For the first time in five years, Papa Grows Funk will be taking the stage together. John “Papa” Gros, guitarist June Yamagishi, bassist Marc Pero, saxophonist Jason Mingledorff and drummer Jeffery “Jellybean” Alexander are coming together to play a reunion show at Tipitina’s on Monday, May 7.
Papa Grows Funk disbanded in 2013 after it became clear that the band members were going in different directions, citing internal pressures as the cause of their breakup. They took on the Tipitina’s stage to put on what they thought would be their final show together in June 2013. Although they have no plans to continue playing together beyond the upcoming reunion show, their legacy on the local funk scene seems to be set in stone. Last April saw the release of a documentary film on the band– remembered by locals for consistent weekly shows at the Maple Leaf Bar. Do U Want It? chronicles the rise and success of Papa Grows Funk throughout the years and explores what it’s like to be breaking into the music industry in New Orleans. Individually, the band members continue to grow separately as musicians. Mingledorff has taken off touring with St. Paul and the Broken Bones. As for Yamagishi, he still “remains one of the most respected guitarists in the city.”
And of course, there’s frontman Papa Gros, who’s taken his own musical journey on a new spin. After his post-band breakup hiatus, he returned to older roots of his musical influences and picked up the french horn again. In 2016, he released his second solo album River’s on Fire. Crafted as a tribute to Allen Toussaint, the tracks are piano-focused and with more complex arrangements than he got used to playing in Papa Grows Funk. Since Gros’ post-Papa Grows Funk comeback, he’s been moving forward and “focused on himself and his own musical journey.”
Tickets for the reunion show are on sale now for $26, General Admission only. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show commencing at 9.