Category Archives: TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: Dr. John & The Nite Trippers at the Joy Theater, 9/20

The Good Doctor will take the stage of the newly renovated Joy Theater this weekend, exactly one month and one day after the release of his well reviewed Louis Armstrong tribute Ske-Dat-De-Dat…The Spirit Of Satch.

The album has not just struck a chord with critics and fans alike, but has been sitting at the top of the jazz charts for the past two weeks. A record full of Satchmo songs is a concept the pianist/ singer has been mulling over for a while. Two years ago he played a teaser track as an encore at Jazz Fest.

While the crowd will be treated to fresh and interesting interpretations of such perennial favorites as “What a Wonderful World,” (which the Nite Trippers promise to funkify), and “Mac the Knife” performed as a hip-hop cut on the recent release, the performance will also span the entire half-century career of the Crescent City legend.

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Juice from Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood in stores today, 9/16

The ongoing collaboration between the jazz guitar legend John Scofield and the adventurous jazz-rock trio, Medeski, Martin & Wood continues today with the release of Juice. This is their third effort together; an ever-changing musical dialogue that began with the 1997 release of A Go Go.

This time out, the quartet sought common ground in exploring the rhythms of the African diaspora, including sounds from Brazil and the Caribbean and how they intertwine with jazz. A Go Go was all compositions by Scofield and 2006’s Out Louder was an exercise in collective co-improvisation.

The album includes four cover songs including three very well-known tunes from the rock ‘n’ roll canon.

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Marcello Benetti celebrates new album release at Snug Harbor, 9/14

Creative music has been getting a lot of attention these days from TVD New Orleans and from writers across the city. One of the reasons has been an influx of talent moving to the city as well as visiting to perform.

Benetti is a well-regarded Italian drummer, composer, and improviser who first visited in 2008 to interact with the city’s great musicians. He moved here in 2011 and celebrates the release of his second American recording at Snug Harbor on Sunday night.

From East To West is the name of the album and it features three stalwarts of the local scene. Helen Gillet plays cello, Rex Gregory is on clarinets and flute, and Jeff Albert is on trombone. Read More »

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TVD Recommends:
Cory Branan at the BEATnik, 9/11

The club formerly known as the Big Top (on Clio, just off of St. Charles) will host the alternative country troubadour. Doors open at 8 PM.

Throughout his fifteen-year career Cory has remained an artist who defies any attempt to pigeonhole and neatly categorize.

Often his songs sound like they just might be at home on a pop country radio station if they weren’t so good. But upon closer listening, his lyrics evoke the painfully poetic Conor Oberst more than Kenny Chesney. (We listened to his most recent album and there was no mention of tractors, sexy or otherwise.)

But not every cut off Cory’s latest album has a Nashville-ready sound. Slower, introspective tracks such as the “The Meantime Blues” are reminiscent of John Prine. To further confound those trying to describe his sound, Branan definitely has a bit of a punk flair.

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TVD Recommends: Black Lips at Tipitina’s, 9/10

It’s pretty rare that a musician decides to share his vomit with his adoring fans, but the Black Lips are not your standard garage rock band and Cole Alexander is not your standard guitarist. He suffers from acid reflux and has often decided he should deal with the accompanying symptoms (vomiting) right there, broadcasting the condition, and all its accompanying glory, with the audience.

It adds a GG Allin-inspired spectacle to the group’s live shows and it doesn’t end with upchucking. the Black Lips are committed to rowdy shows where no bodily fluid is left behind. Alexander once briefly got the band banned from the Bowery’s venues for taking a piss while performing. Jared Swilly, the group’s bassist, didn’t think it was that big of a deal because, “really, its just recycled beer.” Apparently it wasn’t, because the ban didn’t last very long.

The Bowery got over it, because these rowdy, anything-goes performances, along with the no-fi musical esthetic teeming with lyrics that fixate and idealize on the banal, crude and everyday sell out shows, and not just in dingy American bars.

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Creative saxophonist Ken Vandermark invades New Orleans

The McArthur Foundation grant winner will be in the city today and tomorrow (9/8-9/9) for a variety of events including a solo improvised performance, two collaborations with local musicians, and speaking appearances.

Often described as an avant-garde musician, Vandermark’s primary creative emphasis has been the exploration of contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. He was awarded the McArthur “genius” award in 1999.

His first appearance will be Monday evening at 8 PM in the acoustically pristine environs of Loyola University’s Roussel Performance Hall. The entirely improvised show will feature three stalwarts of the local creative music scene—drummer Alvin Fielder, bassist James Singleton, and trombonist Jeff Albert.

Prior to the performance, Albert, a professor of music at Loyola, will interview Vandermark. The show and the interview are free!

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Jazz in the Park series kicks off for the Fall today, 9/4

The days are getting shorter; the nights are getting longer. As of press time there was even a hint of coolness in the air. But we really know fall is on the way when the concerts begin in Armstrong Park.

The fall series, which continues until October 30, opens this afternoon with a killer double bill. Drummer Shannon Powell will lead his all-star band beginning at 5 PM. Expect to see Kyle Roussell on keys, Jeranne Ansari on tenor sax, and the legendary David Barard (Dr. John) on bass playing a mix of R & B, jazz, and funk.

His performance will be preceded by a parade at 4 PM featuring those Tremé mainstays, the Sudan Social Aid and Pleasure Club. The parade will feature the All4One Brass Band.

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Saxophonist Tim Green, R.I.P.

Numerous superlatives have been utilized by professional writers, fans, and fellow musicians to describe the musical prowess of the consummate sideman who passed away last week. Over the course of over 30 years he performed on stages of every size within every style on the vast musical continuum we call “New Orleans music.” From avant-garde jazz to hard rock, he played with hundreds of musicians and seemingly preferred none of them to any other.

What he brought to every performance was an intense spirit and focus regardless of whether he was on stage in giant venues with musical superstars like Peter Gabriel, in sold out clubs with local icons like George Porter, Jr., or in an empty bar with a pick up blues band. This video is short, but it defines his aesthetic.

Over the course of those 30 plus years I saw Green perform hundreds of times. If I had to choose one adjective to describe his abilities, it is synergistic. He made every musician he played with sound better. He made every band he played with sound better. And he made every performance sound better to every listener in the room.

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Mad Decent Block Party celebrates seventh birthday at Mardi Gras World, 8/29

Back in 2008, it happened on a whim. It was just a block party. The guys at Mad Decent wanted to do something for the kids in Philadelphia who were hanging out in the East Coast heat all summer long. So they got a permit from the city and put some speakers and caution tape in front of “The Mausoleum,” as the then-headquarters of the label was called (the building had actually been a manufacturing site for mausoleums in some bygone, pre- Diplo era). No more than 1,000 people showed up throughout the whole day.

Seven years later, that block party has grown significantly. Now a one-day festival, these ragers welcome thousands of fans in twenty-three individual cities. The lineups have expanded from the Mad Decent roster to include larger national acts and you definitely can’t just show up anymore.

Due to the increased popularity, the organization has made it a ticketed event, instead of the free, first come-first-served party it had been for the five first years. Regarding the change, label manager Jasper Goggins said, “It’s not like the goal is to make money off of this thing; the reason it had to go to a ticketed system this year is because we couldn’t accommodate all the people who wanted to come.”

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TVD Recommends:
The Songs of Townes Van Zandt at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/28

The musical poet laureate of Texas has never had a huge profile except among the musical cognoscenti, but since his death, his acclaim has only grown and is reaching a new generation of musicians who weren’t even born during his heyday. Thursday night at Chickie Wah Wah a gaggle of them are coming together to play the songs of Van Zandt.

The Kid Carsons are, pardon the pun, the newest kids on the block in New Orleans. Fronted by a brother and sister team, the band puts the country into country rock with fabulous original songs. I also heard them do a set of songs from the Byrds’ Sweethearts of the Rodeo album, which featured country rock avatar Gram Parsons, and was impressed by their musicality and attention to historic detail.

Alexis Marceaux has grown in stature far beyond her television claim to fame as a contestant on The Voice. Along with multi-instrumentalist Sam Craft, she fronts Alexis and the Samurai. But that band may eventually be eclipsed by their francophone big band project, Sweet Crude.

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