For the past few years, Progression has been offering local music aficionados a chance to explore exciting projects that wouldn’t necessarily find an audience on Frenchmen Street or at a Jazz Fest after show. Whether they’re showcasing up-and-coming acts or established artists who are looking to try something different, the weekly series’ masterfully curated lineups consistently prove that the city’s music scene is more diverse than the “New Orleans music” label generally implies.
It helps that the barrier to entry is low too. The series takes place every Tuesday night at Gasa Gasa, and admission is always free (though donations are certainly suggested).
“Over the past year Progression has evolved into a really magnificent platform showcasing musicians across all genres,” says co-director Kali Serna. “The deeper my co-director, Cliff Hines, and I dig for new bands to book, the more we’re amazed by the amount of hidden gems this city has to offer.”
Some of those hidden, and not-so-hidden, gems will be at Gasa Gasa this April. Next month’s lineups were revealed earlier this week, and the list includes recognizable names like Helen Gillet, Danny Abel and Noah Young. Like previous months, April’s lineups are tied together by general theme.
“March has been a super exciting month,” Serna explains. “We’ve teamed up with local labels Bubble Bath Records and Breakfast For Dinner Records for showcases, and are bringing fresh, super soulful lineups all through April.”
Freak jazz outfit Loose Willis will kick things off when they headline Progression on April 4. The Miles Hancock-led group will be joined by the Loyola indie rockers Rosalia and neo-soul singer-songwriter McKenna Alicia.
Noah Young Band will follow with a top-billed set on April 11. Led by Naughty Professor bassist Noah Young, the group features guitarist Danny Abel, saxophonist Brad Walker, drummer Walter Lundy and keyboardists Jason Butler and Sam Kuslan (their debut album Start the Reactor dropped in January). Their R&B/jazz sounds will be complemented by the R&B/jazz sounds Noruz and the Willie Green Project, who are both also set to perform.
Cello looping will take center stage on April 18 when avante-garde jazz cellist Helen Gillet brings her show to Gasa Gasa. Spoken word and hip-hop artist Baron Ahmon will be joined by bass, guitar and cello looper The Urban Cellist during his performance, while Monica Spirit McIntyre will sing and play—you guessed it—the cello.
Finally, the rock and R&B stylings of the Aaron Cohen Band will close out the month on April 25. Their set will be preceded by a performance from the Danny Abel Band with saxophonist Khris Royal, drummer Alfred Jordan, bassist Eric Vogel and keyboardist Andriu Yanovski. Yanovski will also play with funk/soul project Shhh to open the night.
“It’s exciting to be booking a music series where attendees never know what they’re getting,” Serna adds. “It could be Math Rock, could be Hip-Hop, could be three new approaches to the cello. But our audiences trust what we’re bringing them.”
Progression Music Series takes at 8pm place every Tuesday night at Gasa Gasa in New Orleans.
Here’s a look at Progression’s April lineup:
Rosalia (FKA Spare Change)
Noah Young Band
Willie Green Project
Baron Ahmon ft. The Urban Cellist
Monica Spirit McIntyre
Aaron Cohen Band
Danny Abel Band