Category Archives: TVD New Orleans

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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Khris Royal to join BrasilNola at D.B.A. tonight, 1/11

Saxophonist and multi-talented musician and bandleader Khris Royal will be joining BrasilNola, one of the city’s hottest new acts, on Thursday night at D.B.A. Expect a blend of the lush rhythms and harmonies of Brazil with the booty shaking funk and brass of New Orleans. It’s a New Orleans samba dance party!

BrasiNola evolved out of the varied musical interests of Danny Abel, the guitarist in Khris Royal and Dark Matter, bassist Ron Johnson (Warren Haynes, Karl Denson), and Brazilian keyboardist and vocalist Eduardo Tozzatto.

While there have been plenty of purely Brazilian acts on the scene in New Orleans, BrasilNola is a new concept that brings the dance rhythms of Brazilian music from the 1970s (a heyday if you ask this Brazilian music fan) into the mix with the funky sounds of the same period in New Orleans (the heyday of the Meters, Allen Toussaint, Lee Dorsey, and so many of the greats).

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Kathryn Rose Wood
and Mikayla Braun join forces for one night only at Gasa Gasa, 1/11

The first ever performance of two of the leading singer/songwriters on the new New Orleans scene will be a bittersweet night for the two musicians, Kathryn Rose Wood and Mikayla Braun. Steve Panacek, the guitarist who plays in both of the women’s bands is leaving town to test the waters in New York. The night at Gasa Gasa will be celebration of their long association with the axe-slinger and sound engineer.

Dubbed, the Braun-Wood Band, this one-time-only effort will exponentially raise the quotient as they unite their considerable musical powers. Though the two have performed on the same bill and collaborated in the past, this special show will showcase their original music in duet form with a full backing band.

Braun and Wood began occasionally performing alongside one another in the spring of 2016. Soulful song selections, sublime harmonies, and natural camaraderie resonated with audience members. It made sense to continue their musical alliance on a larger scale.

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Kick off Carnival at the Maple Leaf Bar, 1/6

With Mardi Gras falling rather early this year on February 13, the Carnival season is compressed into less than two months. But with 12th night falling on a Saturday, the festivities will start with a bang. Following the traditional streetcar ride of the Phunny Phorty Phellows, which leaves the Willow Street Streetcar barn at 7 PM, head over to the Maple Leaf Bar for live music.

The 101 Runners have become the go-to act for celebrating the season and the Mardi Gras Indian band headlines the evening. This is their eleventh year getting Carnival started at the Leaf. The opening act is a new group on the scene, the Iceman Special.

Percussionist Chris Jones leads the 101 Runners. The band is made of some of New Orleans finest musicians including uber-sousaphonist Kirk Joseph, drummer Raymond Weber, keyboard player Tom Worrell, and guitarist June Yamagishi. But the main attraction is the spirited black Indian chanting and tambourine work of Big Chief Juan Pardo and Isaac Kinchen of the Golden Comanche tribe.

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