A guest on one of our tours asked for recommendations for live music today and tomorrow – specifically about zydeco, blues, and rhythm and blues. She was also wondering about Preservation Hall. Our response seemed worth sharing with others.
Your best bet for zydeco appears to be Dwayne Dopsie at the Krazy Korner today at noon. He’s got a credible pedigree as part of the family of the late Rockin’ Dopsie, one of maybe the first or second generation of high profile zydeco players. (He’s a much different show than Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. The original’s dead.)
If she’s playing, my rhythm ‘n’ blues pick tonight would absolutely be Eudora Evans & Deep Soul at the Balcony Music Club. Her website says that she’s playing but the ‘OZ listing for the club has someone different. The ‘OZ listing is probably more current but, if you’re down there, it would be worth swinging by to check. I would best describe her as old-school soul. When I go, I always request “Can I Change My Mind”, an old Tyrone Davis and Roy Buchanan Song that hardly anybody has in their repertoire.
Andy Forest is listed for the late set – 9:00 P.M. – at BMC. He’s an eclectic blues guy. He will probably be electrified and raucous for this set.
Vaso appears to have a night of blues and the 7:00 P.M. band – Ed Wills – is one that I like. He frequently plays at BMC, too. Vaso is the venue right at the corner of Frenchmen and Decatur.
The Funky Pirate is the most prolific venue for blues, in spite of being on Bourbon Street. Between Sunday and Monday, I would target Sunday – 4:00-8:00 P.M. Mark Pentone is a credible player. The late band is listed as John Lisi & Delta Funk. They’ll do a credible job with a little more of a New Orleans and groove oriented sound. Gary Brown on Mondays is good and is a long time Bourbon Street fixture but is more of a mixture – blues, r’n’b, soul, and even smooth jazz.
If you want to stay up late and are OK with a taxi ride, the Joe Krown Trio will be at the Maple Leaf starting some time after 10:00 P.M. That’s a real interesting organ-guitar-drums trio and should be laying down some nasty New Orleans funk and a little bit of soul.
The best option for Cajun music is Bruce Daigrepont doing a fais-do-do at Tipitina’s tonight, 5:30-9:00 P.M. It’s not zydeco but it’s a South Louisiana cousin – more white and country music associated. This is the closest you’ll get to a South Louisiana dancehall feel without leaving New Orleans. If you go, tell Gina Forsyth (the fiddle player) that Dave Thomas says “hi”.
… Li’l Red & Big Bad at BMC for 7:00 P.M.. She’s a white girl from the Westbank and can really lay it down. She’s followed by a blues jam that can be a mixed bag because there’s no predicting who will show up. If y’all are players, it might be a chance to sit in.
Luke Winslow King at d.b.a. for 7:00 P.M. is acoustic delta style and good. He may have a couple o’ three other musicians joining him.
It’s a taxi ride and is likely to have a later start time than advertised but Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen is killer funk – 9:00 P.M. at the Maple Leaf Bar. He’s a Brit that plays lots of terrific New Orleans styles. This will be a band of long-time New Orleans musicians. He’s best known for touring and recording extensively with Bonnie Raitt and writing a lot of songs for her, too.
There are two good choices for Sunday and Monday, one of which has a great backstory.
The clarinet player leading the band tonight is a white guy named Tommy Sancton. As a teenager, he hung out with the old black musicians in Preservation Hall at a time when mixing of the races was particularly volatile. Specifically, he studied clarinet with George Lewis, who died in the the sixties. As an adult, Sancton made a living as a journalist, running a European bureau for Newsweek. After Katrina, he returned to New Orleans and started playing clarinet again. He’s the closest thing that you can get to someone channeling the sound of George Lewis, who was a contemporary of Louis Armstrong. Sancton told his story in a book called “Songs Of My Fathers” – a terrific read.
Leroy Jones on Monday is an excellent trumpeter – one of my favorite in New Orleans. I don’t have an entertaining story for him. He’s just good.
A lot of these venues and some of these performers are ones that we feature on our “Night On The Town”. Come check ’em out with us.