Phillip Manuel To Open for Michael Franks Tonight at the House of Blues

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This is not the place to opine about the jazz worthiness of Michael Franks.  He has his fans and well deserves them.  But his opening act this evening, the New Orleans jazz singer, Phillip Manuel is a true jazzman.  Here’s my favorite riff on Manuel- Terrence Blanchard recorded his album, The Heart Speaks, with the great Brazilian vocalist and composer, Ivan Lins.  When it came time to tour in support of the album, Lins was unavailable.  Blanchard tapped Manuel and the singer took the time and effort to learn the Portuguese that the songs were written in. This is a true testament to commitment and determination that is the hallmark of all great jazz musicians.

Lee Boys Perform Free at Tipitina’s Tonight

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The Free Fridays series continues this evening, August 21, 2009, will a show by the sacred steel band, the Lee Boys.  From their bio- The Lee Boys are one of America’s finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. This family group consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). Each member began making music at the ages of 7 and 8 in the House of God church they attended in Perrine, FL. Here they underwent a rigorous course of training in a variety of musical instruments, including lap and pedal steel guitars. Born and raised in Miami, each of The Lee Boys grew up in the church where their father and grandfather, Rev. Robert E. Lee, was the pastor and a steel player himself.

“Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations. Influenced by the Hawaiian steel guitar fad of the 1930’s, brothers Willie and Troman Eason brought the electric lap steel guitar into the worship services of the House of God church in Jacksonville, FL. The Pentecostal congregation embraced the soulful sound, and over time this unique sound became the hallmark of the church. The pedal steel guitar was added to the mix and soon became the central instrument. The Lee Boys are part of the fourth generation of musicians in this faith.

The Women of Jazz at the Ogden Museum

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This evening, from 6-8 PM, Ogden After Hours presents the Women of Jazz.  The show features the vocal stylings of Ellen Smith, Sharon Martin and Leslie Smith.  This represents three generations of female jazz singers in New Orleans.

FabuNOLA presents Jayna Morgan and the Sazerac Sunrise band

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Ray’s Boom Boom Room on Frenchmen Street has reopened as the Maison de la Musique.  Every Thursday night will feature swing dance music from the 1920s through the 1940s with Jayna Morgan and the Sazerac Sunrise band.  The band features Jayna Morgan on vocals, Matt Johnson on guitar, Brett Richardson on accordion, Dr. Bone on trombone, and Jon Gross on tuba.

Get In The kNOwLA at the JW Marriott

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The JW Marriott is the place to be this evening (August 19, 2009).  From 5:30- 8 PM, the Brazilian guitarist and songwriter Ricardo Crespo will be performing and Sheleen Jones, a professional visual artist and sculptor who is a native of New Orleans, will be showing her work.  There will be a spirit tasting and complimentary hors d’oeuvres.  If you make a purchase of $1,000 or more of works by Jones, the JW Marriott will give you a 1 night complimentary stay in the Presidential Bi-Level Suite.

The event is in the Lobby Bar of the JW Marriott New Orleans, 614 Canal Street

101 Runners at the Maple Leaf Tonight

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This evening, August 19, 2009, the 101 Runners Mardi Gras Indian show will be featured at the Maple Leaf Bar.  The band, which is led by percussionist Chris Jones, plays high energy Indian funk.  They usually have at least two actual Mardi Gras Indians leading the chanting.  The backing band includes top notch New Orleans talent.

Jazz Guitar and Vocals Early This Evening in Mid City

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Join Jayna Morgan on vocals and Matt Johnson (Hot Club of New Orleans) on guitar for Swingin’ in the Street, every Tuesday at the Fair Grinds Coffeehouse for traditional jazz and swing standards.  Fairgrinds is located at 3133 Ponce de Leon in New Orleans.  The performance is from 7-9 PM.

Jeff Albert to Debut Two New Projects Tonight (August 18, 2009)

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This evening, upstairs at the Blue Nile, trombonist Jeff Albert will present two exciting new musical ventures.  Set 1 will feature an improvised trio with Jesse Morrow on bass and Justin Peake on drums.  The second set is a group called Root 25, which includes Ray Moore on alto sax, Tim Sullivan on tenor and baritone saxes, Jesse Morrow on bass and Doug Garrison on drums.  The band will be playing all original music, most of which was freshly written for the group.  The music is more composition oriented than the Quartet’s material.  The show begins at 10 PM promptly.

Legendary Memphis Producer Jim Dickinson Dead at 67

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Jim Dickinson, who in later years was probably more famous for his two sons, Luther and Cody of the North Mississippi Allstars, passed away in Memphis on Saturday, August 15, 2009, after a long illness.  In his heyday, the producer was responsible for developing what became known as the Memphis sound.  His work graces numerous recordings by major acts such as the Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan , the Rolling Stones,  and Big Star.  In 1991, he produced the Radiators’ “Total Evaporation.”

The Gypsy Swing Band of New Orleans at Chickie Wah Wah

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Tonight, August 17, 2009, head to 2828 Canal Street for some wonderful sounds.  The band, featuring Raphael Bas and Pierre Pichon on guitar, Chris Kohl on clarinet,
Nathan Lambertson on bass, and sitting in, Jack Fine on cornet.  They start early, at 7 PM and the cover is only $5.  This is their last gig before heading to France.