Jimbo Mathus, the mastermind behind the million-selling sensation, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, is debuting his latest side project, the Overstuffed Po-Boys, at Chickie Wah Wah on Thursday night. They will be playing 1960s and 1970s R&B classics from New Orleans including works by the likes of Ernie K Doe, Chris Kenner, Lee Dorsey, and Robert Parker.
His new outfit features a number of musicians who are currently part of the latest lineup of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Expect to see Nielson Bernard on drums, Dr. Sick on violin, banjo, and musical saw, Charlie Halloran on trombone, Henry Westmoreland on saxophone, and Leslie Martin on keys.
While the Squirrel Nut Zippers were pigeonholed in the swing music revival of the 1990s, Mathus, who also produces music and plays hill country blues among other genres, says that style of music was never really part of the music’s DNA.
Eric “Benny” Bloom is best known as the trumpet player for the high energy, touring band Lettuce, but he is a versatile musician interested in a wide variety of styles. On Friday night, he brings his local jazz ensemble to Chickie Wah Wah. The band features Kyle Roussel on keys, Jamison Ross on drums, and Jasen Weaver on bass.
Roussel first appeared on TVD’s radar playing with the venerable Dirty Dozen Brass Band. In an interview a couple of years back, the Dozen’s leader, Gregory Davis, praised Roussel for his youthful energy and focus. His first album as a leader won praise across the board for his inventive songs.
Jamison Ross is a drummer and vocalist par excellence who matriculated through the Jazz Studies program at Florida State University, got his masters at the University of New Orleans, and won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for drums in 2012. He is as formidable as a vocalist as he is as a drummer. His debut album was nominated for a Grammy.
PHOTO: STEVE GALLI | Brooklyn transplant Cole Williams has quickly developed a presence in New Orleans due to regular gigging and an enthusiastic attitude about New Orleans music. She plays her first headlining gig at a Mardi Gras ball on Saturday night when she appears with her band at the party after the Krewe Delusion parade. Showtime is 10 PM at the New Orleans Healing Center.
At just two years as a New Orleans resident, Williams is very excited to play for the krewe. When she first saw the Krewe of King of James, one of Delusion’s sub krewes which was founded by DJ Soul Sister as an homage to James Brown, she thought, “here’s some strong women I could parade with…”
Though Williams isn’t parading with the Krewe of James this year, the chance to play the ball was one she couldn’t resist. She said, “This is a really good opportunity to play for some people who maybe haven’t heard me yet.”
However, the list of people in New Orleans who have yet to hear Williams is rapidly getting smaller. She plays a regular Saturday night gig at the Marigny Brassiere on Frenchmen Street, played at Jazz Fest last year, and is booked to play French Quarter Fest for the first time this year. Williams is also putting the finishing touches on her first east coast tour as a local New Orleanian and is really thrilled about bringing her band to her old stomping grounds in New York.
The acclaimed jazz bassist is in town under the auspices of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. The concert will happen Friday evening (2/10) at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center at 1225 N. Rampart Street. The free clinic will be held at the same location for bass players and other rhythm section musicians at 4:30 PM today (2/9). To register for the clinic in advance (required) go here.
The free concerts, which have been happening regularly since the center named for the legendary producer of the Jazz Fest opened, are supported by the dollars you spend at Jazz Fest every spring. Seating is extremely limited in the intimate, state of the art acoustic space. Doors open at 7:30 PM and the band will play two sets at 8 and 9 PM.
Speaking of the band—McBride will be backed by an all-star group of New Orleans musicians featuring David Torkanowsky on piano, Johnny Vidacovich on drums, and Detroit Brooks on guitar.
Today is day! The fine folks at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival released the lineup for the 2017 event, which is scheduled for April 28 through May 7. Big names aplenty are on the schedule including another shot for Stevie Wonder after his rainout last year. Here are my thoughts on some of the undercard acts after my first look. The full lineup with all the big names is here.
Cuba comes to Jazz Fest! This is huge. In years past when the fest has celebrated a specific country, aficionados of the music of that land have occasionally griped about the choices. Not this year!
The cream of the crop of Cuban musicians will appear including Los Van Van, Chucho Valdes, and relative newcomers like Daymé Arocena. Her new album is due in stores on March 10 and has been in steady rotation on my speakers. All in all, twelve Cuban acts are scheduled.
Tank and the Bangas will return to one of the clubs where they got their start on Saturday night. The opening act is a fine new aggregation featuring local and national rock and world music heavyweights.
Kettle Black is the brainchild of keyboardist Keith Burnstein, former leader of the Mumbles and keyboardist with Kristin Diable and Cole Williams among many others. The band features dueling percussionists Michael Skinkus and Luke Quaranta (Toubab Krewe), guitarist Raja Kassis (Antibalas), and saxophonist Charles Lumar.
The music of Kettle Black takes its cues from the African and Cuban influences found in New Orleans music. It is funky, heartfelt; like a quiet dance. Burnstein’s inspirations as a songwriter come from a deep pool. Tin Pan Alley is the touchstone, but he cites modern songwriters like Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, jazz great Keith Jarrett, and New Orleans’ own Dr. John as important in his musical development. He has toured with funk legends the Headhunters (on the piano bench of no less a luminary than Herbie Hancock) and has released three albums as a leader.
Spring is in the air in New Orleans. The lineup for the 34th annual French Quarter Festival was released on Tuesday and it features over twenty new artists including the festival debut of the legendary Aaron Neville. The French Quarter Festival runs from April 6–9, 2017 and TVD is proud to be a media sponsor for the sixth year in the row. Stay tuned to this page for future announcements and daily musical picks.
Other debuts this year include the Cole Williams Band, Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole, Cupid, the Messy Cookers Jazz Band, Mo’Fess, Love Evolution, and the Perdido Jazz Band. One of the smaller stages, which was located on Bourbon Street, has relocated to the Jax Brewery in order to accommodate the growth of the festival.
Aaron Neville’s career has had many phases since his debut in the 1950s. The latest chapter is the critical acclaim he has earned for his latest recording, Apache. The album, which was produced by Eric Krasno of the soul jazz band, Soulive, presents Neville’s ethereal voice in a more rootsy setting than his more recent work.
When guitarist and bandleader Marc Stone got together with two veterans of one of Eddie Bo’s late sixties bands to recreate some of his classic sides with younger musicians, he didn’t expect it to last. Nor did he expect it to continually regenerate itself. Last December, Stone announced the final show for the band, which featured vocalist Marilyn Barbarin and bassist and vocalist Paul Boudreaux.
But now the New Soul Finders are back this Saturday night at the Little Gem Saloon because of further interest from other musicians hooked on the sound of New Orleans funk and soul in the late 20th century.
Stone says his connection with the members of the Radiators (who just celebrated their annual reunion shows this past weekend with Stone as one of the opening acts) helped bring the New Soul Finders back on stage. Bassist Reggie Scanlan has a deep affinity for that era of New Orleans music having played with at least two of the legends—Professor Longhair and James Booker. He told Stone he was interested in playing.
Saxophonist James Martin’s eagerly awaited follow up to his debut album is due in stores on Friday, January 13. Martin will be performing live at the Louisiana Music Factory at 4 PM on Saturday and celebrating the album release at the Maple Leaf Bar on January 28. In between he is playing his regular gig at RF’s Martini Bar in the French Quarter on the 13th and the 20th.
I have been seeing Martin since his earliest days on stages in New Orleans with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Orleans Avenue when the musicians were still in high school. His technique on the horn, his vocal ability, and his sense of stagecraft have grown as he has developed into a fully realized musician over the course of those fifteen years.
Now with the release of Something’s Gotta Give, his sophomore effort, Martin has come into his own as a songwriter and bandleader. The new album features all original compositions with the exception of two cuts that both reflect his deep roots in New Orleans.
The southern soul and blues band was born in Birmingham, Alabama but first made their mark in 2006 in New Orleans. Since then, they have developed as a unit, released critically praised recordings, including last year’s Shake that Reputation, and built a following across the country. They return to where it all began for a show Friday night at the Howlin’ Wolf.
The band, which features the scorching Milyn Satterfield Little on vocals, Christian Herring on guitar, Ricky Little on bass, and Dylan Johnson on drums, released their debut recording, Skull Orchard, in 2009. The album scored worldwide airplay. Their 2011 follow-up, Southern Circus, featured guest appearances from well-known musicians including keyboardist Matt Slocum (Susan Tedeschi, Rich Robinson, Col. Bruce Hampton) and trombonist Chad Fisher (Gregg Allman, Jason Isbell, St. Paul & the Broken Bones).
Their tour last year supporting the latest release took the band through twenty states and included incendiary performances at such storied venues as the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, the Windjammer in Charleston, and the Sidewinder in Austin. A special stop was made at Daytrotter Studios in Davenport, Iowa where the group took time off from the rigors of the road to record five new tracks. The new music is currently featured on their site as well as on Paste magazine.
Deltaphonic opens. Show time is 10 PM. Tickets are available here.