467

Henry Butler: PiaNOLA Live

Mike Perciaccante By

Sign in to view read count
Henry Butler: PiaNOLA Live 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.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Basin Street Records | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read Nightfall CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Pekka CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 22, 2017
Read In the Still of the Night CD/LP/Track Review In the Still of the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Zea CD/LP/Track Review Zea
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Asian Fields Variations CD/LP/Track Review Asian Fields Variations
by John Kelman
Published: May 21, 2017
Read Left Right Left CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "PointCounterPoint" CD/LP/Track Review PointCounterPoint
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "Solo Gemini" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Gemini
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "The Volume Surrounding the Task" CD/LP/Track Review The Volume Surrounding the Task
by John Eyles
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Love Song" CD/LP/Track Review Love Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Sélébéyone" CD/LP/Track Review Sélébéyone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 7, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, and provide read access to our future articles.