Blue Note Entertainment Group Celebrates 1st New York Brass and Heritage Festival, Now thru 1/12
Blue Note Entertainment Group has announced its first-annual NEW YORK BRASS AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL, a celebration of New Orleans music and culture today, January 7-12, 2014. Artists including THE REBIRTH BRASS BAND, THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, THE DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND, KELLER WILLIAMS AND THE TRAVELIN' MCCOURYS and more will take to the stage at Blue Note Jazz Club, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, The Highline Ballroom, Lucille's Bar & Grill, and Drom, bringing a mix of New Orleans jazz-fusion, blues and brass for six nights of unforgettable Southern comfort.
"New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, so paying tribute to the city by showcasing both renowned and up-and-coming artists under the Blue Note banner was a natural fit for us," said Steven Bensusan, President, Blue Note Entertainment Group. "Given the success of our annual Blue Note Jazz Festival in June, we thought bringing a bit of the Big Easy to the Big Apple would be a great way to heat things up for New Yorkers in January."
The NEW YORK BRASS AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL will highlight both the legendary artists and up-and-coming stars from and inspired by the Southern jazz scene. Specific highlights include:
- New Orleans institution, The Rebirth Brass Band, will take over the Blue Note Jazz Club with a four-day residency beginning January 7th, performing two shows each night (8:00 PM and 10:30 PM) and culminating with a special NEW YORK BRASS AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL after-party on January 10th (12:30 AM). Formed in 1983 by tuba/sousaphone player Philip Frazier, his brother, bass drummer Keith Frazier, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. Committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands while at the same time incorporating modern music into their show, The Rebirth Brass Band's signature brand of brass funk has won over several generations of music lovers, and in a post-Katrina world, their name and music has become the soundtrack to their musically rich hometown.
- On January 7th, New York City's best live blues bands will congregate at Lucille's Bar & Grill for a night of all-star music (8:00 PM and 10:00 PM). Featuring The Harlem Blues Project and a revolving cast of NYC's finest blues musicians, the night will include performances from legendary American Blues musician Bill Sims, Jr., New York Blues Hall of Famers Michael Hill and Jerry Duggar and more.
- New Orleans brass band ensemble The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will headline at The Highline Ballroom on January 10th (8:00 PM). Formed in 1977 by Benny Jones with members of the Tornado Brass Band, The Dirty Dozen revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop into traditional New Orleans jazz, and have been a major influence on the majority of New Orleans brass bands ever since. With an appetite for musicological adventure, a commitment to honor tradition while not being constrained by it, and a healthy sense of humor, The Dirty Dozen have brought the world an unexpected blend of R&B, jazz, funk and Afro-Latino grooves, combined with some Caribbean flavor, and even a little Rihanna. Joining The Dirty Dozen is Red Baraat, a pioneering eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound - a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra rhythms with elements of jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip-hop. In 2013 Red Baraat released Shruggy Ji which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music Charts. At the same time, Red Baraat occupied three of the top ten selling records on iTunes North American World Music sales charts. In June, Red Baraat issued Big Talk, a platter of songs recorded during the Shruggy Ji sessions, which also included remixes by friends and bandmates from TV on the Radio and Antibalas.
- Five-time GRAMMY Award winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama will be joined by Allen Toussaint, Ruthie Foster and Paul Thorn at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on January 10th (7:00 PM). Touring throughout the South during the 1940s and 1950s, The Blind Boys persevered and even flourished thanks to their unique sound, which blended the close harmonies of early jubilee gospel with the more fervent improvisations of hard gospel. Few would have expected them to still be going strong after so many years since they first joined voices. In 2001, they released Spirit of the Century on Peter Gabriel's RealWorld label, mixing traditional church tunes with songs by Tom Waits and the Rolling Stones, and winning their first GRAMMY Award. Following, they backed Gabriel on his album Up, joined him on a world tour, and their cover of Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" was selected by David Simon as the theme song for the first season of The Wire. Subsequent GRAMMY-winning albums have found them working with Robert Randolph & the Family Band (2002's Higher Ground), a plethora of special guests including Waits and Mavis Staples (2003's Go Tell It On The Mountain), Ben Harper (2004's There Will Be a Light), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2007's Down in New Orleans). Joining The Blind Boys is New Orleans composer, arranger, producer, pianist and singer, Allen Toussaint, who has created an enduring body of work that includes local hits by Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey; songs covered by Glen Campbell, the Rolling Stones and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; national hits by Ernie K-Doe and LaBelle; and collaborations with Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, all in addition to his own recording career. Recently awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama, Toussaint will treat fans to a rare, intimate performance. In addition to Toussaint, Ruthie Foster will take to the stage at B.B. King's, bringing her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. Foster's 2009 album, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster, was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album, and at the 2010 Blues Music Awards, Foster was announced as Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. In addition to leading her own band and touring around the world, Foster has also collaborated on stage and has recorded with a diverse list of artists including Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Bibb. Rounding out the night at B.B. King's is critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Paul Thorn. Hailed as the "Mark Twain of Americana," Thorn has been pleasing crowds for years with his muscular brand of roots music - bluesy, rocking and thoroughly Southern, yet also speaking universal truths. His album, Pimps & Preachers topped the Americana charts for 3 weeks and broke into the Billboard Top 100, cementing Thorn as a gifted storyteller and staple within the musical genre.
- At Lucille's Bar & Grill on January 10th is bandleader and prolific songwriter Irving Louis Lattin (8:00 PM). Having grown up with the blues and gospel music of Mahalia Jackson, the Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Motown, Memphis/Stax and the British Invasion, Lattin began writing songs when he was 17 and started playing the piano at 25. His signature blend of rhythm and blues, and pop and funk has earned him recognition around the world along with the reputation for being a powerful live solo act. Later, The High and Mighty Brass Band will play a special Dirty Dozen & Rebirth Brass After-Party (10:30 PM). Co-mingling band members from New Orleans, NYC, and a host of other cities across the globe, this dynamic ensemble has the unique ability to combine classic New Orleans funk and R&B with more modern Afro-Beat and hip hop influences.
- Head over to Drom late night on January 11th for PitchBlak Brass Band (1:30 AM). The Brooklyn-based 10-piece band's style and sound represents hip-hop from the 1980s to present day. A collective of young musicians, composers and artists, PitchBlak embodies the contemporary and vibrant undercurrents of New York City. The band's members have incredibly diverse musical backgrounds, allowing them to infuse hip-hop driven music with funk, rock, jazz and classical genres, resulting in a fresh style, rich brass harmonies, lyrical hooks, and tongue-twisting raps, and rhythms.
- New York-based blues band French Cookin' will heat things up at Lucille's Bar & Grill on January 11th (8:00 PM). Playing a variety of styles firmly rooted in blues music, members of French Cookin' range from the Delta to Chicago, back down to Texas and Louisiana "second line." The band is known for bringing a unique touch to the blues art form, playing an extensive selection of original titles all while presenting the blues in a contemporary vein that preserves the essence of the genre.
- Keller Williams with The Travelin' McCourys will perform at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on January 12th (8:00 PM). Brought together by equal parts mutual admiration and the desire to change the musical landscape while staying true to their roots, Keller Williams with The Travelin' McCourys are a perfect - albeit unexpected - fit. With their high energy, ever-evolving live shows, their individual playing prowess, and unique song writing skills, the combination is a perfect marriage of instrumental virtuosos, memorable songwriting, infectious musical camaraderie, and undeniable energy.
For additional information on THE NEW YORK BRASS AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL, visit nybrassheritage.com.
Blue Note Entertainment Group was founded in 1981 by Danny Bensusan with the opening of the legendary Blue Note jazz club in New York's Greenwich Village. The Blue Note quickly became one of the first venues in the country to present jazz in an intimate, upscale setting, and Mr. Bensusan has been credited with revitalizing jazz in New York City. Mr. Bensusan led the expansion of the Blue Note brand overseas by spearheading the opening of Blue Note jazz clubs in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, as well as in Milan, Italy. In addition to owning and operating the Blue Note, B.B. King Blues Club, the Highline Ballroom and the Howard Theatre, Blue Note Entertainment Group currently books talent for the Regattabar in Boston, MA, Showcase Live in Foxboro, MA, and the Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, MD. Subsidiaries of Blue Note Entertainment Group include the Grammy-nominated record label Half Note Records, whose catalogue includes over fifty titles recorded live at the Blue Note, as well as Blue Note Management Group, which boasts jazz legend McCoy Tyner as a client.