John Vidacovich is one of the many distinctly New Orleans drummers that we have here in the city. Every Thursday night is his regular gig uptown at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street. It’s usually billed as his “trio” but it’s just a revolving cast of characters that might be a duo … or a quartet … or sometimes it’s actually even a trio. This past Thursday night was a particularly intriguing line-up with some most infectious grooves. It was Roger Lewis on baritone saxophone, Kirk Joseph on sousaphone, and Terrence Higgins as a second drummer – not many places besides New Orleans that you get a band consisting of a baritone saxophone, sousaphone, and two set drummers.
Besides the level of musicianship and combination of instruments, this night was noteworthy because the musicians were a kind of distilled version of all of the generations of the Dirty Dozen (Brass) Band. Kirk Joseph represents the early generation. He was their early sousaphone player that no longer plays with them on a regular basis. Terrence Higgins represents the current generation. He was the set player that they added when they changed from a brass band with two drummers to more of a sit-down groove oriented ensemble. And Roger Lewis is the continuuity – has been with them through all of their changes.
… decades of New Orleans grooves, compressed into one Thursday night uptown.