It’s that time of year again. We work hard year-round to bring you the best in New Orleans music, and we’re asking for your support to help us earn a Grammy (or more!) for our amazing and extremely talented artists. Take a listen to all of our Grammy-eligible releases at the playlists below on Spotify or Apple Music. More info on these releases below!
“A heartfelt tribute to New Orleans musical legend, Allen Toussaint. “By blending the world’s finest trombone section with the deeply soulful vocals of Michael McDonald, Bonerama has cooked up a brilliant jambalaya that will be savored for a long time to come!”
— Don Was – President, Blue Note Records / Founder, Was (Not Was)
The first live album from Jason Marsalis! “Jason Marsalis has developed into an irrepressible force since taking up vibes. … The album bristles with clever surprises, riding the rim of our expectations. … Alternating between ringing and muted tones, Marsalis creates joyous 3D effects with his four-mallet mastery. Perhaps inspired by Lionel Hampton, he’s after a bigger and harder-edged, but still fluid, sound. While the bandleader’s playing and composing reflects a deep knowledge of jazz history, they hop and skip past familiar solutions. There’s something genuinely new going on here.” – Lloyd Sachs, Downbeat Magazine
“On this set from May 5, 2017, White performs five spirited numbers with trumpeter Gregory Stafford, banjoist Seva Venet, bassist Mark Brooks, and drummer Jason Marsalis. Starting with a rollicking “Canal Street Blues” and including an emotional “Summertime” along with three originals that are very much in the tradition, White and his musicians show the audience a great time.” – Scott Yanow, The Syncopated Times
“Daughter of well-known songwriter and bandleader Louis Prima, Lena Prima has carried on his infectious energy and transplanted it into her live show with her own 14 piece big band. Recorded in Las Vegas last year, Prima and her band give us the full big show experience. … She has a great rapport with the audience and her big voice is well supported by her superb band.” – David Blue, Blues Blues
Lena Prima’s Live in Concert is the closest thing you can get to a swinging soirée at a high-class Vegas nightclub today. The singing talent shows that she hasn’t strayed far from her familial legacy on this energetic, fun-loving show recorded live at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center in Las Vegas in March of 2019. That familial heritage of course refers to her wildly talented parents, Louis Prima and Gia Maione, and Lena shows she has their same charisma and swagger on Live in Concert. Joined by a 14-piece big band, Lena Prima runs through a gamut of some of her father’s biggest hits including “I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)” made famous by Disney’s The Jungle Book, “Sing, Sing, Sing,” and “Just a Gigalo” to name a few. It will be of little surprise to Lena fans that many of the selections come from the Italian-American songbook (Lena is a proud Italian-American), and are also included on Prima’s 2019 Basin Street Records release Prima La Famiglia, a celebration of Italian Famiglia such as “Oh Marie,”“Josephine, Please No Lean (On The Bell),” and “Pensate Amore (Think Love).”
Live in Concert encapsulates an evening of fun, and will have you dancing in your living room to songs like “Jump Jive an’ Wail.” Much like a Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, or Louis Prima himself, Lena is in her element performing on the big Vegas stage with the support of fantastic musicians with a raucous and loving audience swinging along with her. If you’re looking for some pure, unadulterated fun, Lena Prima’s Live in Concert is for you!
Lena Prima’sLive in Concertis available in digital format from Basin Street Records and on most of your favorite digital platforms today! Pre-order the CD from Basin Street Records today (CD available in September).
The legendary music venue Tipitina’s recently launched Tipitinas.TV, a live web series that airs concerts performed at the Tipitina’s stage. This Saturday, August 22, at 9 PM ET our very own Rebirth Brass Band will take the stage.
Tune in to Tipitinas.TV to purchase a ticket, and catch this live show from the comfort and safety of your home!
In the history of jazz, brass bands are remembered as a training ground for many early New Orleans musicians – like Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet – who would go on to change American music during the 1920s “Jazz Age.” While typical six or seven piece dance ensembles recorded what became the main body of classic New Orleans Jazz in the north, the local brass bands remained behind only to be remembered as a footnote in the origins of jazz. These marching groups were known for playing in parades and the city’s infamous “jazz funerals,” but little is known about their origins, style, continuation, and evolution – especially since New Orleans brass bands were not recorded until the 1950s and their functions continued largely as a underground, unpublicized black community events into the 1980s.
To a core of African American New Orleanians, the brass band tradition has remained an important socially meaningful part of life that connects them to ancestral traditions and maintains the spirit and ceremonial practices that led to the development of jazz. While the original jazz style, repertoire, and format of brass bands in community parades and funerals continued into the early 1980s, a revolutionary new modern jazz and rhythm & blues influenced type of brass band started and gained momentum during the late 1970s – leading to massive outside interest and an explosion of new young brass bands that continues into today.
DR. MICHAEL WHITE is a leading figure in traditional New Orleans jazz. He is best known today for his classic clarinet tone and style with his Original Liberty Jazz Band and the Dr. Michael White Quartet. He is also distinguished for the unique series of jazz history programs that he has been doing for many years. A New Orleans native, White received a Ph.D. in Spanish from Tulane University and taught at Xavier University since 1980. For his many varied contributions to local music and culture he was awarded the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities. Since 2001 he has exclusively taught African American Music History and directs the Xavier Culture of New Orleans Series which he founded.
White is a from a New Orleans musical family that includes several early generation jazz musician relatives, such as Earl Fouche (saxophone soloist on the 1927 Sam Morgan Jazz Band recordings), Willie Joseph (clarinetist on the 1927 Louis Dumaine recordings), and bassist Papa John Joseph (associate of Buddy Bolden, who later recorded with George Lewis and Kid Thomas Valentine and was among the first black brass band saxophonists). He had a long association with over three dozen New Orleans jazz musicians born between the late 1890s and 1910. White has also become known as a jazz historian, composer, writer, producer – although he now reveals that being an actively performing musician has always been his main thing. In his forty-five year career he has performed in nearly three dozen foreign countries and most US states at festivals, major concert halls, and universities. White has been a longtime consultant for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He also produced Been in the Storm Too Long – a festival of New Orleans music within the 2006 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. He has also been the musical director for several Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts and frequently serves as a guest coach in the Juilliard Music School Jazz Program. Dr. White has recorded on over eighty albums, including fifteen under his own name and others with such diverse artists as Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Taj Mahal, and Eric Clapton. He has also appeared in numerous documentaries, feature films and television shows. White has won numerous awards, including the French Chevalier of Arts and Letters, the NEA National Heritage Fellowships Award, The New Orleans Mayor’s Arts Award, the Louisiana State Humanist Award, the Jazz Journalists of America’s Jazz Hero Award, and the OFFBEAT Magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards’ Best Clarinetist twelve times.
Michael White’s brass band roots have remained an important part of his life and career. His life as a jazz musician began 1975 with a four-year stint in Doc Paulin’s Brass Band during which he played in dozens of community social club parades, church processions, and jazz funerals. Over the years he played with many brass bands, including the Young Tuxedo, Royal, Excelsior, Magnolia, Olympia, Treme, and Ellyna’s Second Liners. In 1985 White formed the Liberty Brass Band, with which he has performed many jobs, including the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC and an appearance in the film Undercover Blues. White and other members performed as the Liberty Brass Band with Wynton Marsalis at the 1996 Olympics Closing Ceremony in Atlanta, GA. The Liberty Brass was one of three groups to record on the acclaimed 2014 Smithsonian Folkways recording, Through the Streets of the City: New Orleans Brass Bands, which White produced, contributed an original composition, and wrote the accompanying booklet (for which he won an ASACP Liner Notes award). Several of Dr. White’s recordings include brass band style treatments of original compositions and transformations of popular songs into the traditional style. He appears with the Treme Brass Band in Spike Lee’s Hurricane Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke. White appears in the 2020 Lincoln Center produced Wynton Marsalis video #Memorial for Us All – a New Orleans brass band / jazz funeral ceremonial reflection on the current COVID pandemic devastation.
GREGORY STAFFORD is a New Orleans born trumpet player and singer who has been an active musician for nearly fifty years. He currently performs with several groups, including his own Jazz Hounds and the Young Tuxedo Brass Band, which he has led since 1984.He is often a musical collaborator in Dr. Michael White’s bands and has been in frequent demand as a guest soloist in Scandinavian and Canadian traditional jazz bands for many years. Stafford is a relative of the great early jazz trumpet legend Henry “Red” Allen and Henry Allen, Sr., who led a popular brass band in early jazz. Stafford grew up in the heart of uptown New Orleans that was the center of black social club parade activities throughout the twentieth century. Today he lives around the corner from Buddy Bolden’s house and close to the homes of several other uptown early jazz legends. He was exposed to street music and began to play with older groups like the E. Gibson Brass Band while still a teenager. Gregg was also an early member of the first generation of the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, the kids’ group founded by legendary banjo and guitar player Danny Barker.
He went on to play the trumpet (and occasionally the bass drum) with several other brass bands and smaller jazz groups before becoming the leader of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band after the death of leader Herman Sherman. The Young Tuxedo Brass Band was first formed in the 1930s by clarinetist John Casimir and was among the most visible group in community parades and funerals for many years. In 1958 The young Tuxedo became the first New Orleans brass band to record on a major label, producing the Atlantic record’s iconic 1958 Jazz Begins – a collection of classic parade and jazz funeral music. Gregg developed a close relationship with Danny Barker and became a long-time member of Barker’s Jazz Hounds, which he took over after Barkers death in 1994. He is one of only a few current New Orleans musicians to develop his own unique authentic classic jazz sound and expression. Stafford has remained true to his community roots and has been a long-time member of two parading black social clubs: the Young Men Olympian Benevolent Association (the city’s oldest such group, formed in 1884) and the Black Men of Labor, of which he became a founding member in 1993. Gregg Stafford has been an outspoken advocate of traditional band band music and decorum in jazz funerals and a critic of some of the later practices seen in many current funerals.
BENNIE PETE is a tuba (sousaphone) player who in 1993 formed and still leads one of the most popular modern style New Orleans brass bands, the Hot 8. The band began as a group of students from Fortier High School that came together from two other young groups and practiced regularly in the uptown A. L. Davis Park. The band began to attract crowds of neighborhood people and people returning home after work. Soon it became a New Orleans party, with throngs of people eating, dancing, drinking, and enjoying the music of the young band. Although they were first inspired by the modern brass band style of the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth groups, audience requests led them to expand and incorporate classic and current rhythm & blues songs – especially Motown hits. Bennie Pete describes the band’s unique style as “funk” – a mixture of modern and traditional jazz, rhythm & blues, soul, funk, and rap. The Hot 8 has remained as one of the favorite bands in community “second line” parades and funerals, but has also expanded to perform in nightclubs and at festivals. The group was one of several brass bands to play at the popular Rampart Street bar Donna’s during the 1990s. Today the Hot 8 holds down regular Sunday gigs at both the Howlin’ Wolf Club and the Treme Art & Music Lounge.
Bennie Pete and the Hot 8 have overcome a number of tragic loses and devastating tragedies to also become a popular in touring band with a large international following. For the last several years they have toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. The band returned from a successful six-week long 2020 “Mardi Gras Tour,” throughout Europe just before the COVID pandemic. The Hot 8 performed in the final season of HBOs television series Treme. They also appeared in the Master P rap video Hootie Hoo and in Spike Lee’s 2006 Hurricane Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke. To date the Hot 8 has recorded nine albums, including the 2014 Smithsonian Folkways release Through the Streets of the City: New Orleans Brass Bands and their latest release Take Cover. As a tuba player, Bennie Pete has followed in the expanded and prominent tuba role established Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen, Kirk Joseph, and Phillip Frazier by developing his own version of rousing bass lines, riffs, and melodic parts. Bennie expresses a sincere understanding of today’s modern brass band tradition of which he is a stellar representative.
About Healdsburg Jazz Healdsburg Jazz is an organization that celebrates the indigenous American art form known as Jazz. Over the past two decades, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival has become a favorite local tradition with a growing national reputation. In addition to the annual festival, the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsors numerous free music education programs in Healdsburg area schools for primary and secondary school students, as well as for adults, and presents a series of Jazz Master concerts throughout the year.
This week, Basin Street Records is the focus of the long-running weekly radio show American Routes produced by Nick Spitzer in New Orleans since 1998. American Routes, which is distributed by PRX, reaches nearly a million listeners each week on over 268 stations and via its website.
The two-hour program can be listened to on-demand on the American Routes website now.
New Orleans’ own Basin Street Records is a homegrown record label featuring superstars of the local sound like the Rebirth Brass Band, Davell Crawford, Jason Marsalis and Kermit Ruffins. The label got its start with a live recording of Kermit’s band at the Uptown club Tipitina’s in 1997. Now, over two decades later and several Grammy Awards under its belt, Basin Street Records still holds true to the sounds of New Orleans. We talk with Basin Street founder Mark Samuels about the label’s history. We listen in on the artists that call it home, including Jon Cleary, whose “Quarantini Sessions” streaming live from his Funk Headquarters in the 9th Ward are helping us get through these challenging times. Then, a live concert and conversation with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers from Esplanade Studios in the Historic Treme neighborhood of New Orleans.