One of the original new-school New Orleans brass bands, a Dirty Dozen show guarantees a good time. This year actually marks three dozen years since the first incarnation of the group coalesced to resurrect a then-disappearing tradition — and infuse it with both bebop and funk. As with many a show since '77, there was dancing and handkerchief-waving aplenty, and several original members were present to anchor the proceedings.
Roger Hayward Lewis, baritone and soprano saxophone
New Orleans thinks of brass band music as its own, the unmistakable mix of live horns and percussion, and the traditional brass band songs. But a 20-piece brass band from Rhode Island swept through town recently, with Balkan, Klezmer and Bollywood beats thrown in the mix. These Providence musicians call New Orleans their sister city, and play a different kind of brass when they're here.
Few piano players are as tall, glam and terrific as Marcia Ball. Born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and schooled in the dance halls and roadhouses of the Gulf South, Ball can't help but make you boogie woogie. That is, unless you wanna two-step. Or boogaloo. She does that too.
"If you can make 'em dance, money becomes a space problem."
Ball's songs are postcards of small town life in this region and the dilemmas that drive people to the choices they make.
This week, we bring you that funky gentleman from the Ninth Ward, Jon Cleary, who talks about his native England, his grandmother, the piano back home, his mum's songwriting chops, and a variety of other loves.
Cleary grew up listening to New Orleans soul, r&b and funk. And now, we listen to him.
As a mulit-instrumentalist and sideman, he's played with some of the best artists, including Earl King, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Snooks Eaglin, Ernie K-Doe and Walter "Wolfman" Washington. But Cleary is even better fronting his own band and digging into his own groove.