Thursday, September 29, 2011

Osborne, Denson get Sticky Fingers

Anders Osborne, named the best guitarist in New Orleans by Offbeat magazine, will team up with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe to perform The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers album in its entirety on tour this fall. The New Orleans-based Osborne, whose Alligator debut CD American Patchwork has been hailed as the best of his career, will play guitar and share the Sticky Fingers vocals. Denson is a genre-bending saxophone player and singer who first came t o prominence playing in Lenny Kravitz's band. The performances on this tour -- a song by song interpretation of the classic Stones album -- promise to be a tour-de-force of masterful musicianship and mind-blowing showmanship.

The tour will begin in Los Angeles on October 13 and stretch through the beginning of November. In addition to playing with Denson's Tiny Universe, Osborne and his band will open many of the dates on the tour, performing songs from American Patchwork. The album, released in 2010, was celebrated by fans and critics alike. Paste said the CD was "mind-bogglingly great." Offbeat called it, "The living definition of great art."

Live, Osborne is a force to behold. His wildly energetic, physical live performances find him ripping notes out of his guitar, forcing out riveting steel-on-steel slide solos, pouring his entire soul into his vocals. His ability to ignite an audience is legendary. Past gigs include repeated appearances at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, stops at Bonnaroo, The High Sierra Festival, The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, The Hollowbaloo Music & Arts Festival in Honolulu, and even an appearance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He has toured North America and Europe extensively, and has performed with moe., Galactic, The Meters, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal and Little Feat, among many others.

Osborne is revered for his jaw-dropping guitar playing. His piercing slide-work and fluid finger picking (oftentimes happening simultaneously) are simply unmatched. His use of Open D tuning (a rare choice for a guitar virtuoso) gives his fretwork a signature sound and feel. His influences range from Ry Cooder and Robert Johnson to the great horn players like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Always an in-demand guitarist, Osborne has appeared on a host of recordings by Keb Mo, Tab Benoit, Mike Zito and others. Recently, Anders lent his guitar talents to Dark Water, Galactic's first single from their new Ya-Ka-May CD.

Since his recording debut in 1989, he has written virtually all of his own material and contributed memorable songs to a wide variety of artists. Two tunes co-written by Osborne appear on blues great Keb Mo's Grammy-winning 1999 release Slow Down. Country superstar Tim McGraw scored a #1 hit with Anders' song Watch The Wind Blow By. Osborne's compositions have been covered by artists as diverse as Brad Paisley, Tab Benoit, Edwin McCain, Jonny Lang and Kim Carnes. His song What's Going On Here appeared in the 1996 feature film Fled, and Osborne, along with Ivan Neville, wrote and recorded the title track for the Kate Hudson film Earthbound.

Leading the Tiny Universe, Denson brings new sounds and styles to everything he touches. NPR Music called him, "a drop-dead talent who can howl with the best jazzbos and even groove with the jam-band crowd. There's a spiritual center to it all that finds some surprising links to Bob Marley." While developing a following overseas, Denson joined Fred Wesley's band, touring and recording with him on multiple releases. This led to five straight-ahead jazz albums by Denson on Minor Music. In 1993, Denson joined DJ Greyboy in creating Greyboy Records and released the legendary acid jazz staple Freestylin'. Out of that collaboration, Denson formed The Greyboy Allstars. Denson next put more emphasis on vocals and added some funk, R&B and hip hop elements. It turned out to be a winning combination, which set his new group Karl Denson's Tiny Univers e on their current path.


10/13 - House Of Blues - Los Angeles, CA

10/14 - Belly Up - Solana Beach, CA

10/19 - Humboldt Brews - Arcata, CA (Anders opening)

10/20 - Moe's Alley - Santa Cruz, CA (Anders opening)

10/21-22 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA (Anders opening)

10/23 - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA (Anders opening)

10/28 - Boulder Theater - Boulder, CO (Anders opening)

10/29 - Town Park - Telluride, CO (Anders opening)

10/31 - Fillmore Auditorium - Denver, CO (Anders opening)

11/02 - Emerson Theatre - Bozeman, MT (Anders opening)

11/03 - Wilma Theatre - Missoula, MT (Anders opening)

11/04 - Neumos - Seattle, WA (Anders opening)

11/05 - Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR (Anders opening)

11/09 - The Georgia Theatre - Athens, GA (Anders opening)

11/12 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC (Anders opening)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beatles wouldn't play for Tea Party supporters

1965 Contract Disclosed That Beatles Refused to Play in Front of Segregated Audience
September 15, 2011 – LOS ANGELES, Calif. – A historic 1965 Beatles contract divulged that the Beatles were staunch civil rights supporters. The Beatles requested in the contract that they would not perform in front of a segregated audience at the Cow Theater in Daly City, California. The signed contract by Beatles manager Brian Epstein will be auctioned at Nate D. Sanders’ Tuesday September 20, 2011 auction.

In 1964, the Beatles made headlines when they initially refused to perform at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida because the concert was slated to be segregated. The Beatles performed only after city officials allowed the stadium to be integrated.

The contract between the Beatles management company Nems Enterprises, Inc. and legendary Bay Area concert promoter Paul Catalana was signed on March 24, 1965. It called for at least 150 uniformed police officers for protection and for “$40,000 guaranteed against 65% of the gross box office receipts over $77,000.” The August 31, 1965 concert at the Cow Theater was part of the Beatles’ third major United States tour.

Thank you, Wardell

When people ask me when I became interested in the music of New Orleans I always go back to my teenage years in Brooklyn when I listened to AM radio and bought the 45rpm singles that appealed to me the most as cutouts at a three for a dollar store on 42nd street in Times Square. The litany is familiar -- the Dixie Cups, Lee Dorsey, Chris Kenner; an irrisistible single called "Barefootin" by Robert Parker. I had no idea and didn't find out until years later that what all my favorite records had in common is that they were recorded in New Orleans. Oddly, it was only after I had written several articles about New Orleans arranger Wardell Quezergue that I realized all the songs that grabbed my teenage attention so forcefully were arranged by him. Sadly I never got a chance to thank Wardell for that influence on my life. But it's a big part of the reason I was at Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic church in New Orleans last Monday for Wardell's funeral mass and second line. The crowd outside the church was not especially large but it was made up almost completely of prominent figures in the New Orleans music industry -- musicians, writers, promoters, all people who marveled at Wardell's singular genius. The gathering was somber but joyous, a collection of people whose faith in each other was something like a family. I talked with some of the people there over the past week and wrote a story about the day which will appear in the next issue of OffBeat. There's no way I can fully express what it means to share such an experience. I only know I am profoundly grateful to all the people who were there for sharing the moment togther and making me feel included in it. Wardell's greatness was occluded during his life but hopefully will be accorded its rightful place in history.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ogden reading with Helen Gillet

Last night's reading from New Atlantis accompanied by one of the book's stars, Helen Gillet, was a truly magic evening. Helen played music from her new recording, Running With the Bells, accompanied by saxophonist/flautist Tim Green and drummer Doug Garrison. The music was by turns earthy, ethereal, spiritually sustaining, challenging and peaceful. The audience at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art listened carefully, then remained silent in rapt attention as I read passages from the book about Helen while she sat next to me, commenting occasionally on the text. We finished with a quote about how her experiences working with the Silence Is Violence community group helped her as an improvisor, and I used that as a jumping off point to begin the interview portion of the program with her. After we completed the interview Helen's band returned for another set and I signed books and talked with some of the wonderful people in attendance at the event. Just another example of the grace we all experience in this glorious city of New Orleans as it rebuilds itself in an image not born of greedy developers and political chiselers but of artists and artisans, people who find meaning in their work and are always looking to help each other reach a better place. Helen and I will join up again September 19th at the Observatory at Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn, New York, where she will perform, I'll read and talk with her and then I'll DJ a New Orleans dance party.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Atlantis on SIRIUS Radio 10 AM Sunday

The program scheduled for last Sunday on Dave Marsh's SIRIUS radio show was cancelled due to hurricane Irene and moved to Sunday, September 4 at 10 AM. I'll be Dave's guest as we play music related to New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans and Dave and I talk about the city's aesthetic revival. That's on SIRIUS Channel 30, "The Loft" station; Dave's show is called "Kick Out the Jams with Dave Marsh."