The Pussyfooters Host the Blush Ball Tonight at the Original Mardi Gras World

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Carnival season gets into full swing this evening at the Original Mardi Gras World in Algiers as the Pussyfooters parading organization hosts a fundraiser for Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. The event begins at 8 PM and continues until 12 midnight. Big Sam’s Funky Nation, DJ Soul Sister, Mardi Gras Indians and the 610 Stompers will provide entertainment! Tickets are available at the door for $25 or in advance for $20 at Miss Claudia’s on Magazine St., and via Pay Pal at Pussyfooters.net.

Costumes are recommended!

Luther Dickinson and Terence Higgins Round Out Trio Tonight at the Maple Leaf

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The ever-expansive lineup at the Maple Leaf on Thursday nights grows again with the return of guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, the Black Crowes) and the drummer Terence Higgins (Dirty Dozen Brass Band). They join trio mainstay bassist George Porter, Jr.. Dickinson performed with the other mainstay of the trio, the drummer Johnny Vidacovich, just last week. Vidacovich is unavailable because he is in New York City performing with Joe Sample. If you’re keeping track, Porter, Jr. didn’t play last week because he was on the jam cruise to the Caribbean. James Singleton, Vidacovich’s longtime partner in Astral Project, played bass last week. It’s all one-big-happy at the Maple Leaf.

How Can You Tell It’s Almost Festival Season?

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The B-52’s

The answer is when two of the biggest organizations in the city announce major musical performances on the same day. Last night, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival announced that Simon and Garfunkel will fill the last TBA on their 2010 schedule. The 1960s icons will close the Acura stage on April 24, 2010. Earlier in the day, the Krewe of Muses announced that the B-52s will headline their storied ball on February 11, 2010 at the Contemporary Arts Center.
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Simon and Garfunkel

Mary J. Blige Confirms for Essence Fest

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The soul singer with hip-hop credentials announced that she will be performing in New Orleans at the Essence Music Festival. The festival is scheduled from July 2-4, 2010 at the Louisiana Superdome. Blige has performed several times in the past at the annual event.

Fifth Annual Queens’ Ball Tonight at the Maple Leaf

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This evening, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes will be the musical entertainment at the Maple Leaf, but they won’t be the only entertaining thing about the evening - some serious royalty, meaning the alternative Carnival krewes MOMs, Dreux, Kosmic Debris, O.A.K, and 2.2, will be out in force with costumes on! Here’s the word straight from the Queen Mutha- “There will be a Queens contest after the first set with great prizes for the winners including treats from the Maple Leaf, Jacque-I-mo’s, Squeal BBQ, and Zotz. Plus win two invitations to a carnival ball and eat Queen cake. So ladies, bring out your tiaras, fake fur, scepters and ball gowns. Come on guys let me see that fuzzy chest, beard and hairy legs in that little black dress. Do you have the balls to be a Queen? You can win if you do.”

The Dead Kenny G’s Tonight at D.B.A.

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Whenever the saxophonist Skerik takes a stage, whether as a leader or as a guest artist, musical mayhem is sure to ensue. Tonight at D.B.A. will be no exception when one of the more adventurous of his bands, The Dead Kenny G’s, perform in the Faubourg Marigny.The group also features the multi-instrumentalist Mike Dillon who plays vibraphone, various percussion instruments, organ and whatever else he’s got on hand and the bassist and reedist Brad Houser. They are on their winter tour and will be playing tomorrow night at Bennie’s Boom Boom Room, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Luther Dickinson to Join the Trio at The Maple Leaf Tonight

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Luther Dickinson, the guitarist for the North Mississippi Allstars and a new member of the Black Crowes, is the third link this evening in the trio led by Johnny Vidacovich and James Singleton. Dickinson, who is also the son of the late, great Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, is a highly adept player specializing in incendiary slide work. He formed the North Mississippi Allstars in 1996 with his brother Cody and the bassist Chris Chew. Since he began playing with Black Crowes in 2007 he has appeared on two of their recordings and has toured with the band.

John Ellis and Double Wide to Preview Great New Album Tonight

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This evening, January 6, 2009, the saxophonist John Ellis and his latest aggregation, Double Wide, featuring Matt Perrine on sousaphone, Jason Marsalis on drums and Brian Coogan on keyboards, will perform at Snug Harbor for two sets at 8 PM and 10 PM. Though their new album, Puppet Mischief, is not due to be released until February 23rd, they will likely play some of the new compositions.

I have listened to an advance copy of the disc twice and I am happy to report that the music is as interesting, compelling and fascinating as the album’s title suggests. The group has expanded on the concept that was first outlined on their debut recording, Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow. The music on their first effort evoked a playful feeling that reflected the relationship between jazz music and dance.

The new disc mines similar territory stylistically, but this time the focus of Ellis’ tunes is on connections between circus-like whimsy and carnival-style bacchanal. The harmonica of guest artists Gregoire Maret and the trombone of Alan Ferber provide moments of genuine excitement as the sousaphone bubbles and the organ swells like the sounds of a midway barker calling for fun house customers. There is even one song that brought up the feeling of dread some people feel at the prospective of being in close proximity to a clown- at least to my ears. You may hear something different and that is the beauty of these wonderfully inventive tunes that are skillfully brought to life by this dynamic ensemble.

Saxophonist Derek Douget to Perform This Evening

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One of the great musicians to matriculate through Jazz Studies program at the University of New Orleans is returning to the city to record with the bassist Jason Stewart and perform this evening, January 5, 2010, at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Douget moved to Brooklyn following Hurricane Katrina, but he is a frequent visitor to the city where he found his musical voice. He appears on Ellis Marsalis’ latest release, An Open Letter to Thelonious, tours with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and is a featured player with trumpeter Maurice Brown.  His quartet this evening includes Jason Marsalis on drums, Roland Guerin on bass and Victor Atkins on piano.

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Tribe Nunzio Reunion Tonight!

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One of the most exciting bands to emerge from New Orleans in the early 1990s as punk faded and funk began making huge in-roads in the city is reuniting at Chickie Wah Wah. The Tribe, as they were affectionately known by their fans, was fronted by the vivacious singer, Holden Miller and featured stalwarts of the local scene, Jeff Treffinger on guitar (now with the Geraniums), Vernon Rome on bass and Damon Shea on bass. The band was frequently augmented by guest musicians including percussionists and saxophonists. Also a frequent band mate was Tom Marron on fiddle and harp who will be in the house for this gig. New additions for this show are Rene Coman of the Iguanas with possible guest apearances by other lizards! Tribe Nunzio formed in the late 1980s from the dregs of several other outfits and quickly took the city by storm with their outrageous stage presence, killer songs and off-kilter sensibilities. By 1994, they were history.  There have been several reunion shows since although the last was about 7 years ago! Opening for the gig will be some of Holden’s African buds from Chatanooga - The Ogya Band.  Doors open at 7, show about 9, kitchen open, parking in rear, no smoking, outdoor heaters and fire pits!