Karl Denson. Photo by Robbie Jeffers

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Emulates Cyril Neville (Video Premiere)

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has become a staple in New Orleans every Jazz Fest season. Singer, saxophonist and frontman Karl Denson has performed with his band at Tipitina’s for 20 years, merging funk, soul, rock, jazz, blues and more. In March, KDTU released Gnomes & Badgers, which features a cover of a quintessential New Orleans musical icon, Cyril Neville.

“I found Cyril Neville’s ‘Gossip’ a few years ago looking for old school funk on YouTube and it just fit,” Denson tells OffBeat.com. “The Meters are the backing band so it immediately became something to hold onto and emulate. The version we worked up so well that we decided to record it as the sole cover on our new album.”

Today (April 19), Denson premieres a 360-degree, multi-camera live video of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe performing “Gossip.”

On Friday, April 26, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will make its third appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which this year kicks off April 25 and is the 50th anniversary edition. “It’s really exciting. We’re just going to try to keep our cool and pump out some worthy funk,” says Denson.

Later that night, he’ll return to Tip’s for the band’s signature late-night Jazz Fest show. Fans should be forewarned: it’s going to be a party. “We’re going to bring the funk for this one. Some of my favorite all time memories will always be the several years when we played way past daybreak. The crowd emerged from the club into full blown daylight! Classic!” KDTU will be joined by Naughty Professor.

As if that wasn’t enough gigging for the globally touring band, KDTU will again perform in New Orleans on Friday, May 3 for a very special event. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Presents R.E.S.P.E.K.T. – A Special Tribute to The Queen of Soul takes place at the Orpheum Theater, as part of Winter Circle Production’s Fest After Dark programming. Paying tribute to such an enduring voice has the band pulling out even more stops than usual, says Denson.

“For our Tribute to the Queen of Soul night, we have a great lineup of singers and an amazing set list from Aretha’s songbook, which we’ll give a nice KDTU twist. It’s such an honor to be able to pay our respects and celebrate the music of such an important and influential artist. Along with our set, Durand Jones & the Indications and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket will kick things off!”

For more information on Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, click here. Fans of KDTU may also appreciate Marco Benevento’s live sets. He has two this Jazz Fest season; April 26 at Blue Nile and April 27 at Tipitina’s.