We’ve clearly been on a Brazilian kick here at TVD NOLA. On Friday, an interesting album that merges electronic and organic beats with the breathy vocals of the Brazilian chanteuse Luisa Maita will be on shelves nationwide. Fio da Memória means “Thread of Memory” in Portuguese.
The album is mostly down and mid tempo songs sung in her compelling voice. The tunes, largely written by Maita, swirl amid sensuous arrangements of beats, blips, and other hallmark sounds of modern electronica. But the music is thoroughly grounded in the strong bass parts which drive many of the songs.
The music is rooted in traditional Brazilian rhythms but like so many of her contemporaries it is brought to life with electronics and other synthetic sounds. It is the sound of modern urbanity the world over with a unique perspective based on her life in Sao Paulo, the frenetic city in Brazil.
BAND PHOTO: JAY SKOLNICK | New Orleans Suspects release their latest recording today. Kaleidoscoped is another step in the evolution of a band that formed in the wake of the breakup of the Radiators and features some of the best musicians in town. Though no one who has heard the band live has doubts about their cohesive strength, the recording is a testament to their potency as a recording ensemble.
Produced by saxophonist Jeff Watkins and guitarist Jake Eckert, the album soars in the ears with blinding saxophone solos, searing guitar work, percolating keyboards courtesy of CR Gruver, and the supernaturally synced up rhythm section of bassist Reggie Scanlan and drummer “Mean” Willie Green. Several special guests also add to the fun especially Big Chief Juan Pardo and Mardi Gras Indian percussionist “Big Ike” Kinchen. The two Indians appear on what is essentially the Suspects theme song, “Round Up Dem Suspects.”
The song is credited to Pardo and the band and it introduces each of the musicians with sly lyrical references amid traditional Mardi Gras Indian call and response style vocals. “They got one with an axe, don’t know how to act…another with that brass make ya shake your ass,” introduces Eckert and Watkins. It also has a chorus, which is rare in the world of Mardi Gras Indian songs.
Cuba is an island of many musical styles and the musical culture of the country has influenced numerous developments in other genres. Changüí is often called the granddaddy of salsa and is an antecedent to the more well-known style, son. Now Gabriel Garcia, the Los Angeles-born son of Mexican immigrants, is adding to the history of Latin music with his first album featuring traditional songs played in the older style.
Changüí Majadero is a five-piece ensemble and their music will sound familiar to any fan of acoustic Latin music. With Garcia on vocals and tres, the three-stringed guitar-like instrument, George Ortiz on bongos de monte (a larger drum than the more commonly known bongo), Norell Thompson on vocals and guayo (a metal scraper), Alfred Ortiz on vocals and maracas, and Yosmel Montejo on bass, the group makes a musical splash with intricate guitar lines on the tres, a strong rhythmic foundation on bass, and a soulful beat courtesy of the guayo and the maracas. The vocals are strong throughout the group’s eponymous debut.
Changüí, like so much music created across the African diaspora, takes elements from European and African styles. An older Spanish genre known as canción, which is distantly related to more modern Spanish styles, provides the structure of the songs and is the basis of the guitar work.
Heads up jazz and adventurous music lovers! Chickie Wah Wah is the place to be on Friday night for a show by a relatively new quartet playing a style of music that is very engaging for listeners. Nolatet features Mike Dillon on vibes, James Singleton on bass, Johnny Vidacovich on drums, and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s Brian Haas on piano.
Three of the four players should be very familiar to local listeners. The fourth, Haas, is becoming more and more of a local fixture due to his many appearances around town. All four members of the band are as exciting to watch as they are to listen to, so the intimate confines of the fine listening establishment on Canal Street will be a great place to see them play.
The group released their debut recording, Dogs, earlier this year and has toured around the country more than they have played locally. So, this should be a chance to hear how the sound has developed since their last local show.
In what may be the fastest turnaround in recent history, the performance of this Radiators’ offshoot band from September 2 at Chickie Wah Wah, is available here. The show features a plethora of Rads’ favorites and a smattering of choice covers.
The band, which featured Ed Volker on keys and vocals, Camile Baudoin on guitar and vocals, Reggie Scanlan on bass, and Michael Skinkus on drums and percussion, was assembled with the expressed purpose of deconstructing songs from the Radiators’ catalog. Volker, Baudoin, and Scanlan played in the band for over 33 years while still continuing to play the occasional reunion.
As Volker said, “…with all this timeless time on my fins, I started taking Rads’ tunes and twisting them this way and that way and eventually all these tunes found new homes, new settings, and arrangements that refreshed them and displayed different tones, colors, and rhythms than they ever had before…”
What this longtime fishhead liked about the show, of course I was in attendance, was the way Volker created segues between songs in ways that were very inventive. A highlight from the middle of the first set is the Radiators’ chestnut, “Cannibal Girls” leading directly into a tease of Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters.” For fans of the Radiators, even those of you out there with hundreds of recordings, this is a must-have.
Brazil has much in common with New Orleans including the large number of musical families populating the two places. Bebel Gilberto is the daughter of the legendary bossa nova icon João Gilberto and the singer Miúcha. She will be playing a rare club date at Tipitina’s on Sunday evening.
Gilberto grew up surrounded by an extended musical family that included her uncle Chico Buarque and family friends like Milton Nascimento, Antonio Carlos Jobim (the acknowledged creator of bossa nova), Caetano Veloso, and João Donato. Though those names, with the possible exception of Jobim, may be unfamiliar to casual world music fans, they are all household names in Brazil.
Gilberto has a stunning voice and has taken her place in the pantheon of Brazilian innovators by captivating fans and earning media acclaim worldwide with her trademark electronic bossa nova. This is not your grandfather’s bossa.
You know it’s going to be a bash when DJ Soul Sister throws down. On Friday night, she will celebrate her birthday in the only way she knows—by hosting a dance party at Tipitina’s. She will be spinning of course, the New Breed Brass Band will help get the party started, and the Chuck Brown Band—Washington, DC go-go music icons—will headline.
Soul Sister has been an aficionado of go-go for decades. She turned me on the sound and continues to support the uniquely regional style of music on the air at WWOZ and at her gigs around the city.
Chuck Brown, the acknowledged father of go-go, passed away in 2012 at age 75, but his band is still spreading the word and keeping dance floors shaking. Brown introduced the world to go-go with his 1978 hit “Bustin Loose.” I had the opportunity to see him perform a couple of times and the music was non-stop—literally. The band just plays on and on.
PHOTO: RICK MOORE | Pedal steel guitar player Dave Easley has been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for decades. For three Wednesdays in September, he will be joined by some of the best musicians in New Orleans at Chickie Wah Wah. On September 7, Guitarist Steve Masakowski and bassist James Singleton will be the featured artists. On September 14,drummer Johnny Vidacovich and bassist James Singleton will be featured. The performance on September 21 will honor the Grateful Dead and will feature guitarist and vocalist Papa Mali and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Aaron Wilkerson of the Honey Island Swamp Band.
Dave Easley plays mostly pedal steel guitar, but has been known to pick up an electric guitar and rock out. He says, “I like to play all kinds of music—folk, blues, rock and jazz.” That quote is the understatement of the year. Easley enhances every band he plays with regardless of genre. His playing evokes everything from pastoral landscapes to Grateful Dead-inspired pyrotechnics. He is a master improviser adept at coaxing a wide variety of sounds from his instrument. He also has what musicians call, “big ears.” He hears and responds musically to everything happening on stage.
Easley has appeared on numerous recordings including work with Brian Blade, Joni Mitchell, Brian Stoltz, Peter Rowan, Ruthie Foster, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Tom McDermott, Mem Shannon, Lynn Drury, Shannon McNally, Papa Mali, Doug Belote, Cliff Hines, and more. He released Boatmen Waiting on the Wind in 2000 and Icicle Man Minus Two in 2007 with his band, Heartifacts. He released A Time of the Signs under his own name in 2011.
Friday night, September 2, 2016, the Radiators’ singer/songwriter and keyboardist Ed Volker will appear at Chickie Wah Wah with his latest ensemble, dubbed the Do-Rad-Choppers. The band features two of his longtime collaborators in the Radiators—bassist Reggie Scanlan and guitarist Camile Baudoin. The other members of the band include longtime collaborators Joe Cabral on saxophone and percussionist Michael Skinkus.
Since disbanding the Radiators, Volker has assembled numerous bands to perform his latest original compositions, a wide range of covers as well as songs from the deep well of the Radiators. His latest ensemble, the Do-Rad-Choppers, is a vehicle to deconstruct and reinvent, i.e. “chop up,” many of the tunes he wrote as the principal songwriter of the Radiators.
As the leader of the Radiators, Volker composed thousands of songs, many of which found their way into the repertoire of one of the most prolific bands in the world. Some of the songs were performed hundreds of times, others were played sporadically and a handful only appeared on the band’s set lists a few times. Hardcore Fishheads, as fans of the Radiators are known, can even name a small number of original songs that were only played a single time.
Trumpeter Maurice Brown will be bringing his funky and soulful band, Mobetta and SOUL’D U Out, to the Frenchmen Street club on Saturday night. This is his first time playing a non-Jazz Fest show in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.
Mobetta and SOUL’D U Out will feature an all-star cast of collaborators. Expect to see saxophonist Derek Douget, bassist Max Moran, drummer Simon Lott, keyboardist Jason Butler, guitarist Josh Connolly, and percussionist Weedie Braimah.
Brown, a Chicago native, burst on the scene like a trumpet-propelled rocket in the first years of the 21st century. He sat in with everyone in town, played some inspired headlining gigs that invigorated the local jazz scene with youthful energy, and released his acclaimed debut album Hip To Bop while a resident of the Crescent City.