Nigel Hall plays the
Blue Nile Saturday,
1/30, before tour


Modern day soulman Nigel Hall has been getting rave reviews for his first solo album, “Ladies and Gentlemen… Nigel Hall” and with great notices comes a tour. Of course, one of the hazards of being a New Orleans musician is you might have to miss Mardi Gras. Hall plays Saturday night at the Blue Nile before hitting the road to points west.

His album, which was produced by Eric Krasno of Soulive, has been in steady rotation on WWOZ as well as in the ears of lots of people around the country. I hope they are ready for one of the most invigorating performances I have heard recently.

On consecutive Wednesdays last month, he tore up the Maple Leaf Bar following his breakout album release party at Tipitina’s on December 2. I was at the album release as well as at two of the shows at the Maple Leaf.

What was intriguing about the performances was the fact that he had different personnel in the band for each gig. At Tips, he pulled out all the stops with a big band, which included legendary percussionist Bill Summers of Headhunters fame, horn players Brad Walker and Eric “Benny” Bloom, as well as Robin Barnes and Vegas Cola on backing vocals. The first time at the Leaf, the band was considerably smaller. The second time, it was a four-piece with only one of the same players from the other two nights.

Despite the changes in backing musicians, Hall shined like a legend in the making. At first, he seemed a bit tentative with the packed house and big band at Tipitina’s, but he settled in quickly and produced a standout set leaving dropped jaws in its wake. No such problems at the Leaf, he just delivered intimate versions of some of his new solo material and classic soul covers. He owned the room each night.

The tour takes him to some of the key hot spots in the mountains of Colorado and the cities of west coast including a February 1 show at the Belly Up in Aspen, a Mardi Gras show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, and a gig at Club Nokia in Los Angeles before he returns for a show at the Maple Leaf Bar on February 24.


Considering how impressive the recent gigs have been, I would expect the performance Saturday night will be off the hook before this vibrant new New Orleanian takes off on his first solo tour.

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