdom.

Released on the famed indie Wall of Sound label, it is currently ranked # 24. Famous UK brands as well as international soda slingers Pepsi are also using the band’s music.

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TVD Recommends: Gravity A’s Talking Heads Tribute plus Yojimbo, 11/1

Heads up music lovers! Amid all the mania associated with the Voodoo Music Experience you don’t want to miss hearing about one of the best shows going on this weekend. So read on. Saturday night, after the gates at Voodoo close, the Joy Theater on Canal Street will feature this killer double bill. Doors are at 11 PM.

Gravity A has been a highly regarded band on the scene since 2004, but they really hit their stride a couple of years ago. Now, they have been really turning ears with a tribute to Talking Heads featuring the guitarist and vocalist Cliff Hines.

When I first heard about this lineup, I was skeptical. Hines is better known in creative music circles and jazz. As far as I know, he was not even regarded as a first-rate vocalist. Intrigued and expecting electro-jazzy takes on T-Heads, I went to one of the early iterations of this tribute last spring at Wednesdays at the Square.

Simply put, I was blown away.

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TVD Recommends: Jorge Luis Pacheco Trio at the Prime Example, 10/30

The Cuban jazz piano player returns to New Orleans for two sets at the intimate Broad Street club on Thursday night.

Pacheco has been making waves in the Havana jazz scene and is considered one of the leading lights of the next generation of jazz artists from the music-obsessed island nation. His trio features New York-based Ivan Llanes Montejo on drums and percussion and Carlos Mena on bass.

Jorge Luis combines his classical training with his passion for jazz and playful touches of popular Cuban and American music. With his parents being prominent opera and choir directors, it’s only fitting that Jorge Luis will sing a few songs as part of this performance.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience first hand one of the best performers of contemporary Cuban music. Showtimes are 8 and 10 PM.

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Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet drops The 21st Century Trad Band today, 10/28

The second album with Marsalis’ work on the vibraphone front and center is available nationwide on the local Basin Street Records label.

As regular readers of this space know, the youngest musical brother in the Marsalis musical dynasty is best known as a drummer. But for the last few years his compositional talents, which I likened to the work of a film composer after his first release, have been showcased on the vibes.

The songs on the album take us on a journey through complex arrangements combining hard-swinging sections with more melodic interludes, unexpected turn-arounds, and an occasional introspective outro.

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