7th Annual Backbeat Jazzfest Series Initial Lineup

Article Contributed by Backbeat Foundation | Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Backbeat Foundation began its Backbeat Jazzfest Series in 2006, crossing our fingers and hoping that the music lovers who annually descend upon our city would not let Hurricane Katrina silence the music, passion and kinetic energy of the night.  The fans did not disappoint and now 7 years later we continue to celebrate the MUSIC.

Many of you have followed us from our humble beginnings and inaugural series on Gravier St., to the legendary Café Brazil, the veritable 3 ring circus at Colton and the mysterious Temple.  In 2012 the Backbeat Jazzfest Series will once again traverse the town with shows at The Temple, Tipitina's French Quarter, Blue Nile, 12 Bar and the new Café Istanbul.  The line up will take you on a musical globetrot always returning to the roots of New Orleans.   Backbeat strives to create not just concerts but happenings, encouraging new collaborations on stage and helping to create unique experiences for our supporters and the musicians alike.

The 2012 initial lineup includes: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Soulive;  George Porter Jr. & Runnin' Pardners; Big Sam's Funky Nation; Tab Benoit; Ivan Neville's Piano Sessions Vol. 2; MASHUP: feat. Ike Stubblefield. Terence Higgins and Grant Green Jr; Cyril Neville's: Nevillution; Honey Is Theresa Andersson; Dr. Klaw: feat. Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch, Nick Daniels and Ian Neville; Pedrito Martinez Group; Funky Butt Revisited; Debo Band; Slavic Soul Party!; Stooges Brass Band; Khris Royal & Dark Matter; Flow Tribe; Mia Borders and many more.

Tickets:  Tickets for all shows are available online at www.backbeatfoundation.org


The Temple - 619 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA - www.thetemplenola.com

Tipitina's French Quarter - 233 N. Peters Street, New Orleans, LA - www.tipitinas.com     

Blue Nile - 532 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA - www.bluenilelive.com     

Café Istanbul - 2372 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans, LA - www.cafeistanbulnola.com

12 Bar - 608 Fulton Street, New Orleans, LA  - www.12barnola.com

 As our audience has come to expect and enjoy, the Backbeat Jazzfest Series continues to support the Let's Be Totally Clear initiative and is smoke-free.

Backbeat Foundation also would like to thank Whole Foods Market, The Louisiana Division of the Arts and The Arts Council of New Orleans for their continued support.

 About the Backbeat Foundation

The Backbeat Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt Louisiana non-profit corporation established in September 2005 in New Orleans to address the critical needs facing the local artist community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since its initial formation as a disaster relief organization, the Foundation has become a long-term partner and resource to local artists through art presenting and supporting activities. . The mission of the Backbeat Foundation is to foster support of the rich New Orleans cultural heritage through the presentation of innovative arts and music programming and community based events and projects. For more information, please visit www.backbeatfoundation.org.


Carolina Chocolate Drops 


Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Temple

Friday April 27th  10 PM  


In 2010, with the release of their Nonesuch recording, Genuine Negro Jig, the group confirms its place in the music pantheon. With its tongue in cheek, multiple-meaning title, the album ranges boldly from Joe Thompson's Cindy Gal to Tom Waits' Trampled Rose and Rhiannon's acoustic hip hop version of R&B artist Blu Cantrell's Hit 'Em Up Style.


Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops' style as "dirt-floor-dance electricity".  If you ask the band, that is what matters most.  Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone's music.  It's OK to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.


George Porter Jr. & Runnin Pardners

George Porter Jr.


Week 1                                                                                 Week 2  

                                The Temple                                                               Tipitina's French Quarter

Friday April 27th  1 AM  (technically Sat. April 28)            Friday May 4th 1 AM (technically Sat. May 5th)

George Porter, Jr. is best known as the bassist of The Meters, along with Art Neville, Leo Nocentelli and Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste. The group was formed in the mid 60's and came to be recognized as one of the progenitors of funk then called R&B.

 Porter is also the band leader of his own unique long term project the Runnin' Pardners, well respected not only as a quintessential New Orleans band, the touring band continues to receive accolades on the jam band and festival scene. He has assembled some seasoned and talented musicians to join him on this project. Familiar Pardners - Brint Anderson (guitar) and, Michael Lemmler (keyboards) and rising stars on the New Orleans music scene Khris Royal (saxophone) and Terrence Houston (drums). George Porter Jr. plans to keep a smile on his face." I feel like I am working towards something that will be remembered."


Debo Band / Slavic Soul Party! / Stooges Brass Band

Blue Nile Balcony Room

Friday April 27th
   10 PM

Debo, Slavic Soul Party, Stooges Brass Band 

Debo Band is an 11-member group led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye.  The New York Times describes Debo Band as, "... a Boston group devoted to the Ethiopian funk of the late 1960s and '70s: fierce, jagged, complex and galvanizing music. With a beefy horn section, biting violins and a lead singer with a convincing Ethiopian quaver, the group brought back a live version of a style that was never recorded as vividly."


Throbbing funk grooves, fiery Balkan brass, Gypsy accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! NYC's official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk. SSP! has created an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York's neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting. SSP!'s music has won the ear of fans and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, and their tunes have been learned by Serbian brass stars Boban Markovic Orkestar and New Orleans funk sensations Galactic, among others.

The Stooges Brass Band has been a premier New Orleans Brass Band since 1996. While appealing to the emotions of traditional jazz, the brass band uses their hip-hop influence to create a new sound. Their innovative incorporation of hip-hop sound to the traditional styling of New Orleans brass band music has set them apart from other New Orleans bands and allowed The Stooges Brass Band to develop an extraordinary performance history, including sharing the stage with Ray Charles, Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli), Jessica Simpson, Jadakiss.  "The Stooges Brass Band puts on one of the most entertaining, audience-interactive shows of any band on the scene." 


Flow Tribe



Flow Tribe

Blue Nile Balcony Room

Saturday April 28th   10 PM


Straight out of New Orleans and into your earholes, Flow Tribe comes at you with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. They create "backbone cracking music", a soul shaking mixture of styles and sounds guaranteed to drive you wild. These are 6 seasoned performers who have shared the stage with the likes of Trombone Shorty, Juvenile, and BIll Summers just to name a few. A relentlessly touring band that plays major venues and festivals around the country bringing with them a heat and passion best described as "bizarrely irresistible".


Royal Southern Brotherhood plus other special guests

With Mia Borders

Tipitina's French Quarter

Saturday April 28th 10 PM

Royal Southern Brotherhood  Mia Borders

The Royal Southern Brotherhood: Before they even hit a chord, Royal Southern Brotherhood has your attention. In the US South, where music is religion, two rock 'n' roll bloodlines tower above all others. In the saloon bars from Mississippi to Maryland, mere mention of the Allman and Neville Brothers casts a magic spell. Conversation falls silent. Pool balls stop rolling. Ten-gallon hats are tipped in respect and beer-bottles raised in salute. These aren't just bands, they're gods, and with a lineup comprising both the iconic Cyril Neville and Devon Allman, Royal Southern Brotherhood come pre-loaded with expectations. Don't worry: they can match them.

As a native of New Orleans, Mia Borders is an artist that represents the kaleidoscope of sounds that influence contemporary New Orleans' music. Perhaps, best described as swamp infused, rhythm and blues with a sprinkling of rock n' roll, Mia is a dynamo on stage delivering songs that come with a sense of urgency.  The Houston Press wrote "Artists like Mia Borders are what makes festivals like iFest worth going to - walk up to the stage with no idea who this person is and walk away a fan."


Ivan Neville 

  Ivan Neville's Piano Sessions: Vol. 2

Blue Nile - Special Early Show

Wednesday May 2nd   8 PM 

Ivan Neville was blessed not only with a pedigree and last name that are golden in the music world, but also the skills to back them up. A conservative sample of the impressive list of bands Ivan has either recorded or performed with includes The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Gov't Mule, John Mayer, Keith Richards, and The X-pensive Winos, to name a few.  The Charleston City Paper wrote - "Ivan Neville, quite possibly the coolest man on the planet, is the son of the Neville Brothers' Aaron Neville. He is the mastermind behind Dumpstaphunk and the man behind the organ. Throughout the show, his fingers danced effortlessly from key to key as he joked with the crowd about everything from "shakin' that thang" to Forrest Gump ("They was tryin' to grab you Jenny!"). His antique keyboard set-up appeared to be held together by a set of ropes and cranks, but it still filled the room with plenty of "dirty funk," as he called it." 



 Gravity A

Gravity A plus Special Guests

Blue Nile

Wednesday May 2nd  11 PM


Developing out of a city that is inundated with musical vibrations, Gravity A exhilarates New Orleans' rich musical tapestry with their fresh, dynamic energy and innovative sound. This five years old quartet is inspired by the soulful jazz expressions and second-line fusions of their hometown, yet still draws heavily upon the eclectic possibilities of electronic progressions. Gravity A has become the torchbearer for the city's late night soundtrack featuring the unmistakable sound of true New Orleans funk, tight drum n' bass breaks and intoxicating trance. The band's unique sound is highly dependent upon the musicians' passion for live instrumentation and improvisation, which often lends itself to a rambunctious adventure grooving through sunrise. As opposed to Newton's well-known gravity b, Gravity A has taken their name from the force responsible for the cohesion and semblance of all subatomic matter.




Cyril Neville's : NevillutionCyril Neville's : Nevillution

Blue Nile

Thursday May 3rd  10 PM


Cyril Neville maybe the last great voice of New Orleans music. One of the four Neville Brothers, Cyril Neville was the youngest, with Nevillution Cyril is representing both the evolution and revolution of Neville music  across time and generations.  Bridging the gap between funk and rap, as well as art and politics, Cyril Neville stands tall as a fulcrum point between like-minded cultures. Long before KRS-One infused his boom-bap with dancehall chatting, Neville was incorporating reggae rhythms into his second-line repertoire.


 Gravity A

Honey Island Swamp Band

Blue Nile

Thursday May 3rd  1 AM

Great music begins with great songs, and great songs are what the Honey Island Swamp Band is all about. The band came together after 4 friends were marooned in San Francisco after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Formed on the strength of timeless songs from Aaron Wilkinson and Chris Mulé, HISB's "Bayou Americana" sound has been compared to the music of such forefathers as Lowell George, Earl King, Taj Mahal, Jerry Garcia, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Gram Parsons and Jimmy Reed. 





 The Temple

Friday May 4th 10 PM


Not many bands can say they've recorded with Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli and John Scofield. Nor can many bands open for The Rolling Stones on one tour and have Stevie Wonder sit in with them on the next tour. The developed musical relationships, from the aforementioned artists to Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker, Susan Tedeschi, Karl Denson, Robert Randolph, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Fred Wesley, The Roots, Ivan Neville and so many others, speak volumes about both how versatile these talented musicians are.  Jazz, hip-hop, rock, soul, funk, R & B, Blues - musically, there is not much the band hasn't done.


Tab Benoit

Tab Benoit plus very special guests

Tipitina's French Quarter

Friday May 4th 10 PM  

Tab Benoit is that essential Louisiana Roots Artist. In his bag he hauls along a tight band of musicians as well as many of the styles that are indigenous to the region including Rock, Funk, Blues, Zydeco, R&B, Cajun, and even Country. His raw tone and honest grit has been locking fans into his ever growing fan base for over 18 years and with three Grammy award nominations, nearly a dozen Blues Music Awards, and an arsenal of some of the best music the region has produced with his 2011 Telarc/ Concord release he has proven that good "MEDICINE" goes a long way. - USA Today


 MASHUP: feat. Ike Stubblefield, Terence Higgins, Grant Green Jr. plus special guests with Pedrito Martinez Group

MASHUP: feat. Ike Stubblefield, Terence Higgins, Grant Green Jr. plus special guests

with Pedrito Martinez Group

Blue Nile

Friday May 4th  10 PM

Hammond B3 virtuoso Ike Stubblefield is a music industry legend. With almost 50 years in the business, you may think he's seen and done it all, but he's just getting started. One reviewer wrote ""The B3 organ at the hands of a player like Ike Stubblefield becomes a force of nature,".  Terence Higgins, former drummer for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band , is as well versed in the churning New Orleans funk style as any man can be.

Grant Green, Jr. is the son of jazz legend Grant Green and has without question inherited his father's musical chops. 

The Pedrito Martinez Group has its roots planted firmly in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition and in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of the music of Yoruba and Santeria. Ben Ratliff summed it up aptly for the New York Times (June 15, 2010) calling it, "complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk."


Big Sam's Funky Nation

Big Sam's Funky Nation Big Sam's Funky Nation

Blue Nile

Friday May 4th 1 AM  (technically Sat. May 5th)

Big Sam's Funky Nation is a driving force of urban funk. The band is led by trombone powerhouse, Big Sam Williams, who the San Francisco Chronicle calls "the top man on the slide trombone in the birthplace of jazz." Big Sam refuses to let the audience sit still. Between the band's solos, Big Sam delivers signature dance moves and his distinctive trombone riffs - the energy level is high voltage when this band takes the stage!

The Funky Nation is a stellar group of world-class musicians who meet the challenges of their funky band leader. The band is comprised of Andrew Baham on trumpet/Vocals, Andrew Block on Guitar, Chocolate MILK on Drums, and Eric Vogel on Bass in addition to Big Sam on Trombone/Vocals. BSFN's signature Noladelic Powerfunk sound masterfully combines a rock sensibility with the improv-style associated with jazz and the horn-heavy front section that's the hallmark of big band funk.


Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra  

Brother Jocephus & The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra

Blue Nile Balcony Room

Friday May 4th 10 PM

Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra is a 12-piece explosion of righteousness blending New Orleans party music, Soul in the style of Ray Charles and Al Green, a good helping of jam-bandy Roots Rock, and a splash of upbeat Gospel (without the religious overtones - we like to call it secular gospel).  A Love Revival with Brother Joscephus is more than just excellent original live music. BroJo is also all about the spectacle and pageantry - it's a life changing EXPERIENCE! The orchestra is decked out in their finest whites (accented with the appropriate gold, purple and green of Mardi Gras). They break out parasols, start each set with a parade through the audience and throw out hundreds of Mardi Gras beads over the course of a show. When the parade starts grooving the crowd can't help but have a good time. It's undeniable!!


Mike Dillon Band Mike Dillon Band & Yojimbo

Blue Nile Balcony Room

Friday May 4th 1 AM (technically May 5th)

Mike D as he is known, is a member of Critters Buggin, Les Claypool's Fancy Band and Garage A Trois to name a few as well as ringleader of Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle. He has performed and recorded with many musicians including Les Claypool, Galactic and Buffalo's own Ani DiFranco, as the featured percussionist on Red Letter Year and Canon and also performed with her band with her at Babeville. To watch Mike D. play is quite a thing; his entire body gets involved with the instruments and he rarely stops moving. His skill on percussion instruments of many stripes has kept Mike busy both on stage and in the studio. For his latest's project, Mike explores the history of his work while being backed by members of Yojimbo. One of NOLA's late night up and comers, Yojimbo features trombone beast, Carly Myers. Together they deliver a high powered evening of exploratory sounds, pushing Mike's diverse catalog of music to places far and new, night after night.


Theresa Andersson  

 Theresa Andersson

Tipitina's French Quarter

Saturday May 5th 10 PM

Swedish born, New Orleans based soul singer Theresa Andersson is ready to release a new record, Street Parade, a lush, joyful and sometimes melancholy ode to they city she calls home. A stunning vocalist and a talented multi-instrumentalist, Theresa is best known for her live shows, where she crafts complexly layered songs using bevy of drums, stringed instruments and looping pedals. Street Parade, reflects a dreamy Nordic pop sensibility firmly rooted and influenced by the warm gospel and soul sounds that drew the artist to New Orleans in the first place.


Dr. KlawDr. Klaw

Blue Nile

Saturday May 5th 10 PM 

Dr Klaw was born in Nawlins a few years ago when New York funk musicians Adam Deitch ( John Scofield, AWB), Nigel Hall(Warren Haynes band) and Eric Krasno of Soulive (all members of Lettuce) were visiting Nawlins Jazz fest for some gigs. Guitarist Ian Neville, son of organist and vocalist Art Neville of the legendary Meters, suggested they do some small late night gigs around town with his fellow Dumpstaphunk compatriot, the incredible Nick Daniels. Upon witnessing Nick "Dr Klaw" Daniels otherwordly, gospel influenced vocal skills and funk bass mastery, Nigel, Kraz, Deitch, and Neville knew that this group needed to be heard!

Hearing Nigel and Nicks amazing vocal styles together over a bed of swampy N.O. funk with a taste of NY soul, are the main ingredients that make Dr Klaw one of the premier PURE funk and soul acts out today.  Dr Klaw is like the aural equivalent of a fully dressed oyster Po boy sandwich with spicy cajun mustard/remoulade sauce, and it sure tastes good!


Funky Butt Revisited 

 Week 1                                                                               Week 2

Funky Butt Revisited                                                           Funky Butt Revisited

Big Sam Williams, Calvin Turner, Nikki Glaspie,          Big Sam Williams, Terence Higgings, Nigel Hall,

Will Bernard, Topaz, plus more                                        Doug Wimbish, Roosevelt Collier, plus more

Café Istanbul                                                                        Blue Nile

Sunday April 29 10 PM                                                      Sunday May 6th 10 PM


Led by trombonist extraordinaire, Big Sam Williams, The "Funky Butt Revisited" is an All-Star jam session reminiscent of the sights and sounds of The Funky Butt, a legendary music club, located across the street from Congo Square in Armstrong Park. Until the 2005 hurricanes shuttered the club, The Funky Butt embodied the Storyville-era when Rampart Street was the premiere street for smokin' hot jazz.

The Funky Butt was named after the original turn-of-the-century hall where (Big Sam's presumed great grandfather) the king of jazz, Buddy Bolden, played regularly. Pre-Katrina, the Funky Butt was owned and operated by Shanekah Peterson and Sammie Williams and was notorious for Big Sam's jam sessions with some of New Orleans's top legendary musicians, including Kermit Ruffins, Jason and Delfeayo Marsalis, Clarence Johnson III,  and Charmaine Neville. The "Funky Butt Revisited" recalls those legendary Sunday nights at the Funky Butt and will keep you dancing long into the night.