Saturday, May 31, 2008

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Rebirth Brass Band celebrates 25 years of blowing its horns

Phil turned to his brother and flashed a precocious grin. "Ohhhh, I love getting new people!" he exclaimed.

Phil directed the couple to the front bar, telling them to say that "King Phil" had sent them. They looked at him skeptically, but smiled and disappeared toward the front.

"We call them Rebirth virgins, " Keith said. "They listen, and they're like, 'Oh my God, where has this music been my whole life?' "

The couple returned a few minutes later, drinks in hand. They laughed and said to Phil, "You really are the king!" and went into the courtyard.

Rebirth Brass Band's 25th Anniversary

An Evening with the Creole Wild West

The Creole Wild West is the oldest Mardi Gras Indian group, according to the late Allison “Tootie” Montana, a lion of the 7th Ward who led the Yellow Pocahontas gang across 50-plus years. He died of a heart attack while testifying on behalf of the Indians at a raucous city council meeting in June 2005. In 1980, he told me that his grand-uncle, a plasterer named Becate Batiste, founded the first Carnival tribe in the early 1880s, under the name Creole Wild West.

Dr John: pimp, gunman, pianist

"Once very plausibly described as "the blackest white man in the world", he has indefatigably upheld - and updated - the various sounds he heard while growing up amid that city's vibrant African-American culture."

see also: Dr. John and the Lower 911's City That Care Forgot

"He channels post-Katrina fury as capably as rappers like Juvenile have, and lays out relevant issues—local, national, and global—in ways that, say, Nancy Pelosi simply hasn't. If elected leaders lack Dr. John's political will, they also don't have his magnetic drawl or the bristling power of his Lower 911 band."

see also:
The Fast-Passing Past -"So Long, It's Been Good to Know You"

Tom Morgan’s New Orleans Music Show #2
97 Quirky New Orleans Discoveries

New Orleans. Endlessly interesting. Mysterious. Offbeat. What can you say about a city that has been through so much, yet remains as vibrant and intriguing as any city in America? We New Orleanians know that we have something special in this low-lying plot of earth between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. But how many of us take the time to explore those unique little treasures that dot our landscape? How many of us take for granted those little gems that make us stop and think, give us a giggle or make us cock our heads and say, “Wow.”

Ace of the bass: The legendary pluck of Walter Payton

"He loves the sound of the bass -- warm and deep and mellow. He loves its role -- basic, vital, grounded. And he loves its shape. "Shaped just like a lady," he says, with an improbable, high-pitched giggle. "The hips, the waist. And the best thing is, she don't do nothing you don't tell her to. She don't talk back. If you press her in the right place, she says just what you want her to say. And no more."

see also
Preservation Hall celebrates time-honored traditions while embracing change

see also:
Jazzfest - Preservation at Midnight

see also: Made in New Orleans

Henry Butler Audio Feature on All Things Considered

The Essential Ghoul's Record Shelf: "Fortune Teller"

Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews’ music ‘lessons’ came from some of best

I wouldn’t be who I am today, Trombone Shorty, if I didn’t come from New Orleans. It’s something about this place, the different cultures, different food. Things come together like a gumbo.”

New Orleans Musical Mentors: A NY Times Video Feature

Drummer Stanton Moore Puts Music in Parentheses

You were born and raised in New Orleans and still reside there when you’re not on the road. From your perspective as a musician, what has the impact of Hurricane Katrina been on the music community in New Orleans and how has the community responded?

Since there have been many schools that haven’t been able to get their music programs up, I’ve started with the Vidacovich family (my drum teacher/mentor and his wife) a workshop for young musicians at Tipitina’s every Sunday. All types of bands — brass bands, jazz bands, blues bands — play three or four songs and then get the kids up with them to play for about two or three hours. My Trio’s done it, and Galactic, and Down (a heavy metal band) to name a few. It’s great fun and exposes the kids to different genres and styles. In the aftermath of the storm we’re just all trying to do what we can to continue the tradition of New Orleans music, all types of New Orleans music, and do the best that we can.

Crawfish fest off with a bang

Hundreds of music fans set up ckamp at the Sussex county fairgrounds in western New Jersey Friday and gathered in the Delta Music Experience Pavilion for the festival's firt Friday night show. The Radiators closed it out with a spectacular two-hour plus set that had the band firing on all sparkplugs.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Upcoming: NolaFunky Week in NYC

There's so many top-tier New Orleans acts swinging through town in the next week or two, so figured I'd just list them all. (Click on the show for more info.)

5/29 Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk @ Rocks Off Boat Cruise

5/29 Tab Benoit @ Sullivan Hall

5/30 funky Meters, Bill Malchow & the Go Cup All Stars @ BB King's

5/30 Dr. Claw feat. Eric Krasno (Soulive), Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Ian Neville & Nick Daniels (Dumpstaphunk), & Nigel Hall @ Sullivan Hall (midnight)

5/30-6/1 Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest @ Sussex County Fairgrounds (Augusta, NJ)

5/30 feat. The Radiators, Donna The Buffalo, Mitch Wood
5/31 funky Meters, Tab Benoit, Donna The Buffalo, Little Freddie King, Roddie Romero & Hub City AllStars, Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band, Leroy Thomas & Zydeco Roadrunners, Guitar Shorty
6/1 Allen Toussaint, Railroad Earth, Bonerama, Little Freddie King, The Lee Boys, Keith Frank & The Soileau Zydeco Band, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, Louisiana Red

6/1 Radiators @ Southpaw

6/4-8 Nicholas Payton Quintet @ Jazz Standard

6/5 Henry Butler @ Cutting Room

6/7 Wild Magnolias @ Madison Square Park (FREE during BBQ Fest)

6/8 Allen Toussaint (brunch) @ Joe's Pub

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Festival Spotlight: Bonnaroo's Somethin' Else New Orleans

There's no place like New Orleans

It’s Somethin’ Else- New Orleans at Bonnaroo

An authentic, down-home New Orleans style music spot. See, Hear and Feel New Orleans Music, Food and Culture while doing your part in the preservation of New Orleans arts and the rebuilding efforts of NOLA!

Porter – Batiste - Stoltz
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
Henry Butler and the Game Band
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Walter "Wolfman" Washington
Anders Osborne
Big Sam’s Funky Nation
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Soul Rebels Brass Band
Morning 40 Federation
Harrybu McCage

George Porter Jr.
Henry Butler
Tim Green
Walter 'Wolfman' Washington
Anders Osborne
Johnny Vidacovich

Somethin' Else - New Orleans will be modeled after some of the city's most distinctive and beloved music clubs, such as Preservation Hall, Tipitina's and the Maple Leaf. Regional cuisine will also be featured in order to fully capture the essence of this special city. A donation will be collected upon entrance, with all proceeds going directly to support local New Orleans charities.

In addition to raising money for these charities, Somethin' Else - New Orleans, in partnership with the Center for Rural Strategies, will expose many incredible New Orleans artists to a large base of passionate music fans and community-minded individuals. It will be Bonnaroo's way of giving back to and promoting the culture of New Orleans, encouraging people to visit and support the city.

"Even though New York is where the company is located now, New Orleans is where we started and it is very much our spiritual home," says Superfly's Richard Goodstone. "New Orleans truly inspires so much of what we do at all our events around the country and we always feel incredibly strong ties to the community."

A donation for entry will transport you 537 miles to the Heart and Soul of New Orleans----the backbeat of the Americas…. All donation proceeds to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic , NOCCA, The New Orleans Musician's Village, and Tipitina's Foundation

Get it Right. Do it Right. Yeah You Right.—Somethin’ Else—New Orleans


New Orleans Musicians Clinic


Provides access to health and social welfare services for the New Orleans music community. The clinic helps sustain the health of NOLA musicians and their families by providing medical services and developing access to primary care, preventative health services, as well as social and occupational outreach. They often refer patients to specialists within the LSU Healthcare Network and provide access to discounted prescriptions, patient assistance programs, lab work and vaccinations. Through their New Orleans Musicians Fdn. (NOMAF) they sustain musicians in need by keeping their music alive in New Orleans through funding gigs and musician mentorship programs in schools, at community centers, and neighborhoods.

NOCCA - New Orleans Center for Creative Arts

NOCCA is a tuition-free, professional arts training center located in the heart of historic New Orleans. NOCCA offers instruction in creative writing, dance, media arts, music, theatre arts, and visual arts to high school students across LA through schoolday, after-school, weekend and summer sessions.

The NOCCA Institute provides support and advocacy for NOCCA, overseeing multiple financial aid programs, an Artist-in-Residence program, the Center Stage concert series, and other programs that enhance the educational
environment for students and provide arts experiences for the general public.

New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village / Ellis Marsalis Center for Music

After hurricanes Katrina and Rita forced many musicians to flee New Orleans,the sounds of jazz, blues, and other genres that are the soundtrack of thisincredible city, were exiled in faraway places. New Orleans Area Habitat,together with Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis were determined tochange this and plans were announced in December 2005 for the constructionof a Musicians' Village. The Musicians' Village, conceived by Connick andMarsalis, consists of 82 units for displaced New Orleans musicians and otherqualifying families. Its centerpiece is the Ellis Marsalis Center forMusic, dedicated to the education and development of homeowners and otherswho will live nearby. It will have a 150-seat performance space with state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and will produce the accomplishments of its students. The center will focus on the diverse music heritage of NOLA.

Tipitina's Foundation

The mission of the Tipitina’s Foundation is to support Louisiana’s irreplaceable music community and preserve the state’s unique musical cultures. The history of the Tipitina’s Foundation originates from the Tipitina’s music venue, a revered New Orleans cultural icon that continues to be instrumental in the development and promotion of Louisiana music around the world. The Foundation works to support childhood music education,the professional development of adult musicians, and the increased profileand viability of Louisiana music as a cultural, educational, and economic resource.

NolaFunk Lagniappe

All About Jazz's "New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: A Photo Essay"

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the grandest of all American music festivals. Each year I attend, and am rejuvenated by the always amazing array of musical talent. The music of New Orleans is anchored by the great New Orleans musical families, such as Barbarin, Lastie, Boutte, Harrison, French, Marsalis, and Batiste. The accompanying photos are from this year's festival, and include members of these families.

Tribal conflict: Mardi Gras Indians try to preserve their integrity and stay marketable

see also: Golden Comanche Indians at the Bayou Boogaloo

Home of the Groove's "All Nite Hot Buns...And Hatchets"

My inspiration for this goose-chase came about when I recently bought a copy of Paul Gayten's single, "The Hunch" b/w "Hot Cross Buns". Back in the 1980s, I had first encountered the songs on the MCA LP (and later CD) compilation of Gayten's Chess sides, Chess King of New Orleans. Hearing "Hot Cross Buns" again reminded me that it has several things in common with another instrumental side, "All Nite Long" (Part 2), on Robert Parker's first 45. I've always dug Part 2 since first hearing it, also in the 1980s, on a Rounder CD collection of sides from the Ron label (where it was mis-identified as Part 1). On that cut, Eddie Bo dropped in some random, amusing vocal commentary during the stop-time pauses, which, as you will hear, is very much like what Billy Davis did on Gayten's side. Of course, fans of New Orleans grooves will also recall that Bo later did some memorable spoken vocalizing on another more well-known instrumental two-parter, "Pass the Hatchet", by Roger & the Gypsies. So, suddenly I had the convergence of these three tunes in my head, and an excuse to do a post on their connections - real or imagined. You be the judge.

Humid City's "Another Evening Option & Download" (a mini-feature on Renard Poche)

New Orleans Daily Photo's "Ageless Music"

On the top, Mahalia Jackson sings along to a bluesy ensemble of (left to right Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Edmond Hall. Below, a larger view of the mural shows the many legendary artist that gave New Orleans its musical heritage including Charmaine Neville, Brandford Marseillas, Pete Fountain, Harry Connick, Jr., Duke Ellington, and Roy "Professor Longhair" Wells.

A Survey of "Post-Katrina Music" from dailykos

"Music gets into your DNA down there." That's how I described it to a friend who asked about the abundance of New Orleans flavored music that you'll find on my iPod, my stereo at home, in my car... For me, New Orleans isn't Mardi Gras or a great restaurant just a stone's throw from where ever you happen to be standing at the moment, or streetcar rattling down St. Charles under the arching branches of live oaks or any of the other images that typically come to mind. Make no mistake, New Orleans is all of those things and more, but when I think of New Orleans the first thing that comes to mind is music."

Jambands' "To Miss New Orleans"

Listen Good's "Muddy feet, Clear Politics at Jazzfest"

Politics were in the air during jazzfest -- literally. While the Neville Brothers closed the event on the Acura stage, a plane circled above the Fair Grounds towing a banner that read: "Shell, Hear the Music. Fix the Coast You Broke." Not all the commentary was so overt, and none as visible, but it was there if you kept your eyes and ears open. Mind you, it's too easy in New Orleans these days to read meaning and purpose into every lyric or song choice -- was Sheryl Crow making a statement by covering "Gimme Shelter," or was she just doing a Stones tune? -- yet some of the messages were timely, pointed, and worth remembering.

Defending New Orleans Culture

Radio Free Amsterdam's "Piety Street Recordings"

The Village Voice: "The Beating Heart of Jazz"

"The Bush administration miserably failed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but the Jazz Foundation of New York hasn't failed thousands of New Orleans musicians. On March 4, in recognition of how the foundation's Wendy Oxenhorn and other saints came marching in, Jazz at Lincoln Center awarded the organization a grant from its High Ground Hurricane Relief Fund: "Since Katrina alone, the Jazz Foundation assisted over 3,500 emergency [New Orleans] cases and has created employment for over 1,000 musicians in crisis with the Agnes Varis/Jazz in the Schools program."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Festival Spotlight: Exclusive NolaFunk NYC Contest: Win a Pair of Tickets to Michael Arnone's Crawfish Fest

In order to win, just leave a post or email me with: your name, email, and the band you're most excited to see at this year's Fest! I'll be picking a winner at random and will send email confirmation to the winner only.

Here are this year's NolaFunky headliners...

Allen Toussaint

Pianist/singer/songwriter/producer Allen Toussaint has been a musical legend for more than 40 years but is currently at the peak of his popularity as a live performer based on his recent festival performances at Bonarroo and The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His collaboration with Elvis Costello, The River In Reverse, is one of the most musically powerful post-Katrina statements to come out of New Orleans. Toussaint will bring a 8 piece band for his first Crawfish Fest show.

Toussaint's enduring legacy is his work as one of America's greatest songwriters, penning such classics as "Southern Nights,"

"Mother-In-Law," "Working In A Coal Mine" and "Fortune Teller." After writing the instrumental hits "Java" and "Whipped Cream" in the early '60s Toussaint wrote and produced a treasure trove of timeless New Orleans hits for the city's greatest R&B singers, including Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey and Aaron Neville. A few years later he recorded a series of top 10 instrumental hits with his house band The Meters.

One of Toussaint's most important roles came in adapting New Orleans R&B to the funk and dance music styles that became popular during the 1970s. In addition to working with The Meters and Dr. John, whose "Right Place, Wrong Time" was another huge hit, Toussaint produced LaBelle's Number One disco hit "Lady Marmalade" in 1975 and worked with major artists from The Band to Robert Palmer.

During the 1970s Toussaint also recorded under his own name, producing the album classics From a Whisper to a Scream and Southern Nights. When Glen Campbell covered "Southern Nights" in 1977 the song became a crossover Number One hit on the pop, country and adult contemporary charts.

Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

funky METERS

The funky Meters continue the tradition of legendary funk coined by Art Neville, George Porter Jr. and company over 40 years ago. Keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter Art "Papa Funk" Neville was the architect of The Meters' sound and George Porter Jr. coined the style of New Orleans funk bass playing that is still the city's musical lingua franca today.

Powerhouse drummer David Russell Batiste Jr., from one of the city's greatest musical families, has carved out his own variation on original Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste's style.

The band's guitarist has always been one of the leading lights in New Orleans music, beginning with Leo Nocentelli, whose distinctive rhythm/lead style had people thinking there were two guitars playing at once. Former Neville Brothers guitarist Brian Stoltz brought a unique virtuoso guitar style to the group when he joined in 1994. When Stoltz left the band last year Art's son Ian brought a new generation of Nevilles into the mix with his expansive guitar playing.

Art Neville, one of the stars of New Orleans R&B since he cut "Mardi Gras Mambo" in 1954 with The Hawkettes while still in high school, put the original band together in 1967. The group quickly became New Orleans' answer to Booker T and the MGs, the preferred backing band on Allen Toussaint's productions and a hit instrumental group that recorded "Sophisticated Cissy," "Cissy Strut," "Ease Back" and "Look a Py Py" -- all top 10 R&B hits -- between '67 and '69.

During the 1970s The Meters recorded five albums on the Warner/Reprise label including the classic Fire On the Bayou and provided the backing band on a series of timeless recordings by The Wild Tchoupitoulas, Dr. John, Robert Palmer, Allen Toussaint and Paul McCartney and Wings.

The original band broke up in 1979 and Art Neville went on to form the Neville Brothers, but the group reunited with Batiste replacing Modeliste in 1989 and Stoltz replacing Nocentelli in 1994, at which point they officially became the funky Meters. This group has been at the forefront of every important evolution of the groove from 1950s and '60s R&B to the jam band aesthetic of the new millennium.

The Radiators

The Radiators are simply the greatest rock band in New Orleans history.

That fact is underscored by the honor paid to the band by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which annually asks the Radiators to close the ultimate celebration of Louisiana's music along with the Neville Brothers. 2008 marks the 30th anniversary of the Radiators, who own the distinction of being the only rock band to have recorded for a major label that's still touring with its original members after 30 years.

The truly great American rock bands are beyond styles and trends, and the Radiators fall squarely into that category. The band's music, an amalgam of influences ranging from Jelly Roll Morton to 1960s soul to country and western to modal jazz, twin-guitar histrionics and the undulating rhythms of New Orleans R&B, is a mysterious brew that has captivated audiences across the country.

Principal songwriter Ed Volker, the architect of the Radiator's identity, describes its sound as "fish head music," the product of living a lifetime in a city below sea level. The mind-bending musings of Volker's mystic vocals and keyboards are embellished by the high voltage guitar interchange between Dave Malone and Camile Baudoin and driven home by the funky rhythm section of bassist Reggie Scanlon and drummer Frank Bua.

The Radiators struck the kind of magic balance each player in the band had been looking for. Bua and Scanlan locked in immediately and have become an institution in a city noted for its rhythm sections. Malone and Baudoin arrived at a two-guitar sound that blended rhythm and lead parts, harmony playing and respect for the song and the improvisational elements that transcend it in equal measures. Volker and Malone complement each other as singers, trading off between Malone’s extroverted, big-voiced good nature and Volker’s swamp music invocations. Volker’s sinuous keyboard work stirs the pot in strange directions based on the Quixotic moods, William Blake visions and voodoo lore that informs his body of work.

The sound is the sum total of a lot of complex parts, not the least of which is the kind of aesthetic risk-taking that bands like the Grateful Dead championed. The Radiators have never abandoned that experimental attitude. After an association with Epic records into the 1990s that produced such classic New Orleans albums as "Law of the Fish" and "Zigzagging Through Ghostland" the band took a page from the Grateful Dead playbook and went directly to its fans for support, recording albums that were independently distributed and relying on mind-boggling live shows to spread the word on a person-to-person level.

Today, with a book that has expanded to more than 2,000 original songs and countless covers in service of an approach to performance that allows no two shows to be the same and no song to be played the same way twice, the Radiators have built an audience around the country that would walk on gilded splinters to see them. The Radiators deal with covers the way Louisiana traditional musicians deal with folk culture, appropriating whatever they deem fit into the mix and making it their own.

The kind of fanatic appeal the band instills in its followers is evident from the groups around the country whose annual private parties center on Radiators performances, with Volker composing songs to match each party’s theme. The grandest of these is the annual Mardi Gras bash thrown by the Mystic Orphans and Misfits and known as the M.O.M.’s ball.


Bonerama, with its massed trombones on the front line, has developed one of the most distinctive New Sounds in New Orleans music over the last decade, a combination of traditional brass band, rock, jazz and R&B. Virtuoso trombonists Mark Mullins and Craig Klein were two of the city's most respected players when they founded Bonerama in 1998 to develop a new funk rock vista for the trombone. Mullins and Klein were well known for their work in the Harry Connick big band, but they needed an outlet for their desire to rock out and party down with a second line funk sound. Mullins and Klein fleshed out the concept with two more outstanding trombonists, Steve Suter and Rick Trolsen, as well as bass trombonist Brian O'Neill. They added a potent bottom line with the addition of the imaginative and dynamic sousaphone player Matt Perrine, some edge with guitarist Bert Cotton, and the propulsive groove laid down by various New Orleans drummers. In 2001, Bonerama released its debut album Live at the Old Point and began to play sell out performances from New York City to San Francisco. A performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival earned a rave review in Rolling Stone. In March of 2004 Bonerama recorded Live From New York with special guests including Galactic’s Stanton Moore on drums, and the legendary trombonist Fred Wesley of the JB Horns. The band overcame the death of Brian O'Neill to make a third live album, Bringing It Home, recorded at Tipitina's and featuring Bonerama-ized versions of Led Zeppelin and Beatles tunes alongside originals and a Thelonious Monk composition. The band made history when Mullins, Klein and Trolson made up the "Best Trombonist" category at this year's OffBeat awards, the first time all the nominees in a category were from the same group!

This past Mardi Gras the band released a collaboration with OK Go, "You're Not Alone

Tab Benoit

Tab Benoit's distinctive swamp rock guitar playing, superior songwriting and soulful vocals make him one of Louisiana's most appealing musical stylists. Benoit has been nominated for Grammy awards and last year won the Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Awards at the Blues Music Awards, formerly the W.C. Handy Awards.

Benoit developed his style playing regular gigs at Tabby's Blues Bar in Baton Rouge, where he learned from venerable Louisiana bluesman Tabby Thomas. Benoit, a native of Houma, Louisiana, grew up listening to the Cajun music popular in his hometown as well as rock & roll and blues.

He put all those elements together to forge his own style. Benoit was discovered by New Orleanians when he competed in a blues contest at the bowling alley that became Mid-City Lanes, the home of Rock 'n Bowl, where Benoit is now a regular performer. After signing a multi-album deal with Justice records, Benoit began to place songs on television shows including Northern Exposure, Melrose Place, Party of Five and Baywatch Nights. More recently Benoit has been an avid campaigner for preserving the Louisiana wetlands. Last year Benoit released what is widely considered his best album, Power of the Pontchartrain.

Little Freddie King

Fans of Louisiana blues are in for a special treat when Little Freddie King makes a rare trip outside the state to perform at this year's Crawfish Fest. King was born in McComb Mississippi in 1940 and learned to play the blues guitar from his father Jessie James Martin. He moved to New Orleans in the 1950s, where he played frequently with Polka Dot Slim and Boogie Bill Webb and backed up national blues acts when they hit New Orleans. King built up a reputation as one of New Orleans' best blues guitarists by playing regularly at local clubs, but didn't make his official recording debut until 1971 on the obscure New Orleans label Ahura Mazda Records. It took more than a quarter of a century for his next record, Swamp Boogie, to be released on another local label, Orleans records. In 2000 King put out the breakthrough album Sing Sang Sung, a definitive stylistic statement that included a terrific song about one of the New Orleans bars he played at many times, "Bucket of Blood".

King reached a larger audience in 2005 when the progressive blues label Fat Possum records put out You Don't Know What I Know, a crackling set highlighted by the outstanding "Crackhead Joe." King's new album, Messin' Around tha House (MadeWright) should be available at Crawfish Fest.