Monday, November 24, 2008

NolaFunk Lagniappe


You ain't as freaky as me...
Dr. John celebrated his birthday yesterday and while a day late we're not a dollar short in honoring great souls like the Doc. The man born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. on November 21, 1941 has done MUCH for our collective musical health, serving as an ambassador to New Orleans and the spirit world running behind it. Beyond his own work, his piano and songwriting are threaded into the workings of contemporary soul and rock in a foundational way, a flavor as American as hamburgers and apple pie 'cept it's our minds and spirits that get stuffed. You can write us a prescription anytime, Doctor, sir. Happy birthday, Mac, you're one of the best!

Music For Human's feature on The Radiators

The Radiators were born during a transitional decade in the history of New Orleans music. The Meters, the premier funk band, had disbanded, the Neville Brothers formed, and in 1980 Professor Longhair, the father of New Orleans R&B and spiritual embodiment of Crescent City Soul had passed on. This decade would prove to be the fertile period of development when a unique blend of rhythms and sounds came together and "Fish Head" music was born. The Radiators, an extremely eclectic group of musicians, rely on a myriad of musical influences to create their own sound-"Fish Head Music". At a Radiators show it is not uncommon to hear blues, R&B, jazz, country, Zydeco, soul, swing, and even gospel filtering through their original New Orleans Rock N' Roll.

Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to unveil a revamped "All the Saints"

Even New Orleans' official cultural ambassador occasionally needs a recharge.

Irvin Mayfield received his at fellow trumpeter Shamarr Allen's birthday celebration at Tipitina's in July. Mayfield arrived to discover a brass band blowout in full swing.

"There was no separation between the stage and the audience, " Mayfield recalled. "I've played all over the world, but it had been so long since I felt such overwhelming warmth like that. It made me fall in love with music, and New Orleans, again. It took me out of that burned-out stage and made me realize what the promise of this place is."

Rediscovering the joy of life in New Orleans despite its myriad frustrations is the theme of Mayfield's new "In Love All Over Again." He and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra debut it on Friday, Nov. 21 at Christ Church Cathedral during the fourth incarnation of "All the Saints: A Festival of Healing, Celebration and Jazz."


The "Musicians Bringing Musicians Home IV" concert is the celebratory and fundraising finale of the fourth three-day activist retreat hosted by Air Traffic Control and the Future of Music Coalition since the Gulf Coast storms of 2005. This retreat brings established and emerging artists from around the country to New Orleans to tour affected neighborhoods, visit with some of the city's notable musicians and community leaders and participate in strategy sessions about how to integrate activism and philanthropy into their work as musicians. Through these activities, musicians share their experiences, learn how to "plug-in" to activist circles, and discuss how to best address needs in their hometowns and in the communities through which they tour.

Radio documentary about Jonathan Freilich is as wide-ranging as guitarist's career

Regarding the subject of David Kunian's latest radio documentary, it's OK to ask:

Why Jonathan Freilich?

Founder of the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, Freilich doesn't appear to fit the near-mythological mold of some of Kunian's other radio-documentary subjects, who over the years have included drummer and composer James Black, Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones and Earl King.

Actually, guitarist Freilich doesn't fit any mold. Way beyond the Klezmer All-Stars, his musical projects range from jazz (Naked on the Floor) through the out-there big band (The Naked Orchestra) to ska (007) and R&B (Poor Man's Speedball).

And that's the short list.

see also: Freilich & Klezmers talk about their latest album

Something Else! features Crescent City Gold, "The Ultimate Session" (1994)

Assembled are a who's-who group of New Orleans musicians who played nearly five decades before with the likes of Little Richard, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. Fronted by familiar performers Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, "Session" includes the great funky drummer Earl Palmer (pictured at right; he originally played on "Lucille," reprised here, and on scores of other early rock sides); saxophonists Alvin "Red" Tyler and Lee Allen; and pianist Edward Frank, among others.

Shannon McNally and Sonny Landreth @ 2007 Jazzfest

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NoLa Rising NYC this week!

NOLA Postcard

ReX of NoLA Rising arrives in New York next week for the NoLA Rising Festival. We don't have any trapeze artists lined up that I know of, but we have a full line-up of art lunacy. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

November 21 8pm Opening Event
This is the opening of the exhibit A Tag of Two Cities. Solo musicians James Subudhi, Lauren Pritchard (Spring Awakening) and the fabulous funk reggae band Suspicious Brown will share the stage with world renowned spoken word poets Eboni Hogan and Caitlin Meissner. Meet the artists, drink, view Michael Almereyda's new film, and make a shirt with fashion designer David Withrow and graphic artist Maranda Barskey.

November 22nd – 24 Hours of ART!

9-10:30am FREE! Yoga with Elizabeth Barnett. Come salute the opening of 24 hours of ART! with this free yoga class.

12 – 1:30pm Java Jazz. FREE! An event for all ages, come enjoy jazz, coffee, bakery, and explore the exhibit. Mike "Rex" Dingler of NoLA Rising will have wood, paint and supplies set up for you to make a piece of art for the people and students in New Orleans who are still trying to return to their homes after Katrina.

3pm – 5pm Screening of Wade in the Water. This documentary was made by students in the first school to open in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Produced and directed by Elizabeth Wood and Gabriel Nussbaum, the children of New Orleans' violent Central City neighborhood create riveting and remarkably honest portraits of a New Orleans that was a disaster long before Katrina, a New Orleans that adults are slow to discuss and that the media could never penetrate, and that the flood has exacerbated. In addition there will be four award winning short stories and poems written by students in the Recovery School District Public Schools in New Orleans performed by NY artists and viewed by live webcam by the students in New Orleans. This project was commissioned by the Ogden Museum of Southern Folk Art in New Orleans, LA. $5 proceeds from this event go towards a literary publication of the student's work.

7:30 – 9pm Comedorleans Hosted by Lucas Kavner this event will be a fun mix of the best sketch comedy groups in the city. $10 admission also gets you into the WET! party

9pm – 3am WET! all night dance party Dress to get wet… whether that means your best galoshes and slickers, yellow polka dot bikini, goggles or the color BLUE we hope you'll join us for an all night bash featuring Pat O'Brian's famous Hurricane Cocktails, drink specials, N'awlins Burlesque dancers and a great mix of DJS including ITP's cassettenova, Black and White's DJ Theo "Action" Lorraine, Eyebeam's Dj "dubs", and bringin the house down with Eddie Mars and the Vietcong Disco. $10 plus one free drink

November 23rd 8am FREE Yoga with Elizabeth Barnett for those of you at the after party Liz will offer a great Restorative Yoga session…yeah….see you at the finish line.

November 23rd 5pm and 8pm Dramatic Double Feature. You have two chances to see this double feature. Part one is the four top short plays written by New Orleans high school students in the Recovery Public School District commissioned by the Ogden Museum of Southern Folkart and performed by NYC theater companies The Talking Band, NY-Neo Classical Ensemble, The Movement Theater Company, and IRT. The students will view the staged readings via live webcam down in New Orleans. The second feature is performance artist Jennifer Pagan's Shoebox Lounge an admired performance artist and activist in New Orleans, Pagan is bringing her catchy show which last appeared in NYC at UCB to IRT. Pagan is a teacher and administrator with Young Audiences. $10

November 24th
Michael "Rex" Dingler will do a workshop with Crown Heights First Achievement school second grade class. A class made up primarily of Afro-Caribbean students, many of whose families have been effected by recent hurricanes, they will partner with the NHP foundations Tanglewood Youth Center in New Orleans on a "Drawing" pal exchange.

November 25th
NoLA Rising and SLIGHLTYaskew go to Southstreet Youth Center in Jamaica Plains Boston, MA. NoLA Rising will join members of SLIGHTLYaskew who have been working with the youth community in JP for the past two years in an art therapy workshop surrounding a recent shooting and killing of several children in the community. The students will get to share their thoughts and feelings through art and make work both in response and for their community.

NOLA Postcard

NOLAPostcard Full

Monday, November 17, 2008

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Royal Fingerbowl reunites for a live recording as frontman Alex McMurray plans another solo project

Royal Fingerbowl coalesced around the Frenchmen Street music scene in 1995 to showcase McMurray as a Tom Waits/Leon Redbone/"Ice Cream Man"-era David Lee Roth composite singing evocative tales of down-and-out life in New Orleans. Barely a year later, having rarely performed outside Orleans Parish, the band signed with TVT Records, the New York label that broke Nine Inch Nails.

The trio -- McMurray, drummer Kevin O'Day and bassist Andy Wolf -- released its TVT debut, "Happy Birthday, Sabo!," in August 1997. By the time "Greyhound Afternoons" came out three years later, Nuccio occupied the drum chair; Perrine would soon take over on bass.

Home of the Groove's "Chuck Carbo: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait"

The Spiders. L-R: Chick Carbo, Joe Maxon, Oliver Howard, Chuck Carbo, Matthew West

New Orleans funk fans and collectors are probably most familiar with Chuck Carbo from the one-off 45 sides he made for and with Eddie Bo in 1969 that have appeared on several compilations; but, as seriously funky as it was, that record really didn't provide a great showcase for someone who is considered by many, including me, to be one of the city's best and most under-appreciated R&B vocalists. Although Carbo's career spanned over five decades, he put his talent on the side for many years to support his family with day jobs and did not have much of a solo singing career until late in his life. I have had this post simmering since Chuck's death at 82 this past July. My perpetual state of project overload often keeps me from getting to HOTG posting in a timely manner; but, things do eventually come around for those who wait. If you're still with me, let's take a listen to some Chuck Carbo cuts with good grooves as well as vocals, and give some props to another great one who's now gone.

Live: Quintron and Miss Pussycat are Swamp Buggy Badasses at Santos

Quintron and Miss Pussycat
Santos Party House

Monday's main attraction was sexy cartoon lady Miss Pussycat, the hands behind VBS's puppet “soap-opera” Trixie and the Tree Trunks, and her organ-taming, jam-skating life-partner Quintron. Two nights before, Pussycat opened an art show at Live With Animals in Williamsburg; Monday was the official release party for Too Thirsty 4 Love, Quintron's month-old, 11-song bogland bonanza that features him on the cover with fangs, a python, and a grinning older woman in a see-through top. He and Andrew W.K. are apparently old pals—this was the New Orleans couple's first local headlining performance in years—and neither one gave a shit that tomorrow the rest of us had to work. “Do you realize how many people around the world would give anything to be in Manhattan?” screamed Andrew, who these days uses shampoo and wears a wedding ring. “Let's enjoy this moment!”

Fats Domino Documentary To Air On PBS

When Katrina swamped his Lower 9th Ward neighborhood and 80 percent of his hometown with floodwater, Domino lost his home, three pianos, dozens of gold and platinum records and other memorabilia. So, when the 80-year-old singer took the stage at a popular New Orleans club for the first time after the 2005 storm, fans cheered and cried as he bopped the upbeat strains of "I'm Walkin"' and crooned "Ain't That a Shame," along with a host of other hits. Footage from that appearance in May 2007, his first and last since Katrina, is the basis of a new documentary, "Fats Domino: Walkin' Back to New Orleans," that will air on public broadcasting stations over the next few years.

see also: R&B music legend Fats Domino documentary has special meaning to local filmmakers

ON THE ROAD WITH PHJB #7: Charlie Gabriel & Clint Maedgen duet backstage

Voodoo Experience 2008 (The Hidden Voodoo)

Paul Sanchez and The Rolling Road Show

Voodoo Experience: The Tenth Ritual

Bonerama is a brass band of a completely different sort. They carry no trumpets or saxophones, but they do feature trombones, sousaphones, one electric guitar and drums. They not only have updated the sound, but they have redefined it. On Saturday, their version of "When The Levee Breaks" was done as if Led Zeppelin arranged it. Since the festival was at the edge of Bayou St. John in New Orleans (an area that experienced flooding after Hurricane Katrina), the presentation was completely surreal.

Immediately following Bonerama on the WWOZ Stage was Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk. Yes, he's one of those Nevilles. His band, moreover, is quite simply the best jazz/funk/rock fusion outfit to emerge from New Orleans since the Meters. Taking the stage at dusk, the band delivered a blistering set which included "Stinky," "Livin' In A World Gone Mad" and "Turn This Thing Around."

Movie role hardly a stretch for jazz musician

"Rachel getting married . . . ," Donald Harrison Jr. muses before the friends and family assembled at a fictional wedding. The setting is director Jonathan Demme's latest critically acclaimed work, starring Anne Hathaway; Harrison's opening line is the film's title.

Harrison's character, a jazz musician and close friend of the bride's father who is a music industry executive, isn't a stretch. Yet Harrison inhabits it with the same arresting blend of charisma and humility that he brings to the various roles he plays in his native New Orleans. They include jazz saxophonist and bandleader, with a new album, "The Chosen"; mentor to young players through a weekly nonprofit workshop; and Big Chief of Congo Nation, extending the Mardi Gras Indian tradition he inherited from his late father.

Po'Boy Preservation Festival This Weekend in New Orleans


It's good to know a po'boy preservation society exists. These dedicated folks organized the second annual Po'Boy Preservation Festival, happening this Sunday on five blocks of Oak Street in New Orleans. We were at last year's inaugural fest, and this year the same po'boy fanaticism is expected—panelists on the sandwich's history, a taste-test from local vendors, and even some love for the po'boy's Italian cousin, the muffuletta.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Upcoming: Big Sam's Funky Nation @ Sullivan Hall (11/21)

BSFN @ Sullivan Hall
day November 21st
(If you can't make the show, tune in the live webcast:

Big Sam on trombone

Presiding over his Funky Nation is Big Sam, formerly the trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who blows the funk out of his trombone and refuses to let the audience sit still. Between solos and trombone riffs, Big Sam second-lines (a uniquely New Orleans style of street-dance) and gets the crowd going both in movement and in replies to his call-and-response MC-style. A talented group of jazz-trained musicians makes up the Funky Nation, bringing with them the improv-style associated with jazz and the horn-heavy front section that's the hallmark of big band funk. Theirs, and Big Sam's, exuberant dancing and playing, afford them a rare opportunity to let loose. Big Sam's Funky Nation has undeniable personality, as well as masterful chops.


Thanks for checking in!

Nolafunk Lagniappe

James Booker: New Orleans Piano Wizard; 25 Years Gone

The name James Booker means very little in most parts of the world. In New Orleans, and to a great number of musicians, mainly piano players, the name James Booker is holy. Not bad for someone who was once called "the best black, gay, junkie piano player who ever lived."

John Blancher celebrates 20 years of Rock 'n Bowl

Rock 'n Bowl returned from Hurricane Katrina as strong as ever; the past 12 months have been the operation's highest-grossing fiscal year to date, Blancher said, despite a post-Gustav dip in business. Along with the likes of Tipitina's and the Maple Leaf Bar, it is an iconic destination for locals and tourists eager to experience the "real" New Orleans.

New Orleans piano legend Fats Domino materializes at his documentary's premiere party

After accepting the awards, Domino -- clad in a short-sleeve Hawaiian shirt, white slacks, tennis shoes and his omnipresent captain's cap -- reminded the audience that he's "not much of a talker" in his brief thank-you remarks. With that, he disappeared through the club's backstage entrance to relax in an outdoor lounge area with his preferred beverage, cold bottles of Heineken.

Fats Domino documentary to air on PBS

Christian Scott - Live At Newport (2008)Photobucket

The New Orleans tradition continues.

Over one hundred years after the Crescent City had given the world cornetist and jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden, kicking off an amazing string of brass legends going from Louis Armstrong to Wynton Marsalis to Terence Blanchard, another ground-breaking trumpet player from this storied city has emerged in just the last few years. His name is Christian Scott.

Like Marsalis, Scott was born into New Orleans music---his uncle is Donald Harrison---but unlike Wynton, Scott is not dwelling on tradition at the beginning of his career before putting his own imprint on jazz.

New Orleans swaps guns for music The New Orleans Horns for Guns project is a variation on gun buy-back programs offering residents musical instruments, cameras and classes in exchange for gun

Download: Page w/ PBS @ Live Downloads


Enjoy the Big Easy's musical heart

N'Awlins is callin' you with Tab Benoit

Have the hurricanes weakened the future of the New Orleans music scene, especially if homegrown musicians and future talent have relocated?

I don’t know if it can be anywhere near what it was. The people who really, really love New Orleans and can’t live without it are back, and even if they’re not physically living in the city where they used to live, they’re at least living in surrounding areas.

A lot went to Baton Rouge, somewhere in the vicinity, but they still come back and play New Orleans a lot. Between musicians, the bond is stronger than ever. Everyone went through the same thing together, which got us all on the same page, but it gets harder and harder to live and maintain a life there.

New Orleans jazz leader Adonis Rose spreads talent
Adonis Rose, a jazz drummer from New Orleans who moved to the Fort Worth area after Hurricane Katrina, will play Jazz on the Lawn. The founder of the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra seeks to strengthen the local jazz scene.

Dumpstaphunk: The greasiest, swampiest funk music out there

If you’re from out of town or silly enough to live in New Orleans and have never seen Ivan Neville’s Dumsptaphunk, do yourself a favor: take a break from the screeching melodies, electronic pop and heavy-eye makeup at Voodoo Fest on Saturday afternoon and go see the greasiest, swampiest funk music that has permeated places like Tipitina’s for years.

This is a splendid video dedicated to New Orleans music. Lots of footage showing local musicians playing and the beautiful scenery from the city. Anders Osborne wrote and narrates this clip.

Rebirth Brass Band and the New Orleans scene

New Orleans, being the birth place of Jazz, is widely known for its music. The volume of extraordinary musicians this city produces is staggering. Being a recent transpant from Boston, I’m still in somewhat of a culture shock, but I am getting along just fine. My first time seeing Rebirth Brass Band was at Harpers Ferry in Boston, Massachusetts back in the spring of 2007. All I knew of them then was that they were fun to see and layed down a groove you didn’t have a choice but to dance to. The rumors were right! I couldn’t stop moving my feet! They are a brass band consisting of a tuba, bass drum, snare drum, saxophone, two trombones, and three trumpets. They are each talented, and they are as tight as clockwork. These guys have ben playing together for 25 years and made there start in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. The have a regular gig at the Maple Leaf Bar every Tuesday night and this Tuesday I went.

Michael P. Smith Photography slideshow

Picasso, Basquiat And Jazz: Nicholas Payton Explores The Influence Of Visual Art


On Thursday, trumpeter Nicholas Payton will celebrate the influence of bebop greats Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker on the paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Payton, a New Orleans native who still resides there, had just returned from a few shows in Brazil when he learned about the parameters of the gig. He’s not familiar with Basquiat works at the museum, but he has been profoundly influenced by visual art in recent years.
“When you play what you see,” he says, “it comes from a different place than when you play based on what you hear. My last two records have been very visual — I’m dealing with colors rather than notes, treating harmony as a color. My music is more rhythmic, more effervescent. There are lines and circles.”