TVD Recommends:
HIP Fest at the Blue Nile, next Tuesday and Wednesday, 11/5–11/6

Improvised music has had a home at the Blue Nile for five years under the direction of trombonist Jeff Albert. When Italian drummer Marcello Benetti moved to New Orleans, the leadership got a shot in the arm.

Together they formed a non-profit, N.O.I.S.E. (New Orleans International Sound Exchange), and now they are bringing adventurous music lovers the HIP (Hosting Improvising Performers) Fest. These guys love acronyms and they love to turn listeners on to the wide range of artists that work under the “improvised music” umbrella.

“I fell in love with the town and the people,” said Benetti “This city is filled with rich culture—reflected through its art, food and music—that brings the most diverse people together to celebrate a place unlike any other. New Orleans respects and appreciates all forms of music, and I’m looking forward to expanding upon that with improvised music.”

Tuesday and Wednesday nights the HIP Fest will take over the downstairs main room of the Blue Nile (Open Ears is held every Tuesday upstairs.) Three world-class artists will join local stalwarts such as Helen Gillet, Rex Gregory, Aurora Nealand, and Jesse Morrow.

At the top of the list, mainly because he is a frequent visitor to New Orleans, is drummer Hamid Drake. I had the good fortune to see him two months ago at the Chicago Jazz Festival and he had Albert in his band.

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Also expect to see two other giant talents—Italian vibraphonist Pasquale Mirra, and California-based flautist Nicole Mitchell.

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Tuesday night, the three visiting artists will collaborate with our local musicians. Wednesday night, they will play together as a trio following performances by two groups of locals. The full schedule is here.

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