Sometimes an idea is so good there’s just no stopping it. When New Orleans musician and chef Jamie Galloway (pictured below) passed away on February 23, 2013 of a medical problem that was most likely treatable, Dave Jordan, his friend and musical partner of many years, decided he had to do something to keep other musicians from falling through the health care safety net.
Thus, Jamie’s Big Ass Party was born. Tickets are available here. Created to honor the legacy of Galloway, the event, which is now in it’s fifth year, is a benefit for the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and a great block party. It takes place Sunday afternoon in the 8300 block of Oak Street and at the Maple Leaf Bar.
The Big Ass Party is also a massive crawfish boil party with some of New Orleans’ best musicians playing inside and outside the saloon. Expect over 2,000 pounds of mudbugs and numerous musical jams.
Jordan’s band, the Neighborhood Improvement Association, will play, as will George Porter, Jr. and Runnin’ Partners, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Papa Mali, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, the New Orleans Suspects, Billy Iuso and Restless Natives, the Soul Brass Band, Flow Tribe plus lots of special guests. There are special VIP tickets available with a private crawfish table and beer all day.
PHOTO: RICK MOORE | Guitarist, singer and songwriter Marc Stone will be leading his all-star band this Friday night at D.B.A. featuring one of the unsung heroes of New Orleans music along with the three trombonists who make up the front line of Bonerama.
Guitarist Eric Struthers has a deep resume in New Orleans. He played with Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. His recording credits include four albums with the Nevilles in the 1990s including the stellar Live on Planet Earth and more recently he appeared on Michael McDonald’s Christmas album.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the two guitarists can conjure up. Stone promises, “stretching into some heavy psychedelic zones.” The Bonerama Horns—Mark Mullins, Craig Klein, and Greg Hicks—are no slackers when it comes to getting down either.
The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and hundreds of community musicians in conjunction with the New Orleans Airlift will debut composer Yotam Haber’s “New Water Music” on April 8, 2017. The music will be performed partially from the water by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra along with a choreographed visual presentation, which is being conceived and executed by New Orleans Airlift.
“New Water Music” needs your help ushering audience members, helping artists and musicians, decorating, and more. Volunteers will be provided costumes so that you truly become part of the show! Learn more and sign up here.
The new hour-long work for hundreds of musicians fuses new and traditional music, procession, water culture, and pageantry while galvanizing listeners to save Louisiana’s coast. As the sun begins its descent on April 8, the musicians will take positions on water-bound staging for the grand event against the incredible backdrop of Lake Pontchartrain.
You know spring is upon us in New Orleans when the fine folks at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation kick off their free festival series. This is where your Jazz Fest dollars are spent, so come out and hear some great music. The full schedule is here.
Start your day on Saturday with Cole Williams. This dynamic performer has only lived in New Orleans for a short time, but she’s fully integrated her music and life into the Crescent City. Need proof? I saw her set at the Krewe Delusion ball and she put on show like she was in front of thousands of people when there was only handful of revelers in the room.
Another highlight on Saturday will be James Andrews and the Crescent City Allstars with special guests John Boutte and Sharon Martin. James and John are sons of Tremé and that’s where it all began. Congo Square, as most readers know, is located in the Tremé neighborhood.
The latest collection of recordings by Ed Volker features two fishhead favorites, but most of the songs on the new album are brand new, penned in 2016 and recorded earlier this year.
The album opens with a whoop and then a piano line familiar to most fans of the Radiators. It’s “Jolly House,” which is also the name of one of Volker’s many side projects dating back to 1996. The album closes with another song, “The Blue Distance” that dates to the same period. It is one of the most compelling tunes on the collection—a mid tempo ballad of sorts with a chorus that reflects on the musician’s life on the road that Volker gave up when the Radiators retired. “Dancing in the blue distance, will I never make it home, raven says, ‘Man, you were born to roam’… will I ever make it home.”
Over the course of the thirteen songs on Holy Wine Special many of the lyrical reference points that have been hallmarks of Volker’s songwriting pop up, some in less than expected places. Wine, the spirit world, heaven, the past, the future, and mortality all make appearances in the wry, sometimes mystical words.
New Orleans funk continues to grow and develop. Organized Crime, the latest group to take up the mantle, will celebrate the release of Kiss The Ring, their debut recording, tomorrow night at Gasa Gasa. Miss Mojo opens.
The trio has only been around for a couple of years, but they have evolved from their beginnings as a typical 1960s style jazz organ trio into a much more modern sound reflecting the youth of the members and the collision of jazz and funk.
The band features Andriu Yanovski on synths, keyboards, and vocals, Henry Green on guitar, and Patrick Kelleher on drums. Initially influenced by the greats from the heyday of organ jazz like Jimmy Smith, Organized Crime also listened intently to second and third generation organ-based groups like Soulive and Medeski, Martin and Wood.
PHOTO: BOB ADAMEK PHOTOGRAPHY | Since singer/songwriter Alex McMurray (pictured above) began playing a regular show every Monday night at Chickie Wah Wah, he has welcomed a number of local co-conspirators as well as a couple of nationally known luminaries including fellow singer/songwriter Pat McLaughlin. But this Monday represents a watershed moment in the weekly series when Peter Holsapple joins him on stage.
Holsapple has a long career going back to 1970 despite the fact that he is only 61 years old. For locals, his tenure in New Orleans was marked by numerous performances and one band, the Continental Drifters, that exists larger in our imaginations than any other so-called supergroup.
For fans with a longer frame of reference, it’s probably his song, “Amplifier,” which was released in 1981 when he was a member of the seminal power pop band, the dBs. That tune came out during a period when pop music was in transition, and for fans of a certain age it displayed a wry lyrical focus missing from much of punk and new wave (with certain exceptions including Elvis Costello).
PHOTO: MICHAEL DOMINICI | Helen Gillet is a restless musician always seeking out new musical partners and new sounds. Her new ensemble, Tephra III, will be appearing at the fine listening room on Canal Street. Tephra III features Nikki Glaspie on drums and Brian Haas on keyboards. Gillet will be playing cello and using loops and other effects in order to increase the magnitude of the sound. Show time is 10:30 PM. Josh Hyde celebrates the release of his latest album with special guest John Gros at 8 PM.
Nikki Glaspie is a powerhouse drummer whose biggest claim to fame is working with Beyonce. More recently she has toured with Maceo Parker. She also has dipped her toes in all kinds of local sounds including working with Ivan Neville and his band, Dumpstaphunk and touring with her own band, the Nth Power.
Brian Haas is best known as the keyboardist with the eclectic jazz ensemble Jacob Fred’s Jazz Odyssey. But he is also a versatile musician who has played with a wide range of musicians both locally and internationally including Nolatet, the New Orleans supergroup with James Singleton, Johnny Vidacovich, and Mike Dillon.
PHOTO ABOVE: STEVEN FORSTER | Charlie Sims, the co-owner and chef of the sorely missed Donna’s Bar and Grill, passed away on February 5, 2017 at the age of 81. There will be a memorial celebrating his life on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 11 AM at the historic Carver Theater, which is located at 2101 Orleans Avenue. A jazz funeral procession will follow.
From 1993 to 2010, Donna’s Bar and Grill was the center of the brass community in New Orleans. Charlie worked in the kitchen creating culinary masterpieces informed by his years working on the “City of New Orleans” Amtrak train and traveling between his home in Chicago and the Crescent City. His wife, Donna, was usually behind the bar serving up drinks to a steady stream of visitors and locals.
I was one of those regulars and spent most of my Mondays between May 1, 1995, when Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers began a weekly residency, and June 29, 1998 when Ruffins played his last bittersweet night, at Donna’s. Most of those “Monday dates” I could be found dancing next to the kitchen window as Charlie served up food and listened attentively to the band during every lull in service. Our eyes would meet knowingly after many a moving solo and he would break out his broad grin.
Finding the black Indians of New Orleans on Mardi Gras is always a challenge. Hearing them sing their songs is even more of a mean feat considering all the photographers vying for the best shot as the tribes march and meet one another. If you want a guarantee that you’ll hear the songs and see at least one Indian, head to the Hi Ho Lounge Fat Tuesday afternoon.
This year’s eagerly awaited return of the all-star Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra honors two of the group’s dearly departed founding members, Big Chief Roddy Lewis of the Black Eagles and saxophonist Tim Green. They will play at 6 PM.
The band, which presents big band arrangements of classics from the black Indian canon of New Orleans, features numerous well-known New Orleans musicians. Big ChiefDavid Montana of the Washitaw Nation Mardi Gras Indian tribe fronts the orchestra along with accordionist, percussionist and vocalist Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes of Sunpie and Louisiana Sunspots and various other ensembles.