Dwayne Dopsie accepting one of two awards at Best of the Beat 2017. Photo: Kim Welsh

And The 2017 Best Of The Beat Awards Winners Are…

The city’s royalty packed Generations’ Hall last night for the 2017 Best of the Beat Awards, the 23rd annual party/ceremony celebrating another phenomenal year in New Orleans music. The event featured food from some excellent local eateries, from Marjie’s to Nacho Mama’s to Ms. Linda, the YaKaMein Lady; an award ceremony to honor this year’s most outstanding musicians and industry professionals; and of course, plenty of music.

The musical lineup this year included plenty of Best of the Beat 2017 winners and nominees. The Soul Rebels (winners, Best Brass Band) kicked off the night with a characteristically hip-hop-heavy set. Jamaican Me Breakfast Club (nominated, Best Cover Band) put a reggae spin on ‘80s hits, from Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny (867-5309)” to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”  Alfred Banks (nominated, Best Rap Artist and Best Rap Album) showcased his flow and freestyling chops, backed by the neo-jazz groove of Cool Nasty. Muevelo, New Orleans’ hottest salsa nine-piece (not a category), added some Latin flair to the evening. And both The Lost Bayou Ramblers (winners, Best Cajun Artist, Best Cajun Album) and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers (winners, Best Zydeco Artist, Best Zydeco Album) performed their signature takes on western Louisiana tradition, each making a case for why their group deserves this year’s Best Regional Roots Music Album Grammy.

The most exciting performance of the night was a special tribute to Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, patriarch of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian tribe. The tribute featured six Mardi Gras Indians in full gear, led by Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. of the Wild Magnolias until Boudreaux stepped onstage and took the mic. Stanton Moore (winner, Best Contemporary Jazz Artist, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Best Drummer), Johnny Sansone (winner, Best Other Instrumentalist (Harmonica)), and a stacked band of local legends provided backing instrumentals for the Indians.

Jan Ramsey, OffBeat’s founder, publisher, and Editor-in-Chief, emceed the award ceremony. The night’s biggest winners were Tank and the Bangas (Artist of the Year, Best R&B/Funk artist, Best Music Video). Singer/spoken word poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball accepted the Artist of the Year award with a brief but characteristically zany speech, thanking her family and friends for helping her “untangle the Christmas lights in [her] head.”

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews took home Album of the Year, Best R&B/Funk Album and Best Trombonist. He accepted his awards gracefully, but with over 20 Best of the Beat awards already in his mother’s trophy case, it was clear he’d been there before.

For the first time ever, the Best Emerging Artist award went to a secret society. Several of Trumpet Mafia’s most elusive capos stepped reluctantly into the light to accept the honor. “I’d like to thank Offbeat for being the only magazine to talk about Trumpet Mafia, even when we wanted to stay anonymous,” said Ashlin Parker, the group’s shadowy figurehead, in a somewhat backhanded acceptance speech. “I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, and it worked.”

In a less shocking turn of events, the Allen Toussaint Song of the Year Award went to fellow trumpeters Kermit Ruffins and Irvin Mayfield for their single, “Allen Toussaint.” But it was Nicholas Payton who took home the actual Best Trumpeter Award. “I’m blessed to be here, blessed to be playing music, and blessed to not be indicted on 19 counts by a federal grand jury,” he joked, a clear jab at Mayfield, who is currently on trial for 11 counts of money laundering, four counts of wire fraud and more. Later, Payton posted a photo of his award to Instagram, captioned “The world celebrates mediocrity, but sometimes, they get it right.”

Full List of Winners:
Artist of Year: Tank and the Bangas

Album of the Year: Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony (Blue Note)

Best Emerging Artist: Trumpet Mafia

Song of the Year: “Allen Toussaint” by Kermit Ruffins, Irvin Mayfield & Cyril Neville

Best Blues Artist: Samantha Fish

Best Blues Album: Samantha Fish: Belle of the West (Ruf Records)

Best R&B/Funk Artist: Tank and the Bangas

Best R&B/Funk Album: Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony (Blue Note)

Best Rock Artist: The Revivalists

Best Rock Album: Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes: sketch (Full Frontal Records)

Best Rap Artist: Dee-1

Best Rap Album: Dee-1: Slingshot David (Essential Sound)

Best Trad Jazz Artist: Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Best Trad Jazz Album: Preservation Hall Jazz Band: So it Is (Legacy Recordings)

Best Contemporary Jazz Artist: Stanton Moore

Best Contemporary Jazz Album: Stanton Moore: With You In Mind: The Songs of Allen Toussaint (Mascot Records)

Best Brass Band: The Soul Rebels

Best Cajun Artist: Lost Bayou Ramblers

Best Cajun Album: Lost Bayou Ramblers: Kalenda (Rice Pump)

Best Zydeco Artist: Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

Best Zydeco Album: Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers: Top of the Mountain (Crew Records)

Best Roots Rock Artist: Honey Island Swamp Band

Best Roots Rock Album: Sam Price & the True Believers: Sam Price and the True Believers (Independent)

Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Artist: Sweet Cecilia

Best Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album: Sweet Cecilia: Sing Me a Story (Independent)
Best Gospel Artist: McDonough 35 High School Gospel Choir

Best Cover Band: Bag Of Donuts

Songwriter of the Year: Paul Sanchez

Best Female Vocalist: Erica Falls

Best Male Vocalist: Cyril Neville

Best Bass Player: George Porter, Jr.

Best Guitarist: Sonny Landreth

Best Drummer: Stanton Moore

Best Saxophonist: Donald Harrison, Jr.

Best Clarinetist: Dr. Michael White

Best Trumpeter: Nicholas Payton

Best Trombonist: Troy Andrews

Best Tuba/Sousaphonist: Matt Perrine

Best Piano/Keyboardist: Jon Cleary

Best Accordionist: Dwayne Dopsie

Best Violinist/Fiddler: Amanda Shaw

Best DJ: DJ Soul Sister

Best Other Instrumentalist: Johnny Sansone (harmonica)

Best Music Video: “Quick” by Tank and the Bangas, Directed by FosterBear Films.

Best Club: House of Blues

Best Radio Station: WWOZ

Best Large Festival: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Best Festival Outside New Orleans: Festival International de Louisiane

Best Neighborhood Festival: Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival

Best Recording Studio: Dockside Studio

Record Label of the Year: Basin Street Records

Producer of the Year: David Torkanowsky

Best Record Store: Louisiana Music Factory

Best Instrument Store: Guitar Center

Best Studio Sound Engineer: Steve Nails (Dockside Studio)

Best Booking Agency: White Oak

Best Manager: Simple Play Presents

Best Music Attorney: Christophe B. Szapary

Best Club Owner or Manager: Hank Staples, Maple Leaf

Best Concert Promoter: Live Nation

Bourbon Street Award: Earl Bernhardt and Pam Fortner (Tropical Isle)

Musician Resource Award: The Ella Project

Music Business of the Year: Winter Circle Productions

Community Music Award: Upbeat Academy

Click on the photo below to see the full gallery of photos, which will be updated throughout the day.

Best of the Beat Awards & Party 2017

Thank you, New Orleans! See you next year…