New Orleans Suspects to cut live album this weekend at The Maple Leaf

The New Orleans Suspects will be recording a live album Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28 and 29th, at The Maple Leaf. The local supergroup features Neville Brothers drummer “Mean” Willie Green, Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan, Dirty Dozen guitarist Jake Eckert, keyboardist/vocalist CR Gruver and saxophonist Jeff Watkins, who spent 12 years leading James Brown’s touring band.

New Orleans Suspects' Reggie Scanlan at Jazz Fest 2012. Photo by Kim Welsh.

In the October issue of OffBeat, Brett Milano calls the first Suspects album “the best kind of throwback… The Suspects are likely to be the last notable new band whose history goes back a certain distance, including members who’ve played with the likes of Professor Longhair and Earl King.”

The band built a following playing material from its parent groups and some inspired covers, but has worked a number of strong original songs into its performances, including the standout Gruver composition “36 Cars” and the show-stopping Mardi Gras groove, “Willie’s Second Line.” The band’s live sets have been drawing great response from fans, making this an opportune time to cut a live album in the intimate confines of the Maple Leaf.

“It’s been almost like a miracle the way we’ve progressed,” said Scanlan. “The music has just been moving ahead by leaps and bounds as we’ve grown into our identity as a group.”