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PiaNOLA Live

Henry Butler

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Album Review

This is the first solo album Butler has ever cut, and one has to wonder why. It was cut live at various venues over the last 20 years, and with no liner notes it's impossible to tell if you're listening to the post-Katrina Butler at a club near his new home in Denver, or a New Orleans gig from the mid-'80s, not that you can tell the difference. The strong, rolling left-hand bass rhythms and playful right-hand arpeggios are in evidence in every track. "Orleans Interpretations," an original tune, echoes the Crescent City sounds of fonky jazz, rock, R&B, and second line strut. Butler sings both the bass and tenor parts of "Mother-in-Law." You can almost see him smiling as he launches into a scatted horn solo before taking the tune home. He gives Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" a slow, bluesy arrangement that accents the song's heartbroken feeling. He plays solemn left-handed gospel chords and drops in a few devil may care chuckles here and there to relieve his high, moaning vocals. The piano work and bluesy vocal on "You Are My Sunshine" makes it sound like a storm is brewing. Ominous rumbling bass chords compliment the sprinkling rainy right-hand arpeggios that bring the tune to a quiet conclusion. "Tipitina" gets an extended workout that starts slow and builds to a frenzied two-hand attack on the piano's upper registers that has the crowd shrieking and gasping. "North American Idiosyncrasies" closes the set with a slow blues full of rippling right-hand runs. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Great great great stuff

Elegant and graceful New Orleans stuff. Lovely and funky at the same time. I love this guy. He did time with Professor Longhair and then some. Wonderful.

WOW- why haven't you done this before???

I have one other Henry Butler album, and to be honest, it's average. This is stunning... I mean this guy hits it on all 8 cylinders. His rendition of Tipitina is off the hook. It's a beautiful combination of gospel, jazz and Fess... It's really brilliant. He really shows what he can do on his own - on this album. If you are a piano player, this is what you want to be when you grow up!!!! The mix on the piano is perfect.

Wow

Just wow.

Biography

Born: September 21, 1949 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Henry Butler's blues-based, New Orleans funk-style piano playing is not for every blues fan, to be sure. Butler is a local legend in New Orleans, but rarely tours other parts of the country; most any time of the year he can be found playing in one of New Orleans' famous night spots. It's not an exaggeration to say Butler is a piano genius who has yet to be discovered by the masses. His recordings demonstrate that he can do it all: he writes his own songs, does his own arrangements of classic tunes...
Full Bio
PiaNOLA Live, Henry Butler
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Blues, Music, Jazz
  • Released: Apr 29, 2008

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