Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses played a spectacular show on Monday, September 29, at Maison on Frenchmen Street, where they have a regular weekly gig.
This group of New Orleans trad jazz royalty brought their signature sparkle to three sets of traditional and original numbers, spurring a handful of joyous, swing-inclined audience members onto the dancefloor.
The rest of us were treated to a display of footwork that was (nearly) as impressive as the music.
Nealand has a truly captivating voice, one that’s cheeky and salty but slips easily into a soft, dulcet croon. The California native, who spent time studying in Paris, sang numbers in both French and English.
As if such vocal talents weren’t enough, she also brought the house down alternating between soprano sax and clarinet throughout the set.
This show’s band featured regular Roses David Boswell on trumpet and Jon Ramm on trombone, each tearing out spine-tingling solos, in addition to guest talent Russell Welch on guitar, Simon Lott on drums, and Devon Taylor on sousaphone.
Particularly bewitching was their performance of “Ferry Man,” an original number written for the hit show Treme.
With its dangerous, seductive melody that shifts unexpectedly into a wistful and imploring bridge sung in chilling three part harmony, the song was mesmerizing and the delivery sublime.
Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses are la crème de la crème of the traditional jazz resurgence scene, playing at venues throughout the city and bringing whimsy and exuberance to a timeless New Orleans tradition.