French Quarter Fest Picks- Friday

Start your day on the intimate Bourbon Street stage with the wonderful jazz saxophonist Ed “Sweetbread” Peterson. He is a professor of music at UNO and plays regularly at Snug Harbor, but I don’t remember him doing an outdoor festival gig.  He will most likely feature some of his great students from the Jazz Studies program.

Derrick Freeman’s Smoker’s World tore the roof off the Howlin’ Wolf last Halloween.  Freeman is best known as Kermit Ruffins’ drummer, but he fronts this band with a great cast of musicians supporting his vocal efforts.  Look for percussionist Marc “Buddha” Balsam to be helping lay down the groove.

Dr. Michael White (pictured) is a New Orleans- Senegalese supergroup that features Dr. Michael White on clarinet, Matt Perrine on electric bass, Jason Marsalis on vibraphone, Margie Perez on vocals and Matt Perrineon pedal steel guitar among others.  Seguenon Kone, a multi-instrumentalist and dancer, leads them.  This band is one of the more interesting musical hybrids to emerge in New Orleans in years.  Last year they were stuck inside, upstairs at the Mint.  This year they have graduated to one of the main stages.

Matt Perrine CD Release Party- Free CD

At the early hour of 6 PM, sousaphonist and bassist Matt Perrine is performing with his band at Chickie Wah Wah to celebrate the release of his latest recording, “Bayou Road Suite.”  The best part, besides the non-smoking atmosphere and the timing, which allows you to see even more music tonight, is that all paying guests get a copy of the new disc.  The band includes Matt’s wife, Debbie Davis on vocals and ukulele, guitarist Alex McMurray playing banjo, Matt Rhody on violin and Ben Schenck on clarinet.  Jolly House, the side project of the Radiators’ Ed Volker, follows at 9 PM.

Brazilian Music at Tulane

headerywBrazil is a huge country with a massively diverse musical culture.  I have been digging into it for years, and have barely scratched the surface.  After a trip to Bahia last year, I suspected that I would never figure it all out. Every so often a new band appears that helps to put the country’s musical bounty in a new perspective.  Pernambuco is a state in northeastern Brazil.  Its biggest city is Recife and its biggest musical export is forro- I style that is similar in instrumentation and temperment to the zydeco of Louisiana.  Tonight another band from Pernambuco, Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda is playing at Dixon Hall on Tulane University’s campus.  The show is at 7:30 PM and it’s free.  I have heard some of the band’s music and I concur with a writer in the New York Times last week who wrote that the band has a lot in common with the brass bands of New Orleans, specifically The Dirty Dozen.

Ponderosa Stomp Announces First Six Headliners

In case you hadn’t heard, the annual fete of garage rock, early rock ‘n’ roll and unsung heroes of soul and the blues has moved its dates from the middle of Jazz Fest to late September.  The decision was made so the two-night extravaganza could be held on a weekend.  This year the Stomp is scheduled for September 24 and 25, 2010 at the House of Blues.  The first of dozens of artists to be confirmed are  guitar legend Duane Eddy, R&B vocalist Sugar Pie DeSanto, singers Red Simpson and Joe South, Chicano rock pioneers Thee Midniters, and garage rock underground legends, the Trashmen.

Jason Ricci and New Blood at the Maple Leaf

This just in- if you have not heard of this band, and I have to admit I had not, my sources tell me that they tore the roof off the Maple Leaf the last time they were in town.  Ricci is hard-rockin’ harmonica player who fronts a killer band.  They mix up styles in the blues-rock idiom and both Ricci and his guitarist Shawn Starski have been earning raves in the music press.  They have been touring for over seven years.  This is a chance to see one of the rising talents on the circuit.

Ted Hefko Performs at the Louisiana Music Factory


Saturday afternoon, April 3, 2010, the place to be is on Decatur Street across the street from the House of Blues.  Ted Hefko, a saxophonist and guitarist who played a lot around town during the late 1990s, is back in town and will be playing songs from his latest effort, a singer/songwriter album called, “Egyptland.”  It is a fascinating collection of songs that is a bit of a departure for a musician best known as a jazz saxophonist.  But it is a welcome change both because it exposes another aspect of a talented player and because the songs obliquely reference the city of new Orleans.  He will be playing with Bryan Besse on drums, Leslie Peter Martin on piano and Cassidy Holdenon on bass.

Heads Up for Tommorrow Night- John Ellis and Double-Wide at the Blue Nile

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that I am a huge fan of the saxophonist John Ellis and his band, Double Wide.  You really can’t go wrong with a group that features New Orleans’ own Jason Marsalis on drums and Matt Perrine on sousaphone.  Those two players raise the level of every band they play in.  Ellis, who we claim as an honorary New Orleanian due to his longstanding connections with the city, is celebrating his latest release, “Puppet Mischief,” on Saturday night, April 3 at Blue Nile.  He is bringing along some special guests including the trombonist Alan Ferber and the harmonica master, Gregoire Maret.  Double Wide has played several times in New Orleans, but the shows have always been at Snug Harbor, which is a sit-down venue.  It should be really interesting to see this killer band when there is a dance floor involved.

101 Runners with Big Chief Monk at Tipitina’s

Hot the heels of an extremely successful Carnival season and St. Joseph’s celebrations, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux will be joining the Mardi Gras Indian funk band 101 Runners at Tipitina’s this evening, April 2, 2010.  The 101 Runners are lead by percussionist Chris Jones and feature Ajay Mallory (pictured in my facebook profile photo) on trap drums.  The regular front man is War Chief Juan Pardo.  Pardo represents the latest generation of Mardi Gras Indians to emerge in New Orleans.  I expect some fireworks when Monk and Juan face off on stage.

Will Bernard Trio at D.B.A.

Early last December, I posted about an appearance by the great guitarist Will Bernard at the Blue Nile.  He was scheduled to appear with two of our local talents, keyboardlist Brian Coogan and drummer Simon Lott.  I made it to the show and was blown away by their fierce interplay and collective improvisation.  The soloing was also very intense.  Bernard doesn’t make it to New Orleans that often, save during Jazz Fest, but you have another opportunity to hear this trio burn tonight at D.B.A.  If you like soulful, groove-oriented jazz, don’t miss this show.