Author Archives: Jay Mazza

The Revolution bring the Prince catalog to the Joy Theater, 2/22

With the untimely passing of Prince, the world lost one of the true geniuses of music. While his death has left a major void, see the Superbowl halftime show a month ago, it also sparked the reunion of one of the Purple One’s most formidable backing bands. The Revolution will be appearing at Joy Theater Thursday night with DJ Soul Sister opening.

While Prince was known for writing the songs, producing the music, and playing most of the instruments on a majority of his albums, he had some strong collaborators throughout his career. Most prominent among them are Revolution band members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z, BrownMark, and Dr. Fink.

These are the musicians who performed with Prince on some of his best works including Purple Rain, Around the World In a Day, and Parade. Some of the musicians also played on 1999, Controversy, Dirty Mind, and Sign O’ The Times.

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The Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra returns to
the Hi Ho Lounge on Fat Tuesday!

This year’s eagerly awaited return of the all-star Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra features some of the best musicians New Orleans has to offer. The group will play three sets beginning at 4 PM on Mardi Gras at the Hi Ho Lounge. Last year’s performance sold out, so get there early to guarantee you’ll see at least one Indian on Fat Tuesday.

Accordionist, percussionist, and vocalist Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes of Sunpie and Louisiana Sunspots and various other ensembles fronts the orchestra along with Big Chief David Montana of the Washitaw Nation Mardi Gras Indian tribe. The band, which presents big band arrangements of classics from the black Indian canon of New Orleans, has new songs this year after extensive rehearsals.

The musicians performing include guitar players Jake Eckert (New Orleans Suspects, Dirty Dozen Brass Band) and Billy Iuso (Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives), reed player Brad Walker (Sturgill Simpson and numerous others), cellist Helen Gillet, violinist Rurick Nunan, drummer Eric Bolivar, percussionist Rosie Rosato, keyboardist CR Gruver (New Orleans Suspects), and bassist Reggie Scanlan (The Radiators).

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TVD Live: RAM with Arcade Fire at the Inaugural Krewe du Kanaval, 2/6

PHOTOS: DENNIS McDONOUGH | When Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the married couple who front Arcade Fire, teamed up with Ben Jaffe (all pictured above) and his crew at Preservation Hall to create a new Mardi Gras organization focused on the connections between Haiti and New Orleans, most observers knew it would be something special. On Tuesday afternoon (2/6) the debut of the Krewe du Kanaval was a rousing success, joining two copacetic cultural traditions into a synergistic carnival.

The event concluded with a concert by RAM, a well-known Haitian band that performed at the New Orleans Jazz Fest back in 1994 and again in 2011 when the festival was celebrating the island nation. Chassagne has roots in Haiti and performed along with Butler at RAM’s most recent appearance at Jazz Fest.

The two joined them again this year, along with members of the Preservation Hall Brass Band, on a much bigger stage to a much more enthusiastic crowd filled with Carnival revelers, world music aficionados, and a fair number of Haitian expatriates.

RAM was founded and is led by Richard A. Morse (hence the band’s name), an enigmatic character who wore a top hat and acted as a master of ceremonies of sorts while his group played traditional Haitian songs and his originals with the hard thump of a rock band.

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Miss Mojo launches Kickstarter to fund
first full length album

Since 2014 the soulful band Miss Mojo has been wowing audiences with their kinetic live show and great original songs. They are now seeking funds to support their effort to produce Love in Time. If you haven’t seen the band perform at venues around town or during their recent east coast tour, they will be playing Lundi Gras night (2/12) at the Hi Ho Lounge.

Miss Mojo has already released the “Up & Personal” EP and a great music video, which you can check out below. But they are ready at this point in their careers to produce a defining work.

“Up & Personal” was financed strictly from gig money, but they believe this new project deserves a larger financial commitment. The ten songs that will make up Miss Mojo’s first full-length album were written with the intention of taking the listener on a journey. It follows the movement of an individual through the various stages of a relationship, capturing the emotions and energies while navigating the complexities of love.

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Dinola to play two shows next week in support of Up High, the first vinyl pressed in New Orleans

The New Orleans heavy rock and blues band Dinola will play Sunday night (2/4) at the Circle Bar and Tuesday night (2/6) at Gasa Gasa before heading to Texas for a quartet of shows. The band’s latest release, Up High, a 12″ 45 rpm disc, holds the distinction of being the very first record manufactured at New Orleans Record Press, a newly opened vinyl plant in the Crescent City. It was released on Saustex Records on January 19, 2018.

This wide-release debut was produced by Dave Catching (Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal) and recorded and mixed by Hayden Scott (Arctic Monkeys, AWOLNATION) at Catching’s storied studio located in Joshua Tree in California’s desert.

Sue Ford, the lead vocalist of famed Mardi Gras parade band Pink Slip, fronts Dinola. Pink Slip holds the distinction of not only being the first rock band to perform on a float during the ancient Carnival tradition, but also the first all-female act.

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Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane’s Mahoney’s
Last Stand
in stores tomorrow, 2/2

Sometimes an album created by some of rock music’s greatest artists gets lost in the shuffle of time. That’s certainly the case with Mahoney’s Last Stand, an album featuring future Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ron Wood and Faces’ songwriter and bassist Ronnie Lane as well as a who’s who of British rock stars from the 1970s. The album resurfaces tomorrow.

The 1972 session which produced Mahoney’s Last Stand was produced by Glyn Johns—the legend behind efforts by Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and numerous other classic rock acts including the Eagles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and of course, The Beatles.

Some of the other musicians who appear on the album, which was actually a soundtrack for a film (seen above and below), include Pete Townshend as well as several players who had connections to the Rolling Stones including Ian McLagan, Ian Stewart, Bobby Keys, and Jim Price.

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Hugh Masekela,
An appreciation from
New Orleans

When South African superstar Hugh Masekela was forced to cancel his 2017 appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, few expected the ebullient, slyly subversive, anti-apartheid trumpeter, gravel-voiced singer, and international music icon would be dead less than a year later. He died in Johannesburg on Tuesday, January 23 at the age of 78.

The prostate cancer that silenced his buoyant horn and irrepressible voice ended a long career that included numerous performances in New Orleans. It also scuttled a highly anticipated reunion at Jazz Fest with pianist Abdullah Ibrahim (nee Dollar Brand) and their definitive South African jazz band, the Jazz Epistles. The group drew heavily on American bebop, a style simultaneously influencing New Orleanians such as Ellis Marsalis, James Black, and Harold Battiste in the 1950s and 1960s. Masekela was also scheduled to perform a “Salute to Louis Armstrong” with New Orleans trumpeter James Andrews and clarinetist Dr. Michael White.

Most Americans became familiar with Masekela when his hit “Grazing in the Grass” topped the charts in 1968. But for New Orleanians, it was the Rebirth Brass Band’s youthfully exuberant cover of the song, which appeared on their Rebirth Kickin’ It Live album in 1991 and was consistently in their live sets during the period.

While Masekela’s original version of the song is a classic, Rebirth’s take defines the tune for a generation of New Orleans music lovers with Kermit Ruffins hitting the high notes and the brass band’s furiously syncopated rhythm churning away.

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Jazz Fest releases
2018 lineup!

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s annual rollout of its schedule is one of the mostly eagerly awaited moments on the city’s festival season calendar. Though it will be a little over two months before the “cubes” are released allowing people to figure out their daily plans, today’s announcement gives music lovers plenty to salivate over. The festival is scheduled for April 27–May 6, 2018.

Most people look at the top of the page for the headliners and that’s a good place to start with Aerosmith, perhaps the hardest rocking of the baby boomer bands to ever play the fest, getting lead billing. They share the top line with proof that Jazz Fest has something for everyone—Aretha Franklin, Sting, Jimmy Buffett, Jack White, Beck, and Lionel Richie.

Though it will take more time to ferret out all the hidden gems on the schedule, a quick perusal suggests the festival is reaching out to a Latin American demographic with the inclusion of the Columbian superstar Juanes. He is a rocker who has played the festival before.

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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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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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