Author Archives: Jay Mazza

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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Basin Street Records releases new vinyl,
set to celebrate 20 years of amazing music at Tipitina’s, 11/4

Back in 1997 when I was following Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers to nearly every gig they played, one of the standout performances in the era was for the recording of a live album at Tipitina’s. Ruffins hadn’t played at the world famous club very many times since leaving the Rebirth Brass Band, so it was an occasion.

The recording turned out to be the first release of the fledgling Basin Street Records label. Now, dozens of albums later, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers and Basin Street are back where it all began to celebrate the label’s anniversary. They are also releasing that seminal recording, The Barbecue Swingers Live, on vinyl for the first time!

There are a couple of other Basin Street artists on the bill. Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, whose recent collaboration with Ruffins, A Beautiful World, recently hit #1 on the Billboard jazz chart, will be appearing with his band Cirque du Freque.

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Boyfriend presents “Hag” at Preservation Hall, 10/27–10/28

PHOTO: JASON KRUPPA | Preservation Hall will resound with the mile-a-minute raps of Boyfriend, the nerd-eclectic rapper, songwriter, and performance artist on Friday and Saturday night long after the traditional jazz bastion has said goodbye to the last fans of clarinets, sousaphones, and trumpets. Her sets start at midnight both nights.

The show is a very special one coinciding with both the Voodoo Music Experience, which is taking over City Park all weekend, and Halloween celebrations in New Orleans. The show, called “Hag,” is a scripted and immersive, three-act concert-experience. Boyfriend wrote, directs, and produces the show.

“Hag” features a variety of performers playing different roles. Boyfriend is listed as the “bride,” the “whore,” and the “hag.” The three acts each have names. Act I is “The Ideal Woman,” act II is “Into the Brothel…,” and act II is “To the Dark Side.” For fans of Boyfriend and curious newcomers interested in the sex-positive, female artist known for performing in lingerie and giant curlers, this will be an experience like no other. Tickets are going fast, so get yours a soon as possible.

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TVD Video Premiere: Nyce!, “Sweet Samantha”

This past June, TVD was honored to premiere the song, “Where Do I Go From Here,” from local eclectic pop band, Nyce! Today we present the world premiere of the video for “Sweet Samantha” from the same album, Quarter Life Crisis. The album is the second from the band and this is their first official music video.

The song’s lyrics explore lust, passion, and the imagination. The music video, filmed and directed by Jazmarae Beebe, illustrates these themes with an enigmatic storyline, which involves a photographer’s obsession over three women… or so it appears.

Nyce! began as a violin/upright bass acoustic duo busking in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Along with this music video and the recent release of Quarter Life Crisis, the band has been playing various venues in New Orleans and touring regularly throughout the Northeast and the South.

On November 7th, Nyce! will be launching an indie gogo campaign for their next album, Night and Day. They have an elaborate and exciting crowd-funding plan to help finish the recording process.

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Soul pop guitarist
Jackie Venson brings Transcends to Howlin’ Wolf’s the Den, 10/22

Fresh off a tour with fellow Austin, Texas guitarist and vocalist Gary Clark Jr. with whom she has been compared, Jackie Venson will bring her powerful stage presence, mesmerizing voice, and hot guitar licks to the Den at the Howlin’ Wolf on Sunday night.

Venson’s new album, 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.

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TVD Live: Samantha Fish at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Fest, 10/14

PHOTOS: DENNIS McDONOUGH | 28-year old blues phenom Samantha Fish and her five piece band complete with horns got the crowd warmed up for headliner Robert Cray with a scintillating set of scorching uptempo songs and haunting ballads.

Fish, who grew up in Kansas City and now resides in New Orleans, is a powerful live performer. Her guitar work shows the influences of the blues greats that came before her including Buddy Guy and her mentor Mike Zito. But it’s her voice, particularly on the slow burn numbers, which sets her apart from other female blues and roots musicians.

As a singer, she fully invests herself in each song and despite her young age, the blues being a style that needs to be lived in for a while, she comes across emotionally. She can really sell a song.

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Leo Nocentelli set to
jam with the New Soul Finders! at the Little
Gem Saloon, 10/14

Funk guitar legend Leo Nocentelli will add his stellar chops to an all-star aggregation that comes together periodically to celebrate the funk legacy of New Orleans pianist, songwriter, producer, and vocalist Eddie Bo. King James and the Special Men, another local ensemble in debt to the R&B greats of New Orleans, will kick the show off upstairs in the Little Gem Ramp Room.

The New Soul Finders! feature Marilyn Barbarin—one of Bo’s primary vocalists during his funk period with the original Soul Finders. The new version of the band includes guitarist Marc Stone, bassist Reggie Scanlan, keyboardist Tom Worrell, and drummer Terry Scott, Jr. of Dr. John’s band. Special guests include guitarist and vocalist Papa Mali, percussionist Mike Dillon, and sousaphonist Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Next generation soul shouter John Paul Carmody will handle vocals as well.

Like many musicians who grew up in New Orleans in the 1950s and 1960s, Leo Nocentelli has a history with Eddie Bo. Before he became a household name for creating such Meters classics as “Cissy Strut” and “Sophisticated Cissy,” he cut his teeth performing live with Eddie Bo. He also worked as a session guitarist for New Orleans’ premier producer/composer Allen Toussaint.

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Bonerama’s Hot Like Fire in stores today, Tipitina’s release party 10/7

Bonerama, the only-in-New Orleans, trombone-driven funky rock band, is releasing their seventh studio album, Hot Like Fire, on New Orleans’ premier independent label, Basin Street Records. The album drops today. Tomorrow night there will be a major league throwdown at Tipitina’s. 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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Mikayla Braun and Kathryn Rose Wood celebrate new albums
at Gasa Gasa, 10/8

Two of New Orleans most prominent young singer/songwriters are joining forces on Sunday at Gasa Gasa to showcase their latest recordings. Mikayla Braun and Kathryn Rose Wood will both perform their new releases in their entirety. They also promise musical surprises and special guests to “round out the party.”

Mikayla Braun may be best known around town as the lead vocalist of the Crooked Vines. Her EP, “Synapse,” features music she wrote and recorded since moving to New Orleans five years ago. Kathryn Rose Wood is celebrating the release of her debut solo album, In The Ashes. She formerly performed with her band Social Set and was co-lead vocalist for Gravy Flavored Kisses.

In addition to performing with the Crooked Vines, Braun, who plays ukulele and piano, also fronts her own quartet. Her new EP mines the experiences the young singer has had since relocating and becoming part of the fertile live music scene in New Orleans. The EP arrives in stores nationally on October 10.

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Interactivo Esencial brings its global rhythms to the New Orleans Jazz Market, 10/5

The fine folks at the CubaNOLA Arts Collective are known for solidifying the centuries-old connections between New Orleans and Cuba. They regularly bring great Cuban musicians to New Orleans and Thursday night is no exception when Interactivo Esencial comes to the New Orleans Jazz Market.

The band scheduled to perform features founding members of Interactivo—a Cuban jazz collective that features a revolving cast of all-star Cuban musicians who explore a wide range of styles while ignoring musical boundaries. Interactivo concerts have been described as “the ultimate house-party jam session.” Telmary, the female Cuban rapper who blew away the Jazz Fest this past spring, is a member of the collective.

Jazz pianist Robertico Carcassés (pictured at top) leads Interactivo Esencial along with founding members Julito Padrón on trumpet and vocals and vocalist and dancer Francis del Río. The three musicians are arriving direct from Cuba and will be joined by Miami-based collaborators Néstor del Prado on bass and Reinier Guerra on drums. (Editor’s note: William Vivanco was added to the show after press time).

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Thee Commons bring Paleta Sonora to Gasa Gasa, 10/3

Cumbia began as a style of music on the Caribbean coasts of Latin America. Since then the genre has expanded to other parts of the world and integrated other influences. The latest buzz band on the scene in Los Angeles is Thee Commons and they describe their hybrid as psychedelic cumbia-punk. They play at Gasa Gasa on Tuesday night.

Singing in both Spanish and English, the group takes the dance beats associated with cumbia and marries them to the raucous energy and irreverent lyrics of punk. Their live shows have garnered critical raves since the band began playing their high-energy sets in 2012.

Chris Ziegler, founder of LA Record, wrote about Thee Commons, “Live, they’re fearless, confident, and ready to go off-script at a moment’s inspiration. It’s wild stuff, just as it absolutely should be.” To which Chris Kissel of LA Weekly further commented, “If Thee Commons aren’t the best live band in Los Angeles, they’re damn near the top.”

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TVD Live: The Magnificent Seven
at Tipitina’s, 9/22

PHOTOS: DAVID TRACER | The self-described “band of bandleaders” put on a show Friday night at Tipitina’s that was brimming with familial camaraderie, casual virtuosity, and infectious joy. The band features Dave and Tommy Malone on guitars and vocals, John “Papa” Gros on keyboards and vocals, and Mark Mullins on trombone and vocals. The unstoppable, deep-in-the-pocket rhythm section includes Rob Mercurio on bass, Raymond Weber on drums, and Michael Skinkus on percussion.

These seven musicians have such a deep catalog of songs to choose from that the audience was occasionally left baffled by some tunes and amazed at the inclusion of others. They started the show off with a bang with Sam and Dave’s classic, “You Got Me Hummin’.”

For many in the crowd, the show was as much about seeing the Malone brothers perform together as the intense musicianship of the other players, But Mullins, for one, was not going to be upstaged. He got right into the middle of the jam with a trombone solo loaded up from the start.

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Basin Street Records celebrates 20 years
with Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield and
more tonight, 9/22

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the local label released their first album, Kermit Ruffins’ The BBQ Swingers—Live. They are pulling out all the stops to celebrate with a first-time-on-vinyl re-release of that initial album as well as new releases, a new book, and a very special evening tonight.

The party begins with a celebration of the release of A Beautiful World, a new album featuring Ruffins, fellow trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, and a cast of dozens of musicians. It starts at the Louisiana Music Factory at 6 PM and extends into the wee, wee hours down the street at the Blue Nile.

A Beautiful World is a thrilling collection of new tunes and classics from across the New Orleans musical spectrum. Cyril Neville guests on the Meters’ ballad, “Be My Lady” and sings a new one he wrote along with Ruffins and Mayfield called “Allen Toussaint.”

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The Magnificent Seven ride again at Tipitina’s, Friday 9/22

PHOTO: MARC MILLMAN PHOTOGRAPHY | You hear the term “supergroup” way too often. But how about a band of bandleaders? That’s what’s happening at Tipitina’s on Friday night when the Magnificent Seven get together for the first time in nearly a year and a half. The group was supposed to play Jazz Fest this past spring but was one of several bands to get cancelled due to rain. It’s their only show of the year. The videos below are the originals of some of the songs they may play.

The Magnificent Seven features Dave and Tommy Malone on guitar and vocals. They front the Radiators and the subdudes respectively. John “Papa” Gros of Papa Grows Funk is on keyboards and vocals. Bonerama’s lead horn man and singer Mark Mullins is on trombone and vocals. The rhythm section features Rob Mercurio of Galactic on bass, Raymond Weber (formerly of Dumpstaphunk and Dr. John’s Lower 911) on drums, and Michael Skinkus, the bandleader of Moyuba, is on percussion.

These seven musicians have a vast book of songs available to perform including tunes from each of their respective catalogs. Based on their three previous performances, fans are likely to hear a lot of covers, both well-known and obscure.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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