When Leo Nocentelli, the legendary guitarist from the Meters, moved back to town after decades in Los Angeles, he told interviewers not to expect too many local performances. This Saturday night, the funk master is providing something completely different. He will be offering his services as both a teacher and a musician to an intimate group at the famed 100-year-old theater in the French Quarter.
Given Nocentelli’s freewheeling nature as a musician, it’s likely to be a one of a kind event, which is formally billed as, “Dickie Brennan & Co. Presents an Intimate Musical Education Evening with Leo Nocentelli.” Brennan is the famed restaurateur whose business is invested in the theater as well as the adjoining restaurant, Tableau.
Joining Nocentelli on stage will be drummer Jamal Batiste and bassist Nick Daniels. Vocalists Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Darcy Malone, Margie Perez, and Don Bartholomew are on board as well. Eric Paulsen of WWL-TV Channel 4 News will be the host for the evening.
The famed piano, bass, and drums jazz trio return to their roots with a new album featuring amazing cover versions of songs make famous by an incredibly diverse group of musicians and bands. The album is available in stores as well at all leading digital retailers on August 26, 2016.
I have been a fan of the Bad Plus since their early days as a band. A recent album The Bad Plus Joshua Redman was in steady rotation for months. But I first became intrigued with the group because of their inventive rearrangements of songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”
After several years recording original music, the band is back to doing covers. They have created what is bound to be an enduring album with songs by Prince, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peter Gabriel, TV On The Radio, Kraftwerk, and Ornette Coleman among others.
PHOTOS: JOSEPH CRACHIOLA PHOTOGRAPHY| Jazz legend and New Orleans icon Pete Fountain was laid to rest today in a private funeral. On Wednesday, the city of New Orleans and its wide and varied musical community both mourned and celebrated the life of one of the most famous clarinet players in the world with a mass at St. Louis Cathedral and a massive second line parade through the heart of his beloved French Quarter.
The mass was not an all star musical celebration befitting a celebrity of his stature although Irma Thomas did sing the beautiful gospel song “Precious Lord” and Fountain’s protégé Tim Laughlin (pictured below) played his signature tune, “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.” Fittingly for a man’s whose career highlight was performing for Pope John Paul II, it was a traditional Catholic ritual presided over by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
But once the doors of the church swung open and the casket was escorted to a horse-drawn hearse for the second line parade up Royal Street to the Hotel Monteleone, raucous music and joyousness befitting a man known for his joie de vivre were the order of the day.
PHOTO: ANDRE BETTS |Will Calhoun, the hard-rocking drummer from Living Colour reaches back to his roots and formative musical experiences with his second album on Motema Music. Celebrating Elvin Jones is in stores today and features an all-star cast of great jazz musicians.
Calhoun may be best known for his work with the pioneering rock group, but his influences are wide and varied. He said, “Elvin connected my worlds. Although I saw him playing jazz, I felt rock and roll, I felt fusion, I felt African music. It sounds electric, it sounds acoustic, it sounds very African, it sounds very Latin, there are all these elements in there.”
In making the album, Calhoun surrounded himself with players who were also influenced by Jones or played with him. The band is anchored by bassist Christian McBride and features saxophonist Antoine Roney, pianist Carlos McKinney, and trumpeter Keyon Harrold. In keeping with an “it’s all music” ethos that defines the career of Calhoun and was clearly part of Jones’ musical world view, fusion keyboard legend Jan Hammer is featured on one cut and a recording of the late Senegalese percussionist Doudou N’Diaye Rose performing with a group of drummers opens “Doll of the Bride,” a traditional Japanese folk song.
With much of south Louisiana beginning the process of recovering from epic flooding, Chickie Wah Wah will bring much balm to the spirit with the first volume of “Regional Recitals” on Saturday night. The triple bill features the Rayo Brothers, Dylan LeBlanc, and Burris.
The evening begins at 8 PM with the Rayo Brothers. This Americana band features the brothers Daniel and Jesse Reaux. They are part of a musical family that includes members of the Grammy-nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers as well as musicians from more traditional Cajun bands. The brothers have struck a new path, infusing their folk and gospel musical roots with rock band enthusiasm and keen songwriting abilities. Featuring sibling harmonies, the Rayo Brothers put on a rollicking show that flows from raucous foot stompers to intimate singer/songwriter tunes.
Singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc (above) will hit at 10 PM. Hailing from Shreveport, Louisiana and now based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, LeBlanc is a phenom who has been called, “the new Neil Young.” He released two critically acclaimed, major label albums. Paupers Field in 2010 featured the song “If the Creek Don’t Rise” with vocals by Emmylou Harris. LeBlanc’s second album, Cast the Same Old Shadow, was released in August 2012 and his most recent recording, Cautionary Tale, was released independently in January 2016. He has opened for Lucinda Williams, Bruce Springsteen, the Alabama Shakes, Drive By Truckers, and Calexico.
Since its inception in 1998, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has honored members of the cultural community with a ceremony featuring a presentation of awards including the coveted Crystal Feather. This year’s event takes place on Sunday at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center in Central City from 2:00–5:00 PM. I am proud to announce that I am receiving the “scribe” award, which is presented to writers who have supported the cultural community in their work.
Besides bestowing the annual awards, the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame has created photographic yearbooks celebrating the various positions that make up a black Indian tribe including spy boys, flag boys, and queens. This year, they mounted a photo exhibit of boys and young men who mask as Mardi Gras Indians.
The exhibit is on display at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center. Also central to the mission of the organization is their listings, or roll calls in the Hall of Fame’s vernacular, of the names and members of the various tribes. This information is invaluable to individuals seeking to understand the evolution of the ancient cultural tradition, which is known to date back as far as the late 19th century and possibly further.
Alvin Youngblood Hart is a modern-day bluesman who is known across the world as a “musician’s musician.” Everyone has sung his praises from Bob Dylan to British guitar legends Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor. As a solo musician, he mines familiar territory in a style that reflects both the greats of yesteryear and his own unique perspective on roots music playing acoustic and electric guitars and banjo. He plays a solo show tonight at Chickie Wah Wah.
Hart also fronts a band, Muscle Theory, which is a live explosion of sound blurring the lines between blues, roots rock and country. The trio presents an eclectic musical experience that defies genre-fixation.
Hart’s other projects including working with Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers fame as the South Memphis String Band. Their debut album, Home Sweet Home, was nominated for “Best Acoustic Album” at the 2011 Blues Music Awards. Their second album, Old Times There, was released in the spring of 2012; a third recording is on the way.
PHOTOS: ZACK SMITH | Despite forecasts of major storms all weekend, the weather cooperated as the annual celebration of the life and music of Louis Armstrong inaugurated its first iteration in Jackson Square—right at the heart of New Orleans’ iconic French Quarter. Here’s a look back at some of the musical highlights.
When Victor Goines (pictured at top), the longtime reedman for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis, was booked for his debut performance at Satchmo SummerFest, no one could have known that another favorite son of New Orleans, clarinetist Pete Fountain, would pass away while the festival was underway. In true New Orleans fashion, Goines and many of the other acts paid tribute to Fountain with music.
Goines left his tenor saxophone and modern jazz sensibility at home playing both clarinet and soprano sax as his band of musicians from his base in Chicago supported him with scintillating piano riffs and a strong rhythmic foundation on songs associated with traditional New Orleans jazz. Local banjo/guitar player Don Vappie hushed the crowd with a beautiful rendition of the old chestnut, “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans.”
Saturday morning marks the debut of the new air-conditioned stage at the Satchmo SummerFest. It’s sponsored by Fleurty Girl and is known at the Back o’ Town stage. You can find it inside the historical Arsenal building on St. Peter Street just off Jackson Square. Also, the Satchmo Symposium lecture series continues inside Le Petite Theatre also located on the edge of Jackson Square. Here’s a look at what’s happening at the fest on Saturday and Sunday.
Things kick off Saturday at noon with the Ella and Louis Tribute Band. I have seen this act before and it’s wonderful. Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown channels Louis Armstrong on trumpet and vocals and Eileina Dennis, an extraordinary singer, expertly handles Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals. Bassist Mitchell Player, a veteran of the New Orleans jazz scene, leads the band which plays many of the classic songs the two icons performed together.
Immediately after that act, the Lawrence Cotton Experience kicks off on the smaller Cornet Chop Suey stage. Cotton is a 90-year-old piano player who still has chops (get it?) in abundance. His band also features the vivacious singer Jane Harvey Brown.
The Vinyl District is proud to be a media sponsor of Satchmo SummerFest for the sixth year in a row. The fest is moving to a new location this year. It will take place on two stages in Jackson Square and a new indoor stage around the corner will debut on Saturday. Here’s what’s happening for the first day of the festival.
The Red Beans and Ricely stage location will be familiar to fans of the French Quarter Festival. It is located inside the square on the upriver corner at St. Peter and Decatur Streets. The Cornet Chop Suey stage is closer to the middle of the square and the St. Ann Street side. The stages will alternate sets, so setting up right in the middle will allow you to hear the music without interruption.
The Red Beans and Ricely stage is the larger of the two and on Friday will feature the PresHall Brass Band kicking things off. Then the music get decidedly funkier with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bill Summers and his Afro-Caribbean band, Jazsalsa, the Soul Rebels, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation.