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Julian Addison Lays Down the Beat on Frenchmen Street

Up-and-coming drummer Julian Addison is a percussive force to be reckoned with.

The young Ohio transplant, currently playing with the fabled Dirty Dozen Brass Band, boasts an impeccable technical proficiency that can traverse many genres, but he has a style unto himself. The streams of rhythm he pours out are compelling, varied, and intricately layered enough to almost compute like melody.

Julian Addison on Frenchmen Street

Julian Addison in action on Frenchmen Street.

Addison certainly uses his equipment in unorthodox ways–tapping on oft-neglected surfaces and wielding his sticks with idiosyncratic little motions–but it’s hard to catch because everything he does looks so effortless.

His arms sweep around lazily, he smiles serenely, he twirls his sticks in the air and catches them easily like a flair bartender, and all the while he’s somehow swirling up a syncopated thunderstorm.

The drummer cites a slew of jazz influences: Elvin Jones, Buddy Rich, Tony Williams, and former Chick Corea drummer Dave Weckl, to name just a few, but he says he’ll listen to any genre.

He draws inspiration from hip hop, funk, gospel, and everything in between. Mostly, though, he is focused on developing his own sound.

Addison began drumming as a toddler.

“I came out of the womb drumming,” he says with a laugh. “Pots and pans, steps, anything with a bit of a tone.”

He received his first proper drum kit at age four. After honing his skills throughout childhood, playing for his church and wherever else he could, he took his talent on the road and gigged around Ohio.

Soon, he and four friends, calling themselves Street Gumbo, began driving down for weekends to play in New Orleans.

After several lucrative trips, they decided to relocate for good in 2008.

In terms of whether he sees himself staying in New Orleans permanently, Addison isn’t sure at the moment.

“I rode the wave in, I don’t know if I’m gonna ride it back out again,” he said. “We’ll have to see.”

He says he could envision eventually going back to Ohio for a bit, and then heading to either California or Atlanta. At the moment, though, he is enthusiastic about his gig with the Dirty Dozen and has no plans to leave the city.

Addison  has a regular gig every Sunday night at the Spotted Cat with Pat Casey and the New Sound, a stellar group of young musicians who deliver a mean fusion jazz styles both old and new swimming in funk, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban grooves.

Besides Addison, the core group consists of Pat Casey on bass, Khris Royal on horns, Danny Abel on guitar, and Jason Butler on keyboard.

He also has a trad gig at the Cat on Monday nights with the formidable Dominick Grillo and the Frenchmen Street All-Stars. This crew comprises Grillo on tenor sax, Ashlin Parker on trumpet, Nathan Lambertson on bass, and Butler again on keys.

A recent New Sound set included an energetic Parker, sounding out long, clean trumpet wails with flair and his distinctive playing stance, like a sentinel on some medieval parapet.

As with many local jazz bands, membership is fluid. Both groups bring in regular guest talent from the slew of Frenchmen Street musicians and constantly loan members back and forth.

“This city’s all one big band, pretty much,” Addison said.

Any band with such talented and versatile musicians will never lack an audience.

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New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra to Play Lionel Ferbos Memorial Concert

A free concert in honor of late trumpeter Lionel Ferbos will take place on Sunday, November 9, from 5-6 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Lionel Ferbos, Golden G. Richard, III, OffBeat Magazine, August 2014

Photo: Golden G. Richard, III

The concert will be presented by the New Orleans Jazz Celebration and the Holt-Burnett Memorial Fund (a part of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and Assistance Foundation Gig Fund), organizations committed to supporting local musicians and subsidizing live jazz performances.

It will feature Ferbos’ beloved New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, with whom he first performed in 1970.

Presently, the group consists of bandleader Lars Edegran on piano, Richard Perles on violin, Jamil Sharif on trumpet and vocals, James Evans on clarinet, Rick Trolsen on trombone, Jesse Boyd on string bass, and Ernie Elly on drums.

Along with vocalist Sharon Nabonne, they will perform a collection of Ferbos’ favorite jazz classics.

The MCs for the evening will be Al Kennedy, author and historian at the University of New Orleans, and John Pult, host of Frenchmen Street’s Nickel-A-Dance concert series and writing professor at Dillard University.

Until his recent passing on July 19, 2014 at the age of 103, Ferbos was the city’s oldest performing jazz musician. Over the course of his career, he made numerous recordings with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and was a long-time fixture leading the band at the Palm Court Jazz Café every Saturday night.

For more information on the memorial concert, contact Stacey Morigeau, New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation Musical Resource Director, at (504) 289-8040.

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CAC to Host R. Buckminster Fuller Documentary

On Friday, November 7, the Contemporary Arts Center will feature a one-night only performance of The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a live documentary created and narrated by Academy Award-nominated Sam Green and accompanied live by acclaimed indie rock band Yo La Tengo.

The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, CAC New OrleansThe documentary will showcase the life of R. Buckminster Fuller, a modern-day Renaissance man who described himself as “an engineer, inventor, mathematician, architect, cartographer, philosopher, poet, cosmogonist, comprehensive designer, and choreographer.”

The pioneering thinker lived from 1895 to 1983. He was renowned for his tumultuous personal life as well as his comprehensive perspective on the world’s problems.

Sam Green is a documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco and New York. His documentary The Weather Underground was nominated for an Academy Award and included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.

Yo La Tengo is an indie rock band from Hoboken, New Jersey. Since 1992, the lineup has consisted of Ira Kaplan on guitars, piano, and vocals, Georgia Hubley on drums, piano, and vocals, and James McNew on bass, and vocals.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the CAC, located at 900 Camp Street.

Advance tickets cost $35 for general admission and $25 for CAC members. Day-of-show tickets cost $40 and $30 respectively. Seating is limited.

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ReFresh Project Celebrates Winning Green Garden Contest

On Saturday, October 25, the ReFresh Project will host a Preview Party and Community Farm Ribbon Cutting, an event in celebration of the project’s first place win in the first-ever national Garnier Green Garden Contest.

ReFresh Project Community FarmA second line parade will kick off the event at noon, followed by the ribbon cutting of the farm and a full day of family activities, music, demonstrations and food from various community partners, continuing until 5pm.

The contest was put on by a partnership between Garnier, a L’Oréal beauty products brand, and TerraCycle, a Progressive Waste Solutions Company and world leader in the collection and repurposing of hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste.

The ReFresh Project was one of five finalists and was chosen as the winner after a nationwide public voting period.

ReFresh’s partners include Whole Foods Market, Liberty’s Kitchen, Tulane University’s Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine, Broad Community Connections, FirstLine Schools and Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, Boys Town, Crescent City Community Land Trust, and SPROUT NOLA.

“So many people work tirelessly to make the ReFresh Community Farm an excellent resource to the Broad Street community,” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. “TerraCycle and Garnier are thrilled to have a hand in bringing this farm to life.”

The grand prize garden will include raised beds, picnic tables and trash receptacles made from recycled beauty packaging collected through Garnier and TerraCycle’s recycling program, all of which will be unveiled at the ribbon cutting.

All New Orleans residents are welcomed to join Saturday’s festivities, located at the community farm at the intersection of North Broad St. and Bienville Ave.

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Christian Scott Live at Snug Harbor October 25

On October 25, the Christian Scott Quintet will be performing live at Snug Harbor.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Photo by Delphine Diallo.

Christian aTunde Adjuah. Photo by Delphine Diallo.

This is one of the very rare local gigs that Christian aTunde Adjuah (his more recent title) has put on since his homecoming earlier this year.

Despite the fact that he was born and raised in New Orleans, we seldom get the benefits of experiencing his live performances.

The self expression and complex compositional matter that can be found throughout his over 10 year discography have allowed him to be appreciated by fans across the globe, with an overwhelming acceptance in Asia and the UK specifically.

Just as with any local, there are tons of potential reasons for Mr. Scott’s return to the south, including his role as the Spy Boy of Congo Nation, a local Indian gang headed by none other than his Uncle and long time Jazz veteran Donald Harrison, Jr.

Whatever the case may be, we are proud to have him back and look forward to witnessing many more of his unforgettable performances.

There will be two sets, one at 8 p.m., and the second at 10 p.m., and tickets are $30 through Snug Harbor.

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Photos: 11th Annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival

The 11th annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival brought some of the biggest and best Louisiana musicians to Houma to help shine a light on Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands from October 10-12, 2014.

Spearheaded by Tab Benoit, the festival included performances by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Sansone, Lil Buck Sinegal, Guitar Slim, Jr., and many more.

Check out these photos from the festival by accomplished phtographer Jef Jaisun.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Voice of the Wetlands Festival

All photos by Jef Jaisun. Click here to view the gallery on Flickr.

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Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways Premieres on HBO

The Foo Fighters passed through New Orleans as part of their Sonic Highways project in May, and we’re set to get a look at the finished product as the first episode of the documentary series premieres on HBO.

Foo Fighters, Preservation Hall, OffBeat Magazine

Photo by Julia Pretus

The Foo Fighters managed to play a secret show at Preservation Hall, which Jonathan Pretus profiled for OffBeat in the aptly titled post “The Foo Fighters Rock Preservation Hall.”

In addition to New Orleans, the band stopped in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., recording at least one song at each stop.

The first single from the Sonic Highways album, set to be released in November, is a track called “Something From Nothing,” which was recorded in Chicago.

Check out the video for the album’s debut single here:

And check out the trailer for the Sonic Highways series, which starts off with a healthy dose of Preservation Hall, here:

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Prospect.3: Notes for Now Begins October 25

On October 25,  Prospect New Orleans’ “Prospect.3: Notes for Now” will kick off with a ribbon cutting and second-line parade, all set to begin at Washington Square Park.

Prospect.3 Notes for NowP.3 will be an ongoing event, consisting of several shows and art installations at various universities, museums, and art galleries throughout the city.

The festivities will run until January 25.

The event contains a variety of works from over 50 artists from around the globe, at 18 venues around town.

Prospect New Orleans, the international contemporary art biennial, will host a series of events this month to celebrate the grand opening of its third iteration.

A full list of P.3’s scheduled events can be found at their official site.

Below is a list of the participating venues for this year’s celebrations:




















P.3 will operate from October 25, – January 25. Head over to a venue near you for an amazing experience.

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2014 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival Schedule

The 2014 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival will take over Lafayette Square from October 15-17, bringing the best in local food and international blues masters to the heart of New Orleans.

2014 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival Full Music Schedule:

Friday, Oct. 17

5:30 pm to 6:45 pm Little Freddie King
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Ana Popovic

Cedric Burnside at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival 2013, Photo by Elsa Hahne

Photo by Elsa Hahne

Saturday, Oct. 18

St. Charles Ave Stage:
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm King James & the Special Men
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Papa Mali
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm Walter “Wolfman” Washington & the Roadmasters
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Los Lobos

Camp Street Stage:
11:00 am to 12:00 pm Marc Stone
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm Leo “Bud” Welch
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm Selwyn Birchwood Band
5:45 pm to 7:00 pm Joe Louis Walker

Sunday, Oct. 19

St. Charles Ave. Stage
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Brother Tyrone & The Mind Benders
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm Vasti Jackson
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm Denise LaSalle
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm Bobby Rush

Camp Street Stage:
11:00 am to 12:00 pm Luke Winslow King
1:00 pm to 2:15 pm Mia Borders
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm Valerie June
5:45 pm to 7:00 pm Mel Waiters

There will also be an oral history interview series during the festival featuring performers telling stories from their colorful lives in the NORD Theater in Gallier Hall.

Here is the interview schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 18:
11:30 a.m.: Ana Popovic
3 p.m.: Joe Louis Walker
4 p.m.: Leo “Bud” Welch
5 p.m.: Papa Mali

Sunday, Oct. 19:
12 p.m.: Vasti Jackson
2 p.m.: Valerie June
3 p.m.: Denise LaSalle
4 p.m.: Bobby Rush

The event is free and open to the public. Outside food, beverages, and pets are not permitted at the festival.

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Selwyn Birchwood to Make New Orleans Debut at Blues & BBQ Fest

Selwyn Birchwood, the 2013 Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge winner, is set to make his New Orleans debut at the 2014 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival this weekend.

Selwyn Birchwood

Photo by Len Umhoefer

Birchwood, a Tampa, Florida, native, said he’s looking forward to coming to the city for the food and music.

He even has some local favorites he’s eager to check out on their home turf.

“It’s actually my first time even visiting,” Birchwood said. “Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington is one of my favorites. I met him last year. We were playing the same day at King Biscuit Blues Festival, so I was able to catch his set, and he was killer.”

Birchwood, who has been hailed as the next big thing in blues music, has been touring with his current band for the past two years, most recently in support of his latest album Don’t Call No Ambulance.

From the first upbeat notes of the opening track, “Addicted,” it’s clear that Birchwood is on a mission, but what is equally evident is that the young guitar player draws from a deep and varied well of inspiration.

“When I’m writing, I try to pull from as many sources as I can and incorporate as many styles as I can,” he said. “There are so many different kinds of blues music, and a lot of people ignore a lot of them, latch onto one, and decide that if it doesn’t sound like so-and-so, then it’s not blues.”

Birchwood said he’s at the opposite end of that spectrum.

“I think it ends up sounding more interesting when you incorporate more styles and influences,” he said. “It’s a little bit more artistic in that way, rather than kind of recycling a sound that people have heard before over and over again.”

Bringing that varied approach to a city as musically and culturally diverse as New Orleans seems like a perfect fit, and hopefully local audiences won’t have to wait long to see Birchwood live again.

As for him and his hard working band, they’ll be on the road again with right away.

“We’re normally kind of in and out,” he said. “We get to see the festival site and the hotel and that’s about it normally. If we have any spare time, I definitely want to do some sight seeing.”

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