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New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, “The Music of Allen Toussaint” (Storyville Records)

In one of those games where you have to guess the name of a song after hearing several notes, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s rendition of Allen Toussaint’s lovely “Southern […]

For Doreen Ketchens, the clarinet was her beacon and her way of life

“God gave us the streets—it’s a true blessing,” praises clarinetist and vocalist Doreen Ketchens. “We can play what we want, we can control who comes into the band and who goes […]

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “Tuba to Cuba” (Sub Pop)

It’s been quite a few years since the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, under the leadership of tuba man/bassist Ben Jaffe, shook off the notion that it still played the same […]

Deacon John, “Crowded Shotgun House” (Independent)

Deacon John brilliantly digs into some new territory by recording a couple of tunes by Neil Finn, the leader of the now-defunct Australian band Crowded House, on this cleverly titled, […]

Frank Salis and Michael Watson Frank Salis Meets Michael Watson (Independent)

On this album, pianist, guitarist and organist Frank Salis, a native of Switzerland, not only encounters Crescent City vocalist and trombonist Michael Watson, he hooks up with a crew of […]

Jon Batiste, “Anatomy of Angels – Live at the Village Vanguard” (Verve)

Jon Batiste brings the same vitality, imagination and a certain playfulness to Anatomy of Angels, that he displays weeknights as the leader of his house band, Stay Human, on the […]

Frank Salis and Michael Watson, “Frank Salis Meets Michael Watson” (Independent)

On this album, pianist, guitarist and organist Frank Salis, a native of Switzerland, not only encounters Crescent City vocalist and trombonist Michael Watson, he hooks up with a crew of […]

Essence: The Party with a Purpose

Essence Fest holds many vivid and very individual memories for those who’ve attended the fest, as well as those who’ve performed. There was Aretha Franklin’s stunning appearance at the first […]

Natural Appeal: Marc Morial remembers the birth of Essence Festival

“The festival has exceeded my wildest imagination,” exclaims Marc Morial of the 25th anniversary of the Essence Festival. Morial, who is currently the President of the National Urban League, was […]

Various Artists, Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Smithsonian Folkways)

One of the beauties of the five-CD box set, Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, is that on the very first cut on disc one, The Golden […]