Category Archives: TVD New Orleans

Soul Project celebrates release of The Long Hustle at D.B.A., 2/25

Soul Project, one of the hardest working bands in New Orleans, will make their first appearance at D.B.A., though hardly their first show on Frenchmen Street, on Sunday to celebrate the release of their sophomore effort, The Long Hustle. Show time is 10 PM and the band expects numerous special guests including several of the musicians who have cycled through New Orleans’ own self-proclaimed ambassadors of funk over the years.

Led by guitarist and vocalist Cristian Duque, Soul Project has been grinding it out in the clubs of New Orleans since 2001. The Long Hustle is the follow-up album to their 2013 Offbeat magazine’s “Best Of The Beat” nominated debut album, Music For Movers & Shakers.

I have seen the band numerous times over the years and a recent set at the Louisiana Music Factory found the group on top of their game. Though they proclaim themselves to be funksters, and they are definitely funky, old school New Orleans R&B runs through their music like blood runs through veins.

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Acclaimed jazz pianist Jason Moran to play in conjunction with Prospect.4, 2/21–2/22

PHOTO: CLAY PATRICK McBRIDE | A fascinating new piece of public artwork will premiere this weekend in New Orleans as part of the closing weekend of the art exhibition known as Prospect.4: The Lotus In Spite of the Swamp. One of the world’s most famous living artists, Kara Walker (photo below by Chuck Close), has constructed a thirty-two-note steam calliope, which will be installed and activated daily on the banks of the Mississippi in Algiers. On Friday and Saturday afternoon, Jason Moran one of the most important jazz musicians of his generation, will play the contraption.

The Katastwóf Karavan is a calliope similar to the one that is played throughout each day from the deck of the Steamboat Natchez in the French Quarter. Walker’s creation is housed in a funky looking parade wagon of her own design.

The calliope plays songs and sounds associated with the long history of African-American protest music including gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts. Moran will add his own flourishes on Friday at 4:30 PM and on Saturday at 2:30 PM.

While Moran’s appearance will surely be the highlight for jazz fans, the Katastwóf Karavan on the west bank will alternate with the Natchez’s calliope on the east bank all day Friday through Sunday beginning at 11:30 AM on Friday, creating a once-in-a-lifetime, call-and-response experience across the mighty river. Though keep in mind that the artist’s intention is juxtapose the more saccharine sounds of the Natchez with the social messages inherent in her selections.

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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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