Groovesect to Sub for Khris Royal Tonight

This evening, you can still get your groove on at the Blue Nile, but it won’t be listening to the regular Wednesday act, Khris Royal and Dark Matter.  The saxophonist is on the road with George Porter, Jr. and his Runnin’ Pardners.  Groovesect is part of a new contingent of young bands that mine the funk territory of the Meters.  Upstairs at the Blue Nile, another young band, Gravity A performs.  Both shows start around 10 PM and there is no cover.

Rex Gregory Quintet at the Blue Nile

Tonight’s Open Ears music series will feature the up and coming saxophonist with a band featuring Ashlin Parker, Austin Johnson, Peter Harris, and Simon Lott.  Gregory has a new CD, “An End to Oblivion,” and the music I heard on WWOZ yesterday afternoon sounds very compelling.  Parker, a trumpeter and Johnson, a pianist, are two new faces around town that have gotten people talking.  Harris, the bassist, is the veteran of the group.  Lott, regular readers know, is a wonderfully expressive drummer.  It should be a great show.  If you can’t make it to the Blue Nile, tonight, which is free, but tip the band, it will be broadcast live at 90. 7 FM.

Free Fridays with the “Real” Davis Rogan

I remember sitting in the Rogan family’s uptown home listening to Davis trying to master the intricate piano work at the intro of Professor Longhair’s, “Tipitina.”  It took a while, but he finally got it right.  Since then, Rogan has been a fixture on the New Orleans music scene and with the success of the HBO series, “Tremé,” his name has become attached to his hometown.  Tonight he appears at Tipitina’s with his backing band playing catchy original compositions, like the song, “Strippers,” that the fictional Davis plays in an episode of Tremé.  Expect to hear some raunchy rap courtesy of one of the originators of the bounce sound, Cheeky Blakk.  John Boutte is on the bill too.  (photo credit- Steve Zahn)

Ocie Davis Quartet at Snug Harbor

The drummer returns to New Orleans for a performance tonight.  He moved to New Orleans in 1995 to study at the University of New Orleans under Ellis Marsalis.  He left town after Katrina and now lives and plays with his own group in Charlotte, NC.  During his time in New Orleans, he was an in-demand drummer who played with a variety of leaders including Ellis Marsalis, Maurice Brown, Christian Scott, and Nicholas Payton.  He was a member of Robert Wagner’s trio for two years, along with the bassist James Singleton.  They recorded the disc, Lost Children, which was released on the local Valid Records.

New Orleans Moonshiners at Rock ‘n’ Bowl

Much has been made lately, actually not that much unless you count an interview I did with a British radio interviewer on Sunday at Satchmo SummerFest and Benjamin Lyons’ Valid Records e-newsletter, about the plethora of neo-trad jazz bands in New Orleans.  They are mostly congregated at the bars on Frenchmen Street, but tonight one of the better outfits heads to Carrollton Avenue.  They also recently played a prestigious gig at New York City’s Lincoln Center.   I have seen the New Orleans Moonshiners several times, and though they mine the same basic repertoire as most of the other bands, they stand out because they play some cool original songs.  Their singer also plays the banjo.  He brought to mind the late, great Danny Barker with his offhand delivery of classics from the New Orleans canon.  The show starts at 8:30 PM.

R.I.P. Chief Al Morris- North Side Skull and Bones


Satchmo SummerFest Picks- Sunday

With a dearth of second lines since Father’s Day, the season doesn’t start back until late August, fans of dancing in the streets don’t want to miss the parade that follows the Jazz Mass at St. Augustine Church.  It begins around noon with lots of music and second line club members strutting in their finest.  When you get to the festival site, check out the Baby Boyz Brass band.  This group of youngsters is the latest in a long line of brass band stretching back to they days of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong himself.  Immediately after they play, head over to the other outdoor stage for the elders of the brass band tradition, the Tremé Brass Band.  The day ends with the 10th annual Trumpet Tribute featuring nearly all the trumpeters in town.

R.I.P. Clyde Kerr, Jr.

One of the most influential music teachers in  New Orleans history passed away yesterday.  Like his father before him, Clyde Kerr, Jr. taught several generations of students both the mechanics of music and the spirit behind it.  Social networking sites have been buzzing with tributes to the man since word of his death began circulating.

Kerr, Jr. was a trumpet player who had a beautiful tone.  He released his first and only album, This is Now!, last year.  As an instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts his influence goes back at least thirty years when he taught Wynton and Branford Marsalis.  In recent years, he counted Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Christian Scott among his hundreds of students.

Kerr, Jr. grew up in the Tremé neighborhood and his childhood home was like a music school.  His father taught a who’s who of an earlier generation of musicians including the great maestro Wardell Quezergue and the saxophonist Alvin “Red” Tyler.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. (photo by Michael  DeMocker)

Satchmo SummerFest Picks- Saturday

Ensemble Fatien plays at 1:45 PM on the third floor of the Old Mint.  This New Orleans supergroup has a great new recording out and their set will be a fascinating blend of local sounds and the sounds of Africa.  At 2:30 PM, Kermit Ruffins recounts a mind-altering experience he had visiting the home of Louis Armstrong, one of his idols, in a seminar session at the Palm Court Jazz Café. The trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis (pictured) plays regularly with his Uptown Jazz Orchestra, but its more rare to hear him with his quintet. I revisited listening to his “Pontius Pilate’s Decision” CD and remember how great that recording is. They play at the Red Beans and Ricely stage at 3:45 PM.  The trumpeter Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown closes out the day at the newest stage at the fest.  He plays 5:30 PM at Governor Nicholls and French Market Place.

Satchmo Club Strut Picks

It’s impossible not to have fun tonight Frenchmen Street.  Two brass bands, the Rebirth at 7:30 PM and the TBC at 10:30, will be marching up and down the five-block stretch.  All the clubs and most of the restaurants along the way are presenting music.  Here are some of the bands to look for.  The saxophonist Rebecca Barry was a stalwart on the scene before Katrina, she now lives in Alabama but is back for a set tonight at the Apple Barrel.  Norbert Slama also used to live in New Orleans, now he’s back.  He is a French accordion player who sounds amazing even for people who don’t love the accordion.  He’s with a trio at Yuki also at 7:30 PM.  Carl LeBlanc plays banjo with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  Tonight, he’s on his original instrument, the guitar, with his own group at D.B.A. at 6 PM.  Shamarr Allen follows at 10.  There are literally dozens of others acts performing.  So strut up and down the street and stop when it sounds good.