Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

467

Henry Butler: PiaNOLA Live

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
In a town famous for its piano virtuosos—Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo, Professor Longhair, James Booker, and even Harry Connick, Jr. (all New Orleans natives)—Henry Butler is a giant. Though his eclectic mixture of funk, blues, jazz, pop, schmaltz, rock and standards isn't everyone's cup of tea, his musical genius is legendary. Musicians and fans both hail Butler as the next piano superstar.

Butler is a quintuple-threat, being an excellent writer, arranger, interpreter, player and multi-instrumentalist. Though he hasn't yet been discovered by the masses, his latest CD, PiaNOLA Live should serve as a step in that direction.

This is the first completely solo recording that Butler, blind since birth, has released. The fact that it was recorded live makes it even more special.

The disc features 11 tracks of pure delight, beginning with the classic "Basin Street Blues," on which Butler pays homage to those who came before him by playing it in a truly New Orleans-esque manner. Butler also lays down some fine R&B piano on the Toussaint-penned, Ernie K-Doe hit "Mother-In-Law," a slow, heartfelt version of Otis Redding's "Dock Of the Bay" and his own rollicking, joyful composition "New Orleans Inspiration"—Butler's signature tune and tour de force.

Other highlights include Butler's version of Governor Jimmie Davis' "You Are My Sunshine," re-interpreted here as a blues and "North American Idiosyncrasies," composed by Alvin Batiste (who taught Butler at the Louisiana State School for the Blind). "Let 'Em Roll," which Butler previously recorded with Corey Harris on the guitarist's Vu-Du Menz (Alligator Records, 2000), features a stunning, thumping and powerful barrelhouse piano, followed by a slow-build to a frenzied version of Professor Longhair's "Tipitina."

The sounds that Butler coaxes, cajoles, pounds and brings forth from his instrument fill the entire room. It is both amazing and deeply satisfying to know that PiaNOLA Live was made by only one man and his piano.


Track Listing: Basin St. Blues; Orleans Inspiration; Mother-In-Law; Dock Of The Bay; Let 'Em Roll; Somethin' You Got; You Are My Sunshine; Tipitina; Will It Go Round in Circles; Old Man River; North American Idiosyncrasies.

Personnel: Henry Butler: piano, vocals.

Title: Pianola Live | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Basin Street Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Child in Me CD/LP/Track Review The Child in Me
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: November 23, 2017
Read The Way Home CD/LP/Track Review The Way Home
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read "Alaya" CD/LP/Track Review Alaya
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 9, 2017
Read "Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Lights & Promises: Redefining Janis Ian
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Gonimoblast Live" CD/LP/Track Review Gonimoblast Live
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Organ Monk, The Breathe Suite
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Sunset" CD/LP/Track Review Sunset
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor