Author Archives: Dean M. Shapiro

Amy Trail, Amy Trail (Independent)

On this, her debut CD, Amy Trail plays keyboards and handles all the vocal chores. Unfortunately, the best thing one can say about the playing and singing is that they are just so-so at best. Certainly nothing to rave about. Only two tracks, “Soul Revealed” and “A Smile Is My Sad Face,” manage to rise [...]

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Monty Russell, The Fool (Independent)

Decked out in baggy pants, drab black jacket and Buddy Holly glasses, Monty Russell looks every bit the antithesis of the slick, polished, Nashville-groomed country star. Perhaps that’s a reflection of his style which is also antithetical to the sounds being cranked out today along “Music Row.” But what this grandson of Leon Russell from [...]

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Mari Watanabe, Old Friends (Independent)

Mari Watanabe is a Japanese transplant celebrating her twentieth year in New Orleans. In that time she seems to have caught onto the roots of New Orleans music quite nicely. Her mastery of the piano blends very well with the brass band sounds of her backup group. Four of the 13 tracks are originals; the [...]

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Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Maple Leaf

It was Saturday night and Frenchmen Street was still dark and quiet. Bourbon Street was lit up and the bands in the few clubs that were open were playing to nearly empty houses, consisting mainly of cleanup workers and National Guardsmen. But across town, on Oak Street, the house was rocking at the Maple Leaf [...]

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Freddy Omar con su Banda, Ray’s Over the River, June 25, 2005

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The Ronnie Kole Show, Live in Concert at St. Scholastica Academy (Independent)

On this two-record set, recorded live at his granddaughter’s school, Kole is both teacher and guide on a musical journey through jazz history. When he plays “Send in the Clowns,” it isn’t just a slow, straight rendition of the Judy Collins classic. It comes complete with lively, familiar circus music, switching tempos without missing a [...]

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Bruce Pierre, Just to Love You (Bedzin Productions)

Appearance-wise, Bruce Pierre could possibly pass for one of the Neville Brothers. He has performed with them on occasions, which further solidifies the connection. And his sweet, controlled falsetto voice—though not as unique and polished as Aaron’s—shines in its own right on most of the tracks on this CD. Working closely with keyboardist/producer/arranger Edward “Matt [...]

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Paul Soniat

As the title and the title track would indicate, this CD is a paean to the artist’s hometown. With such additional locally flavored titles as “Down in the Quarter,” “Queen of the Blues,” “Jazz Fest” and “Rich Bitch From the Garden District” interspersed among the CD’s 12 original compositions, Paul Soniat is a homegrown musician/vocalist/writer [...]

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Shades of Praise, God Is Still Doing Great Things (Independent)

Shades of Praise is a 70-voice interracial choir founded about five years ago by Philip Manuel and Michael Cowan and is directed by Al Bemiss, longtime keyboardist for Clarence “Frogman” Henry. Two years ago the choir made front-page news on two continents by touring Ireland and strife-torn Northern Ireland with their message of peace and [...]

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Shad Weathersby, Light Outside That Door (Rolling Road)

Twenty years ago, Shad Weathersby gathered up an all-star lineup of some of New Orleans’s finest musicians, trekked over to Bogalusa’s Studio In The Country and laid down some tracks for an LP and cassette. Recently reissued for the first time on compact disc, Light Outside That Door is now available for a new generation [...]

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