Your 2019 New Orleans Music Gift Guide

Each year at this time, my show features new releases for those fine listeners who still believe giving music is a divine way to celebrate the holidays. Here is the 2019 edition. The descriptions of these 2019 new releases from New Orleans are in the order you’ll hear them on the show. Song titles are in italics.

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers Bon Ton – His accordion will make you dance; it can make you cry. His latest gets you right into the heart of the Acadiana scene with etouffee and a night out at the Zydeco. Give Me What I Want

Leyla McCalla The Capitalist -Her third release, proficient in Haitian creole, French, banjo, guitar and cello, she continues the city’s tradition of creatively blending and bending musical genres. Oh My Love

Spider Murphy’s Fatback VipersSmells Like Salvation – It’s lazy to describe him as Tom Waits with a banjo. Except the description fits. He’s good with his instrument yet smart enough to allow his band mates on trombone, piano, tuba and saxophone to shine. Slowly But Surely

Bon Bon VivantLive at the Circus – Deep lyrics and playful delivery makes this band a delight to catch live or on record. The band graced KAOS studios this summer and did this five-song set for us. You won’t be disappointed. The Bones

Bamboula 2000Cuba to Congo Square – This release continues the band’s 25-year tradition of moving bodies with rhythm from djembe, congas, talking drums, bata, atumpan, shekere, dun dun, and fontonfrom. Cuba to Congo Square

Tiffany Pollack and Eric JohansonBlues In My Blood – Powerful vocals combined with soaring, smoth guitar, throw in excellent backing and a family connection (they’re cousins) and you’ve got a CD worthy of keeping on repeat. No Expectations

Bobby RushSitting on Top of the Blues – Eighty-six years old with 26 studio albums and a recent Grammy under his belt and with this latest one nominated for another, Bobby Rush is still randy as hell. His songs are about love, crazy love (Sweet Lizzy), sexy love (Slow Motion), cute love (Pooky Poo). And the one I play, love denied – Get Out of Here (Dog Named Bo)

Ecirb Muller’s Twisted DixieWhat Had Happened Was. . . – Dr. Brice Miller, of Mahogany Brass Band fame, has created a time machine and a mythical savant to transport the hipness of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans’ early jazz days into the funkified vibe of today. – Make Me Wanna Holler

Alexey Marti Mundo – This Havana-born and New Orleans-based percussionist showcases his 15 original songs which include samba, bossa nova, ballad, and salsa — demonstrating new depths to this highly respected and in-demand musician. Salt and Pepper

Carlo DittaHungry for Love – The creative force behind Orleans Records, Ditta is keeping New Orleans traditions alive. First, by ensuring we can continue to listen to records by Little Freddie King and the Pin Stripe Brass Band and by creating music that embodies the spirit of legends like Eddie Bo and Coco Robicheaux. Pass the Hatchet.

Davell Crawford Dear Fats I Love You -It’s just Crawford’s piano (as well as his heart) performing classic Fats Domino tunes — recorded shortly after Domino’s death. Given the passing of Dave Bartholomew this year – Domino’s partner in many of these tunes — its timely to revisit these simple yet elegant songs.

Kid Eggplant And the MelataunsBig Trouble in Little Chalmette – Can you say “Party Record!” Listen to your vegetables, they’re good for you. The perfect music gift for the R&B lover looking for fresh and fun. Get High

Smoking Time Jazz Club Contrapuntal Stomp The 10th release by this very active traditional jazz band of highly competent young musicians flows sweetly through 16 tracks of swinging tunes. The Eel

Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – Released by Smithsonian Folkways in honor of the festival’s 50th year, this five CD set offers a historic sampling of the diverse music styles that have graced the many Jazz Fest stages over the years – focusing on the local artists who have made his festival so exceptional. – Earl King’s Trick Bag

To Be Continued Brass Band TBC II – No label. No Website. No liner notes or anything but a logo on their CD. But don’t let that keep you from enjoying this original New Orleans brass band. TBC II

Smoky GreenwellBlues and the Power of Peace – This is the perfect apology gift for going ballistic on your Trump-voting relative at Thanksgiving. The latest record by a veteran New Orleans blues harmonica player strikes enough of a conciliatory note without surrendering a single political point. I’m a Lover (Not a Fighter)

Galactic Already Already – With nothing to prove, Galactic continues to do the unexpected. This time with eight tightly constructed songs featuring New Orleans vocalists – some familiar (Erica Falls, David Shaw) and some lesser known (Ms. Charm Taylor, Princess Shaw and Boyfriend) Dance at My Funeral

Norbert Susemihl et alThe New Orleans Dance Hall Quartet – Recorded in the New Orleans Musician’s Union Hall during the city’s Tricentennial year, this record captures and honors music of depression era and post WWII New Orleans dance halls. I’m Alone Because of You

Benny Turner and Cash McCall – Recorded in New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago, this is a reunion of two veteran Chicago bluesman (Benny has been based in New Orleans since the 80’s) and offers talented backing and engaging vocals. Spoonful

BoneramaBonerama Plays Zeppelin – A reverent yet original adaptation of Led Zeppelin’s greats — with trombones as the lead voice and Matt Perrine’s magical sousaphone handling the bass line. Hey Hey What Can I Do

Herlin Riley – Perpetual Optimism – A percussionist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra,  Riley has assembled a rhythmically engaging mainstream jazz album with five originals and an awesome cover of “Wang Dang Doodle.” Wings and Roots.

Byron Asher Byron Asher’s Skrontch Music –  A five-part suite created during an artist-in-residence at Tulane, it includes excerpts of interviews of early jazz musicians on a bed of original music. We will likely hear more from this young clarinetist/composer in the future. (I hope) Elegy.

Elizabeth Joan KellyFarewell, Doomed Planet! Her second release using found sounds and MIDI is about the apocalypse we’re headed toward–a musical composition that Greta Thunberg might embrace – ethereal, haunting and mesmerizing. Harm

Jonathon Bauer Walk Don’t Run – Another New Orleans jazz emigre (Canada) drawn like a moth to the city learn and practice his passion. He paid his dues with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and his debut release manages to capture both a modern feel and New Orleans flair. Closer

Soul Rebels Poetry in Motion – Just got it in the studio on the day of the show. On quick listen, its clear the Rebels are taking the brass band sound forward and with lots of help from New Orleans talent such as Kermit Ruffins, Mannie Fresh, Dee-1, Trombone Shorty, Branford Marsalis, Cheeky Blakk, Tarriona “Tank” Ball and much more. Down for my City.

Doug Duffey and Badd Play the Blues – This is a solid blues album by a Louisiana Music Hall of Famer with decades of New Orleans live performances under his belt. He’s Monroe-based now but creating great music with a talented team. Drink it On Down

Bryan LeeSanctuary – The perfect gift for your Christian blues fan – This veteran guitarist, who has made New Orleans his home, cleared an item off his bucket list with this blues -gospel record. Fight for the Light

Lakou MisikHaitiaNola – New Orleans and Haiti histories intertwine dating back to the historic slave revolt on the island in 1791. This year, the revolution involves this Haitian ensemble mixing it up with the likes of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Trombone Shorty, Cyril Neville, Leyla McCalla (of Haitian heritage) , the Soul Rebels and more. (Sorry didn’t have a chance to play a song from this album on my show)

You can order this music online from a local record store in New Orleans – the Louisiana Music Factory or follow the links provided to buy directly from the artist. Thank you to the artists and labels such as Basin Street that send their music to KAOS. And thank you for tuning in to the show and subscribing to this blog.

Your 2015 New Orleans Music Buying Guide – Part 1

Here’s Part One of my survey of New Orleans (and nearby) releases for 2015 worthy of your attention. I’ve played this music on Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa and I’ll play them a lot more through the rest of this month. So many good releases, there will be a part two very soon.  The first four albums below were featured heavily in my November 30 show and many of the albums following those four were featured in this show.

The New Orleans Jazz Vipers – An institution on Frenchmen Street that gained fame through the HBO series Treme, the Vipers have locked in their reputation with their fifth release, Going, Going Gone. The six-member band will take you back to the day when swing bands were laying the foundation for R&B.

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Doyle Cooper fronts the Red Hot Brass Band

Red Hot Brass Band – Fire-bearded Doyle Cooper keeps the spirit alive. Don’t let his youth fool you. Doyle grew up in the tradition and has the chops to prove it. His band’s inaugural release Hot Off the Presses hits the usual touchstones like Tiger Rag, West End Blues, Bourbon Street Parade and Go To the Mardi Gras. But there’s nothing stale about their execution.

Shotgun Jazz Band – I dare you to try to sit still while listening to Yearning. They bill themselves as playing traditional New Orleans jazz in the spirit of the Great Revivalists.  It’s fresh, uncluttered and expertly delivered. It came out late enough last year that I’m including it in this 2015 review.

Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses –  I totally missed this 2014 release  until I bought The Lookback Transmission from Aurora during a break at the Maison last spring.  Uber-talented Nealand demonstrates her ability to put a fresh, entertaining spin on traditional jazz and swing. Having sousaphone savant Matt Perrine backing her doesn’t hurt either. Everyone of the 16 tracks are a delight.

 

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Peter Novelli hits his stride with St. Amant Sessions

Peter Novelli – His third release, St. Amant Sessions, reminds me how engaging blues can be, particularly in the hands of a songwriter and performer who knows how to shake it up with zydeco, swamp, slide and funk. From Shreveport Stomp to I-10 Boogie to his anecdotal Drinkin’ and Driving, Novelli has solidified his space on the KAOS blues shelf.

Little Freddie King – His distinctive delta/country blues makes him easy to love. His persistence in returning to the city after Katrina to live, perform and record is another testament of why I love New Orleans. His latest Messin’ Around tha Livin’ Room (a reference to the Algiers studio he recorded in) delivers beyond expectation.

Papa Mali – Also recorded at the The Living Room, Music is Love mixes covers of Joni Mitchell, Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly and the title track by David Crosby with a few originals by this former reggae rocker, turned funk, blues, swamp guru.

Josh Garrett – Having returned to Louisiana after a brief flirtation with Nashville, Garrett deploys just the right mix of delta blues, soul, swing  and swamp in Honey For My Queen. Baton Rouge legend James Johnson who played with Slim Harpo joins in while fiddler Waylon Thibodeux adds one more reminder where this music is coming from.

deslondes
Unapologetically New Orleans country, The Deslondes.

The Deslondes – This young band defies New Orleans music stereotype while creating country-infused songs rooted in the city’s soul. The self-titled debut album presents an array of facets with all five band members contributing songs and taking turns on singing. Like all memorable CDs, this one grows on me the more I push “play.”

Lynn Drury –  Another 2014 release that I missed last year but deserves mention. I fell in love with Lynn when I first caught the video of her CD title track “Come to My House video.  This collection is a powerful observation of love with wonderful, occasionally sultry vocals and excellent guitar support by Alex McMurray.

The Radiators –  The band that wouldn’t die. Allegedly retired, the Radz still occasionally perform for those lucky enough to catch them.  For the rest of us, there is the Wild and Free releases. Part II includes vintage performances from the Dream Palace, Tipitina’s and Knight Studios. Get your fishhead on.

the rads
A true holiday gift – Another release from the Radiators.

Clayton Doley – Funky didgeridoo!  What else needs to be said?  A lot if we’re talking about Bayou Billabong. Doley’s an Aussie but he recorded part of this CD at the Music Shed in New Orleans with the backing of the Absolute  Monster Gentlemen (as in Jon Cleary and . . .) and the Treme Funktet.

Jon Cleary –Speaking of Cleary, his releases are always a delight. Sadly, for GoGo Juice, he switched from Basin Street Records, which has always done a great job of sharing music with KAOS, to a new label which has failed in that chore. Still, the cuts I’ve heard on line show he continues to be a master of blending soul, funk and R&B.

Catch my show on Mondays or online.  And subscribe to the blog to be sure to catch Part 2 of this 2015 retrospective.