Category Archives: Offbeat Magazine

Content published in Offbeat Magazine, the most prominent magazine focused on the music and culture of New Orleans

Hot 8 Brass Band Performs with Youth Music Program in Paris

As part of their tour in France, the Hot 8 Brass Band joined forces with a local New Orleans-themed brass band and members of a youth music program for a performance at the Festival Villes des Musiques du Monde in Aubervilliers, outside of Paris on Sunday, November 6.

In 2013, the documentary The Whole Gritty City shed some light on the positive effects that youth music programs and brass band culture have had in various communities around New Orleans. With the film traveling internationally, and New Orleans brass band music exploding in popularity abroad in recent years, community leaders have been inspired to replicate the phenomenon at home.

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Wilbert Rawlins, Jr. directs French music students during Hot 8 Brass Band performance in Aubervilliers. Photo by Noé Cugny

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Henry Lipkis Completes Second Line Mural

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Artist Henry Lipkis’ second line mural, located at Saint Claude Avenue and Franklin Avenue,  is now complete after nearly a year of work.

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Henry Lipkis puts finishing touches on the mural. Photo by Noé Cugny.

The massive art piece, titled “Third Line,” covers a 150-foot-long, 35-foot-tall wall. It depicts members of the community who all play different roles in a traditional New Orleans second line.

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Jazz Fest 2016: First Weekend Reviews

Jason Marsalis, Christian Scott Put The Jazz In Jazz Fest Opening Day

Photo by Kim Welsh
Photo by Kim Welsh

Every now and again you hear a grumpy jazz-head complain about the Jazz Fest not really being about jazz anymore; and with main headliners including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, J. Cole and Flo Rida, there’s a case to be made there. Yet on its big opening day, the festival has proven again that it is still a prime event for jazz listeners.

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Mo’ Jazz At The Fest

Photo by Willow Haley.
Photo by Willow Haley.

The 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has reached its middle-point. And on its third day of music, the Jazz Tent turned out to be a highlight of the festival.

Festival goers gave a warm welcome to New Orleans’ own Herlin Riley, who brought home to the Crescent City a group of young cats particularly well-versed in the post-bop groovy style that New York city was crawling with in the 1960s.

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Boz Scaggs Rocks The Blues Tent

Photo by Kim Welsh.
Photo by Kim Welsh.

Guitarist, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs has been recording and performing steadily since his debuts with the Steve Miller Band in the 1960s. And judging from his set under the Blues Tent on the second day of Jazz Fest, he doesn’t plan on slowing down.

Scaggs charmed the crowd early on with his mellow rendition of Willy Deville’s “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” only to switch gears and introduce a heavy road blues.

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Interview: Béla Fleck Opens Up About His Duo With Chick Corea

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On Saturday, April 16, the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans opened its doors for a unique show, welcoming the Chick Corea & Béla Fleck Duo. A couple of days prior to the show, I had the opportunity to speak with Béla Fleck on the phone.

 

BelaChick-30Béla Fleck is one busy musician. The 16-time Grammy Award-winner banjoist still runs his 20-year-plus old project Béla Fleck & the Flecktones with bassist Victor Wooten, tours in a bluegrass banjo duo with his wife Abigail Washburn, and for the past 8 years has recorded and toured with jazz pianist Chick Corea.

Corea, major figure in the development of the electric jazz fusion movement after his brief passage in Miles Davis’ band, is an expert in the art of the duo. With classic collaborative albums like his grand releases aside vibraphonist Gary Burton, his more recent piano face-off with Japanese virtuoso Hiromi, or yet live duo sets with his friend and former Return to Forever bandmate, bassist Stanley Clarke, Corea seems to enjoy the challenges of one-on-one conversations in music.

Corea’s collaboration with Fleck is one that was achieved consistent success over the past eight years. The project brought about two recordings. 2007’s The Enchantment captured the raw voices of a very fresh connection, with Corea and Fleck finding their way around one another’s playing on a record that was made in less than four days.

Two (Live), the two-CD set they released last September, was compiled from various live recordings from the 55 shows the pair played in the seven years that followed The Enchantment. It includes massively-reworked tunes from the previous release, as well as new titles, that display the playful complicity that developed between the two musicians during their years on the road.

Today, Fleck and Corea are on the road again, and will take their duo to the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans on Saturday, April 16. I caught up with Béla Fleck over the phone, as he was preparing for another show in Worcester, Massachusetts.

 

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Trumpets Trump Drumpf

(Photo by Caitlyn Ridenour)

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Musicians and protesters gathered in front of the Lakefront Airport on Friday, March 4, to speak out against the Donald Trump Rally.

Protesters met in the area before starting a second line that led the group down Stars and Stripes Boulevard to the airport. Different activist groups joined the “Trumpets Trump Drumpf” movement, including union workers, Black Lives Matter activists and more.

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Photos: Rory Danger’s 2015 Dangeria Imperial Debate

Rory Danger & The Danger Dangers hosted the 2015 Dangeria Imperial Debate at One Eyed Jacks on Friday, November 20th. Following the spirit of our premature electoral season, the band’s high-energy performance was flavored with America’s new favorite form of entertainment, heated political debating.

The debate, which as the band prefaced on Facebook, opposed their “Great and Benevolant Leader Rory Danger, and three other chumps,” did nothing to take away from The Danger Dangers’ extravagant musical act, which included most songs available on their album The Age of Exploration, released last October.

Television jingles, crowd-surfing, death lasers and other tools crucial to political discussion made for an enriching and informative experience, as candidates battled for the “coveted 5-week term of ‘Grand Supreme Eternal Ruler of all Dangeria and all the Beasts and Fishes and Birds and Humans of the Earth and all other Planets and Stars visible with the Naked Eye or Telescoping Viewing Device.’”

Rory Danger & The Danger Danger

Photos: Allen Toussaint Funeral

Countless star collaborators of the late New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint gathered at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans on November 20, 2015.

The tribute to Toussaint featured talks and performances from Cyril Neville, Irma Thomas, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Buffett, James and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more.

 

Photos: The Funky Meters invite Irma Thomas & Allen Toussaint

The 2015 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival took place this weekend at Lafayette Square in the Central Business District. On Saturday, October 17th, the festival opened its St. Charles Avenue Stage to a show they called “Ride Your Pony Down to New Orleans – Home of the Blues,” featuring some of New Orleans’ greatest stars.

The Funky Meters first invaded the stage with their timeless groove. Founding members George Porter, Jr. and Art Neville were joined by current Meter-men Brian Stoltz and Terrence Houston. Soon, the quatuor was joined by Irma Thomas, who sang four numbers.

All the while, performance artist Frenchy was assigned a corner of the stage to immortalize this meeting of New Orleans greats, in a painted piece.

After Thomas left the stage to be replaced by a grand piano facing Art Neville’s B3 organ, Allen Toussaint made his grand entrance in a flowery suit, then proceeding to play some of the great hits from New Orleans’ long history of rhythm and blues that he has shaped, mastered and spread over his long career.

George Porter, Jr. and Irma Thomas
George Porter, Jr. and Irma Thomas at the 2015 Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival