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The Fess Centennial: Professor Longhair’s 100th birthday

Henry Roeland Byrd was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana on December 19, 1918. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, the iconic pianist, vocalist and composer, affectionately called Fess, will be […]

Joyful, “Sanctified Soul” (Rampart Street Music)

Paul Simon’s moving “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a huge hit for him and his creative partner Art Garfunkel in 1970, opens veteran New Orleans gospel group Joyful’s Sanctified Soul. Symbolically […]

Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, “Spacesuit” (Royal Potato Family)

Considering the name of the album, Spacesuit, and the musicians involved—organist/multi-keyboardist Robert Walter, drummer Simon Lott, guitarist Chris Alford and bassist Victor Little plus percussionist Mike Dillon—one can anticipate progressively […]

Aretha and Mahalia: Tonya Boyd-Cannon pays tribute

“I call them Auntie Aretha and Auntie Mahalia because even though I never met them I feel they poured so much into me—I learned from their words, from their music,” Tonya […]

Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Mark Rapp, Chris Burroughs and David Ellington, Natural History (Jangly Records)

Natural History gets off to a happy start with the members of this collaborative ensemble—saxophonist Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, trumpeter Mark Rapp, organist/pianist David Ellington and drummer Chris Burroughs—all clapping their […]

Jon Batiste, Hollywood Africans (Verve)

A homage to his musical heroes     Those who only know Jon Batiste as the gregarious leader of the band Stay Human that appears weeknights on the television show […]

SOUNDCHECK: Five Questions with pianist Danilo Pérez

“Groove them out!” Danilo Pérez instructs musicians as a means of dealing with societal and political problems faced by the world today. “They mess with the groove that we create,” […]

Dyna-Mite: Jon Cleary keeps the New Orleans piano tradition’s fuse lit

“I think if I have any talent at all, it’s for picking good guys to play with to make me sound good,” Jon Cleary says, then laughs and takes another sip […]

Jon Cleary, Dyna-Mite (FHQ Records)

From the very opening of the title cut of Dyna-Mite there’s no doubt that the album’s musical roots lie deep in New Orleans. Jon Cleary might have been born in […]

In Memoriam: Ivory “Wildman” Holmes (1954-2018)

“He did a lot of projects,” Chief Derrick Hulin of the Golden Blades declares of Wildman Ivory Holmes’ eagerness on many creative fronts. “As a wildman, he was tough, tough—he […]