Jimmy Cliff, Photo by Golden G. Richard III, OffBeat Magazine, October 2014

Backtalk: Jimmy Cliff

The voice of Jimmy Cliff is that of reggae music. With its Jamaican lilt, it holds the history of the music’s evolution and its socially conscious purpose. Cliff, 66, was a teenager when he traveled from his family home in St. James, Jamaica and headed to Kingston to pursue his musical dreams. At 14, he [...]

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Paul Thorn, OffBeat Magazine, September 2014

Backtalk: Paul Thorn

Paul Thorn’s backstory is so good that someone would’ve had to make it up if it wasn’t all true. Born in Elvis’ hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, Thorn grew up as a Pentecostal preacher’s son who learned all of his music in church, secular music being forbidden. Before turning to music, he was briefly a professional [...]

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Henry Butler and Steve Bernstein, Stephanie Berger, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Backtalk: Henry Butler and Steven Bernstein

Piano virtuoso and vocalist Henry Butler agrees that the music on his and trumpeter/arranger Steven Bernstein’s album, Viper’s Drag, represents the meeting of two great musical cities: New Orleans and New York. Butler, a native of the Crescent City, says that’s how he and New Yorker Bernstein are branding their exciting new release that focuses [...]

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Chris Smither, Elsa Hahne, OffBeat Magazine, July 2014

Back Talk: Chris Smither

Even though he left New Orleans nearly a half-century ago, acoustic legend Chris Smither has practically been a local fixture of late. Last year found Smither in town to record his double-CD, Still on the Levee, which revisits songs from throughout his career with Allen Toussaint, Loudon Wainwright III and other admirers. He returned to [...]

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Sean Ardoin, photo, OffBeat Magazine, June 2014

Back Talk: Sean Ardoin on Why Zydeco Makes Him “Happy”

Will the real Sean Ardoin please stand up? Ardoin carries the most historic name in zydeco, yet he’s a chameleon of relentless reinvention that’s starting to bear big fruit. Sean is the grandson of Creole accordion legend Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin, whose cousin Amede’ recorded songs in the 1920s and ’30s that many consider to [...]

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Chaka Khan, photo, Joshua Brasted, OffBeat Magazine, May 2014

Back Talk: Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan has always had a lot going on in both her life and remarkable career. The Chicago native, who grew up in a musical family, formed her first singing group at age 11. By the time she was 22, in 1974, she had won a Grammy for her performance with the group Rufus, whose [...]

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Back Talk: Conversing With Stanton Moore

Say the name Stanton Moore and most music fans, especially those outside of New Orleans, would probably respond something like “hard-funkin’ drummer with Galactic.” And that, of course, is right on. However, jazz has long been at the core of Moore’s life and playing. Early on, the drummer—who celebrates the release of his modern-jazz album, [...]

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Matt Perrine, photo, Golden Richard III, OffBeat Magazine, March 2014

BackTalk: Getting Around with Sousaphone and Bassist Matt Perrine

With Carnival season in high gear and French Quarter Fest, then Jazz Fest, just around the corner, New Orleans musicians become marathoners. Matt Perrine, whose sousaphone and bass has been a mainstay of the city’s sound for 23 years, is particularly busy, having rejoined Bonerama after a family-obligations hiatus. Perrine may miss a gig or [...]

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Jon Batiste, press photo, OffBeat Magazine, February 2014

BackTalk: Jon Batiste, Living in the Moment (Interview)

At 27, Jon Batiste is already something of a visionary. Since leaving New Orleans 10 years ago to study at Juilliard, the pianist has cultivated a holistic approach to his creative output, which currently includes a tour in support of Social Music, his Stay Human band’s latest release, and the development of new education-focused programs [...]

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Sherman Bernard, photo, Elsa Hahne, OffBeat Magazine, January 2014

BackTalk: Sherman Bernard, Lifetime Achievement in Music Business Award Honoree

Sherman Bernard’s decades in the New Orleans music business have garnered him a multitude of experiences and stories. He established Bernard Productions in 1983 and, starting in the mid-’70s, was the head piano tuner at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Early in his career, Bernard provided technical expertise at such legendary spots as [...]

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