Monday, May 7, 2012

A rough guide to new New Orleans CDs

Keith Spera, The Times-Picayune

The annual springtime avalanche of new New Orleans music did not disappoint this year, as artists hustled to release new products in time for the New Orleans Jazz Fest. The following is an alphabetical overview of notable new releases this season.

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Theresa Andersson, Street Parade, Basin Street Records | Review
The New Orleans-by-way-of-Sweden singer, songwriter and violinist orchestrates another collection of lush, sometimes ethereal pop.

Glen David Andrews, Live at Three Muses, GDA Music Group
The charismatic trombonist and singer sought to capture the energy of his live shows by recording a typically eclectic, sweaty set of gospel/blues on Frenchmen Street.

Tab Benoit, Legacy: The Best of Tab Benoit, Telarc
Drawn from the south Louisiana guitarist's previous releases, this collection includes his takes on songs by Otis Redding, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Buddy Miller and his pals in Louisiana LeRoux.

Mia Borders, Wherever There Is, Independent
The blues/rock/soul singer, guitarist and songwriter considers "Wherever There Is" to be her first full-length, full-blown album.

John Boutte, All About Everything, Independent
The bantamweight gospel and jazz singer, best known for "Treme Song," covers classics by Leonard Cohen ("Hallelujah") and Billy Strayhorn ("Lush Life") alongside new or little-known compositions by Allen Toussaint, Alex McMurray and Paul Sanchez.

Evan Christopher, Clarinet Road Vol. III: In Sidney's Footsteps, STR Digital Records
The adventurous jazz clarinetist continues his "Clarinet Road" series with a set inspired by Sidney Bechet.

Jon Cleary, Occapella, Fhq Records | Review
The ever-tasteful funk and R&B keyboardist and singer reimagines songs from the Allen Toussaint catalog. Highlights include a spooky "Southern Nights," a solo piano "Fortune Teller" and the a cappella title track.

Debbie Davis, It's Not the Years, It's the Miles, Threadhead Records
The Pfister Sister and an extensive musical cast that includes her husband, bassist and sousaphonist Matt Perrine, cover songs by local tunesmiths Alex McMurray -- he wrote the title track -- and Paul Sanchez and recording engineer Mark Bingham. Davis and pianist Bobby Lounge tear up the 1920s-era blues "Trouble in Mind." She and Perrine also arrange covers of songs by Amy Winehouse ("You Know I'm No Good"), the Beatles ("Things We Said Today") and Irving Berlin ("You'd Be Surprised").

Kristin Diable, Kristin Diable & the City, Speakeasy Records
One of the city's stars-in-waiting, Diable deploys a sensuous, smoky voice on a crisply produced set of languid Americana music, all of it written by her.

Ani DiFranco, Which Side Are You On?, Righteous Babe Records
An adopted New Orleanian, DiFranco steps out on a typically engaged program informed by such locals as Cyril and Ivan Neville, Derrick Tabb, Mark Mullins, Matt Perrine and her husband/producer, Mike Napolitano.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Twenty Dozen, Savoy Jazz
The 35-years-young Dirty Dozen kicks brass on original compositions, Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" and such standards as "Paul Barbarin's Second Line," "E-Flat Blues" and "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Dr. John, Locked Down, Nonesuch | Review
Dr. John is reborn courtesy of "Locked Down" producer Dan Auerbach, best known as the Black Keys' guitarist. Auerbach assembled a simpatico young band and persuaded Dr. John to play only keyboards -- no piano. The result is the best Dr. John album in years.

Galactic, Carnivale Electricos, Anti- Records | Review
The forward-thinking nouveau funk band transports Carnival music from Brazil to New Orleans -- including guest Al Johnson's classic "Carnival Time" -- back to the future with loops, samples and other sound effects.

Gypsyphonic Disko, NOLAphonic Vol 2, Independent
The second release by Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman's side project is another mash-up of Eastern European gypsy music and New Orleans bounce rap.

Hurray for the Riff Raff, Look Out Mama, Born to Win
The country/folk/Americana ensemble deploys acoustic guitars, fiddle, harmonica, piano, bass and drums in support of former street singer Alynda Lee Segarra's come-hither contralto. "What's Wrong With Me?" sounds like a lost slow dance beamed in from a 1962 prom.
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The Iguanas, Sin to Sin, PFAM
The city's long-running Latin/rhythm & blues dance band breaks a multiyear recording hiatus to range from the nimble sax and cantina groove of "Oye Mi Cumbia" to the rocked-out electric guitars of "Waiting for My Gin to Hit Me."

Little Freddie King, Chasing Tha Blues, MadeWright Records
King's latest audio journal features tales of misadventure set to his rough-hewn style of electric blues guitar, with accompaniment from his road-tested band and guest guitarist Greg Schatz.

Joe Krown, Exposed, Independent
The keyboardist steps away from his trio for an album of solo piano. He covers the Big Three of New Orleans piano -- Professor Longhair, James Booker and Allen Toussaint -- but mostly ruminates on original material.

Eric Lindell, I Still Love You, Sparco Records
A brand-new collection from the prolific roots rock, blues 'n' boogie guitarist and songwriter, anchored by Marc Adams' piano and organ and Brad Walker's tenor saxophone.

Tom McDermott & Meschiya Lake, Live at Chickie Wah Wah, Independent
McDermott, a fluent and versatile pianist, and Lake, an equally versatile singer who can range well beyond her hot jazz base, capture their weekly duo gig on record.

Anders Osborne, Black Eye Galaxy, Alligator Records
Osborne's addiction and recovery continue to provide fodder for his amped-up guitar explorations, including the spacey, seven-plus minute "Mind of a Junkie."

Papa Grows Funk, Needle in the Groove, Independent
Allen Toussaint and Better Than Ezra bassist Tom Drummond split production duties on the dependably funky PGF's latest, and most consistent, original album.

Nicholas Payton, Bitches, In + Out Records
The jazz trumpeter abandons his signature sound and instrument to try singing R&B, with decidedly mixed results. The synthesizer, programmed beats and distorted voice of "By My Side" makes for a tough opening; Ne-Yo has nothing to fear. "Bitches" was originally available only as a download, but is now out on CD. Cassandra Wilson and Esperanza Spalding guest.

The Revivalists, City of Sound, Independent | Review
Galactic's Ben Ellman produced this poised and polished second album from the city's preeminent next-generation rock band.

Paul Sanchez & Colman DeKay, Nine Lives: A Musical Story of New Orleans, Threadhead/Mystery Street Records
Populated by scores of local musicians, the full 39-song, two-CD edition of the musical based on author Dan Baum's acclaimed New Orleans odyssey "Nine Lives" is now available.

Soul Rebels, Unlock Your Mind, Rounder Records
The Rebels are still a brass band at heart, but also rap or sing on several songs. They brass up originals and covers of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This" and Lee Dorsey's "Night People." Cyril Neville and Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli guest.

Various artists, Treme: Music from the HBO Original Series, Vol.2, Rounder Records
Consisting of songs recorded live for the TV show, the second volume of "Treme" music features the Hot 8 and Rebirth brass bands, Jon Cleary, the Subdudes, the Radiators, the Iguanas, John Boutte, Tom McDermott, Kermit Ruffins, and Steve Riley paired with Steve Earle. Catch some of the cast and crew will be signing CDs and DVDs Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Book Tent.

Various artists, Ingrid Lucia Presents New Orleans Female Vocalists, American Brat Collaborations
Ingrid Lucia, Kristin Diable, Margie Perez, the Pfister Sisters, Linnzi Zaorski, Sarah Quintana, Trisha Boutte, Sophie Lee, Meschiya Lake, Vanessa "Gal Holiday" Niemann and Alexandra Scott, among others, contribute original recordings.

Dr. Michael White, Adventures in New Orleans Jazz, Vol. 2, Basin Street Records
On his latest "Adventure," the traditional jazz clarinetist takes on such nontraditional fare as the Turtles' "Happy Together," Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" and Hank Williams' "Jambalaya."

Kipori Woods, Blues Gone Wild, Louisiana Red Hot
Skip the cover of "Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On." The original material that follows better showcases the fireworks the local blues guitarist is capable of detonating.

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