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Abita Springs Opry Series Back At The French Market In August

Get ready for some lively Saturday afternoons this August, as the Abita Springs Opry series returns to the French Market. Every Saturday will feature two shows, from 12:00p.m. to 3:00p.m.

Held six times a year since 2002, the Abita Springs Opry series is aimed at presenting the best of Louisiana’s acoustic “roots” music.Abita Springs Opry

The music presented varies from old-time country and bluegrass to Southern Gospel, Zydeco and Cajun. Shows are great opportunities for musicians from New Orleans and surrounding areas to present traditional forms of music and for the audiences to discover musical genres and bands from different parts of Louisiana.

Past series have included performances from a diverse range of artists such as the Steve Anderson Group, Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sun Spots and the Shotgun Jazz Band.

The line up for the French Market Abita Springs Opry series is as follows:

August 2
Vintage Jazz
The Lucky Dogs

August 9
Big Daddy O
The Porch Rockers

August 16
Pot Luck String Band
Manuel’s Hot Tamales

August 23
The Farmers Market String Band
Last Chance String Band

August 30
The Bad Pennies Pleasure Makers
The Steve Anderson Group

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Gristle Candy to Play the Maple Leaf July 26

Gristle Candy returns with a show at the Maple Leaf on Saturday, July 26, at 10:30 p.m.

John Papa Gros, piano, Golden Richard III

Photo by Golden Richard III

Three months after their first ever concert at d.b.a, John Gros and company will fill the legendary Oak Street venue with their eclectic sounds and New Orleans tunes.

Expect a good deal of rock beats and tight grooves as the band will perform original tunes from Gros, Jake Eckert and Alex McMurray’s repertories.

Started out during one of Gros’ many jam sessions and named by McMurray, the band mixes each musician’s diverse talents and songwriting abilities.

While the concert will be a great opportunity to see the musicians join in this unique configuration, it will also be Casandra Faulconer’s absolute last gig before she embarks on her career in the circus.

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Ticket Giveaway: Two Pairs of Tickets to See Wynton Marsalis at the Saenger July 27

We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to see Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Saenger Theater on Sunday, July 27.

The concert benefits Tipitina’s Foundation, and is presented in partnership with the soon-to-reopen Orpheum Theatre and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Wynton Marsalis vs. Miles Davis.

Tickets range in price from $40 to $75 and are available online at, or by calling 800-745-3000

Fill out the form below for your chance to win!

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New Orleans Concert Picks of the Week: July 24 – July 30, 2014

Hungry for live music… Look no further! Here’s OffBeat’s look at New Orleans’ top concerts for the week of July 24 – July 30, 2014 featuring: Charlie Dennard, Mike Dillon Band, Gristle Candy,  James Singleton Quartet, Panorama Jazz Band, Treme Brass Band, Steely Dan, and more!

Full ScheduleLouisiana Music on TourAdd a New Listing


July 24July 25July 26July 27July 28July 29July 30



  • Maple Leaf: the Trio feat. Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter Jr. and guest (FK) 10:30p
  • Preservation Hall: Preservation Hall All-Stars feat. Lucien Barbarin (TJ) 8p
  • Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Brian Jack (ZY) 8:30p
  • Snug Harbor: Charlie Dennard CD-release party (MJ) 8 & 10p



  • d.b.a.: Linnzi Zaorski (JV) 6p, Mike Dillon Band, Dirtfoot (FK) 10p
  • Maple Leaf: Boukou Groove (FK) 10:30p
  • Three Muses: Matt Johnson Trio (JV) 6p, Leslie Martin Trio (JV) 9p
  • Tipitina’s: Foundation Free Fridays feat. Eddie Roberts, Nigel Hall, Ron Johnson, Eric Bloom and Jermal Watson, Khris Royal and Dark Matter (FK) 10p



  • Carrollton Station: John Mooney (BL) 10p
  • d.b.a.: Cyril Neville and Swamp Funk (FK) 11p
  • Maison: Smoking Time Jazz Club (JV) 7p, the Essentials, Street Legends (SO) 10p
  • Maple Leaf: Gristle Candy feat. John Gros, Jake Eckert, Russ Broussard and Casandra Faulconer  (FK) 10:30p
  • Rock ‘n’ Bowl: Bonerama (FK) 9:30p
  • Snug Harbor: Omar Sosa’s Quarteto Afro Cubano (MJ) 8 & 10p
  • UNO Lakefront Arena: Steely Dan (CR) 8p

Steely Dan at the Lakefront Arena

YouTube Preview Image



  • d.b.a.: Palmetto Bugs Stompers (SI) 6p
  • Howlin’ Wolf (the Den): Hot 8 Brass Band (BB) 10p
  • Kajun’s Pub: Guitar Lightnin’ Lee and his Thunder Band (BL) 5p
  • Snug Harbor: James Singleton Quartet (MJ) 8 & 10p
  • Three Muses: Alex Owen and Steve Pistorius (JV) 11:30a, Raphael Bas and Norbert Slama (JV) 5:30p, Linnzi Zaorski (JV) 8p



  • Gasa Gasa: Panorama Jazz Band (JV) 8p
  • Snug Harbor: Charmaine Neville Band (MJ) 8 & 10p
  • Three Muses: Joe Cabral (JV) 7p



  • d.b.a.: Treme Brass Band (BB) 9p
  • Dragon’s Den: Punk Rock Night (PK) 10p
  • Ellis Marsalis Center for Music: Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs (VR) 6:30p
  • Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse: Jason Marsalis (JV) 8p
  • Snug Harbor: Tom Saunders and the Tomcats (MJ) 8 & 10p



  • d.b.a.: Alex McMurray (SS) 7p, Walter “Wolfman” Washington and the Roadmasters (BL) 10p
  • Little Gem Saloon: Joshua Paxton (JV) 5p, Tom Leggett (JV) 8p
  • Snug Harbor: Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra (MJ) 8 & 10p
  • Three Muses: New Orleans Nightingales with Alexandra Scott (JV) 7p

Buffa’s Gets the dB Blues

Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant has come down with a case of the “dB Blues” over the pending lawsuit brought against the bar by neighbor Sidney Torres IV.

dB Blues, Ruby Ross, OffBeat Magazine

In a new song written and recorded by regular Buffa’s performer Ruby Ross called “dB Blues,” Ross laments the ruckus caused by Torres’ lawsuit, which is seeking to revoke the bar’s mayoralty permit:

“I know that the city has limits
Which they tried to enforce out on Bourbon and can’t
But I guess that we pissed off the neighbors
And we never knew, we never knew”

Ross goes on to list some of her fellow Buffa’s regulars that she enjoys performing with before expressing her resolve to fight the lawsuit any way she can:

“But I won’t bite my tongue
And lay down my guitar
And give up on music
Here in the back bar
I’ll do what I can
To take up the cause
And if you’ll fight with me
Let’s hear some applause”

As for Torres himself, Ross would like him to return to his new home, or maybe somewhere farther away with hotter than average temperatures:

“So we’ll all go to court
And we’ll wish the bar well
And the neighbor in question
Can go straight to…. um, the Bahamas
And who cares if he’s rich
He won’t shut our doors
‘Cause we’ve got proof of music
From 1984”

Buffa’s is handing out free t-shirts to musicians who sign up to attend the Civil Court hearing on the issue on July 31, and non-musician patrons who want to buy a shirt to wear to the hearing can purchase one at a discount.

Check out the video for “dB Blues” below.

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Jamal Batiste Drums His Way Into James Brown Biopic “Get on Up”

Local drummer Jamal Batiste is set to make waves on the big screen as the legendary James Brown’s drummer John “Jabo” Starks in the James Brown biopic Get on Up.

The long awaited screen adaptation of the Godfather of Soul’s life story will premier on August 1, and Batiste is ready for his close up.

John Jabo Starks and Jamal Batiste, Get on Up, OffBeat Magazine

John "Jabo" Starks and Jamal Batiste.

As a member of the musical Batiste family, which has far too many members spread throughout the New Orleans music community to count, Jamal Batiste was already keeping himself busy with his Unorthodox Drummer and Honorable South projects when he attended an open casting call at the Old U.S. Mint.

“My father got word about the auditions, and he really just passed the word on to me,” Batiste said. “I was kind of like thinking nothing of it, and I just went there kind of like to just see what would happen.”

Batiste’s interest was piqued when he was called back a few weeks later for a second audition, this time in Natchez, Mississippi, where he was asked to play a James Brown song on the drums.

“Then I got another call to play again, and this time it was to play with the other musicians that were called back as well,” Batiste said. “They wanted us to play as a full unit – horns, bass, guitar, piano – everything. We basically just jammed out.”

After that went well, Batiste started getting excited. Soon after the call back jam session, he was asked to attend a rehearsal, and things started clicking into place.

“It just so happens that the first rehearsal that I went to, the main guy that is playing James Brown, Chadwick Boseman, he was there, so that pretty much made it official,” Batiste said.

He was informed that he would be portraying Jabo Starks during several key musical performances in the movie.

“I was very blessed to actually meet him [Starks] up close in person, pretty much after the whole shoot had taken place,” Batiste said. “His family knows my mother’s family in Mobile, Alabama, very well, so we were already connected without even knowing.”

Batiste spent two months in Natchez and Jackson, during which he said the entire crew worked long hours and practiced almost non-stop.

Not that there weren’t any perks to being in the movie.

“The last scene that we were working on, Mick Jagger was actually in the building,” Batiste said. “Once they said it was a wrap, he came through and shook hands with everybody.”

The production company has kept all pictures that feature the actors in costume locked down so far, including the pictures with Jagger, but Batiste said it’s bound to surface online sooner or later.

Even though his part didn’t include any lines of dialogue, Batiste called playing Jabo Starks a once in a lifetime honor that he wouldn’t trade for anything.

“The songs that everybody knows, like ‘Get on Up,’ ‘Sex Machine,’ and all of that, Jabo was responsible for those beats,” Batiste said. “And then of course when you think about hip hop and these James Brown drum samples that we hear, a lot of that stuff is Jabo being sampled. As a music producer, I want to say I have even sampled one of his songs.”

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Omar Sosa Brings the Caribbean to New Orleans on July 26

Pianist Omar Sosa’s music combines the best aspects of jazz and Cuban music. Born in Camaguey, Sosa trained in classical music and percussion at the same time his dad was listening to jazz.

“My dad listened to African-American music every Sunday. He’s sit on the couch and have his little drink and listen to Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson,” laughs Sosa over the phone from the Bay Area, “I’d say, ‘what is this?’ and he’d say, ‘This is heaven.’”
Omar Sosa

Sosa was particularly impressed with the improvisation.

“My dad told me ‘this comes from the bottom of the heart,” reminisces Sosa, “I said, ‘Well, the heart has to be very big to have all this information.’”

Jazz was looked down upon in 1970s Cuba, and to Sosa, that was part of the appeal.

“I had the desire to have something that was forbidden,” he said.

Since leaving Cuba, Sosa has studied the Afro-Cuban tradition here, in Europe, and in Africa. He has added it to his training and jazz music to make a sound that is unique to his band.

Sosa’s music combines the precision of his classical training with the Afro-Cuban rhythms and the thrill of making music on the spot with top-notch, familiar musicians.

He points out, “The drummer and saxophone are from my home town. The bassist is from Africa. So now I’ve got 75% of a Cuban band. We have three Cubans from the same village.”

Sosa’s music also has a lightness that music of great spirituality possesses. As he says, “We combine all this tradition and all the music and all the knowledge we have accumulated throughout our life into today, and we translate that into music.”

It is surprising that for a man with deep knowledge and appreciation of jazz, it’s roots, and its debt to the African Diaspora, Sosa has never been to New Orleans.

“New Orleans is the closest city in the U.S. To the Caribbean,” he said. ”We are brothers. My dad had said to me, ‘You need to look for the place where this music comes from.’ The time has come for me to go. I think this is my moment for New Orleans. I’m looking forward to being there and going to Congo Square. I am like a boy waiting for his Christmas gifts, and you don’t know what your family is going to give. My heart is completely open to receive whatever it is to get.”

Omar Sosa Quarteto AfroCubano
Saturday, July 26
Snug Harbor
Shows at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.
YouTube Preview Image
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Music Man Jim Russell Dies

Jim Russell, whose eponymous record store on lower Magazine Street attracted–and still attracts–generations of music lovers, passed away on Sunday July 20. He had suffered a massive stroke on July 5, and had been in hospice, said his daughter-in-law Denise. Mr. Russell was 94.

Jim Russell Records, Magazine Street, New Orleans

Jim Russell Records (Photo by Jerald White)

Russell, an incredibly intelligent and canny businessman whose life was immersed in music, and in radio, was awarded OffBeat’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Music Business in 2004.  Bunny Matthews, OffBeat‘s editor at the time, and one of Russell’s admirers, wrote this paean to his “surrogate father.”

At this writing, funeral arrangements are pending. “He said he didn’t want to be buried or cremated,” said Denise Russell. “My husband [Jim Russell, Jr.] said to him, ‘So, daddy: what do you want us to do, stuff you and put you in the store?’”

Knowing Jim Russell’s love of the spotlight, he might very well have wanted that very thing.

A trip around Jim Russell Records…


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The Maple Leaf Goes Smoke-Free All Week Long

The Maple Leaf is going smoke-free the entire week as part of the “Healthier Air for All” campaign. Aimed at promoting smoke-free venues throughout the city, the campaign started Monday with a kick-off party at The Rusty Nail.Healthier Air for All, Smoke Free Week

The legendary Oak Street music venue will host smoke-free shows every day this week, as well as the closing event of the campaign on Friday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m.

One of the city’s longest running music clubs, the Maple Leaf is working to make the transition into becoming a smoke-free venue, a feat over 100 clubs in New Orleans already achieved.

While specific bars and clubs have smoke-free shows and happy hours scheduled this week, the campaign also includes other events, such as a Town Hall meeting at Carrollton Station on Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Further information on the campaign can be found here.

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Sidney Torres vs Buffa’s Hearing Rescheduled for July 31

The Civil Court hearing concerning Sidney Torres IV’s lawsuit against Buffa’s Bar and Restaurant has been delayed once again.

Jerry Jumonville, Buffa's Bar and Restaurant, New Orleans

Jerry Jumonville outside of Buffa's.

The hearing was originally scheduled for July 8 before it was moved to July 22, and now it has been bumped back once again until next Thursday, July 31, as requested by Torres’ new attorney, Bernard Charbonnet. The hearing is set up to start at 9:00 a.m.

The lawsuit, originally filed by 1011 Esplanade Avenue, Inc., is aimed at removing Buffa’s Mayoralty Permit, which authorizes live music performances in Orleans Parish’s bars and restaurants.

Having held concerts on a regular basis for the last 30 years, Buffa’s declared in one recent press release that management of the bar has taken “extraordinary measures to reduce the sound coming out [of their back room] – at considerable expense.”

Torres bought the property next door in 1999 when Buffa’s was already a live music venue.

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