When people visit New Orleans, Louisiana, they come expecting to hear those great Creole rhythms that have permeated the Crescent City for more than a century. And, by most accounts visitors are rarely disappointed.
Enter vocalist and keyboard player Dr. John, a 40-year veteran of the New Orleans music scene and a lifelong advocate for the city's deep musical roots. Dr. John's latest musical delicacy, as its title suggests, has a little of this, that and the other.
Dr. John's N'awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'udda is a tribute to his hometown, and plays like a "who's who" of musical celebrities. In fact, there are some celebrities whose connections to "The Big Easy" date back to the days before there was a Louis Armstrong Park, a world-famous jazz festival, or one of the marvels of modern sports, the Louisiana Superdome. Among them, singers Eddie Bo and Dave Bartholomew, guitarist Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and percussionist Cyril Neville of the famed Neville Brothers band. And then there are those from beyond the city limits, like Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Mavis Staples and Randy Newman, who came to Piety Street Recording Studio to make their own special contribution to Dr. John's new CD.
While most musicians spend years honing their repertoires, Dr. John has built his into a vibrant musical gumbo. Sometimes raw, sometimes refined, but never bland, Dr. John's music is like a delicately prepared stew, original, spicy and full of surprises. It's no wonder so many friends heed the call to spend some quality studio time with the "Good Doctor." For example, B.B. King on "Hen Layin' Rooster."
Also joining in and adding local flavor on Dr. John's N'awlinz collection are the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton, and three rival tribes of Mardis Gras Indians who pound out syncopated Afro-Caribbean rhythms on tambourines, congas, bells and whistles.
Call it "voodoo funk," second-line jazz, country-blues, gospel or rock, Dr. John makes good on his delivery of "Dis Dat and D'udder."