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It’s all about the music of New Orleanians

22nd July 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer

Dirty Word
(Louisiana Red Hot Records)

Funksters and those who relish solid musicianship and incredible vocal harmonies can just be glad that an album like Dirty Word is still being made – that the “one nation under a groove” remains vital. It’s a head noddin’, booty shakin’ disc that demands, as the opening cut declares – no screams—that what’s called for is “Dancin to the Truth.”

Ivan Neville is the captain of this New Orleans funk and groove spaceship with his crew of longtime musical collaborators giving the music flight. Dumpstaphunk-Dirty-Word-072These essentials include bassists/guitarists/vocalists Tony Hall and Nick Daniels, his cousin, guitarist Ian Neville and the newest member, drummer and vocalist Nikki Glaspie, formerly of Beyoncé’s band. If the spacey description sounds reminiscent of a depiction of P-Funk or even Sly & the Family Stone, well, Dumpstaphunk travels in similar orbits though it also packs New Orleans necessities for the trip.

What really sets Dumpstaphunk apart from others bands in the genre are the vocals. Each member of this group, except for Ian, is an extraordinary singer both as a soloist and working in a backup team. On “I Know What You Know,” each of the guys take a turn singing the lyrics then, along with Glaspie, come together as one amazing chorus. The result is flawless in tone and timing. This tune, as well as “Water”, one of two non-originals, includes the Grooveline Horns, a strong, often called on horn section that punches up the party.

Ivan Neville changes the pace as he takes center stage on the lament of “They Don’t Care.” It’s a beautifully and emotionally sung ballad though filled with a sad bitterness. There’s a touch of Ivan’s connection with the Neville Brothers band in the tune’s message and delivery.

Dumpstaphunk, a dynamite entity in itself, when augmented with horns just kicks as it does when Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and saxophonist Skerik jump in on “I Wish You Would.” They, as would be expected, add their collective jazz influences to send it soaring. Only complaint here is that it was over too soon.

Other guests include vocalist Ani Difranco on the title cut “Dirty Word” with Ivan Neville’s B3 organ in prominence and the fretmen and drummer banging it out. Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” comes in for the funk rock of “If I’m in Luck.”

The album exits in a New Orleans second line style on “Raise the House” with Ivan’s uncle and Ian’s father, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville on organ and vocals and Troy Andrews’ trombone joining the horns of the mighty Rebirth Brass Band. “Put your hands up…” is the call out on a tune that’s nothin’ but fun.

Dumpstaphunk gets down into the grit on that Dirty Word known as funk.

The band will be celebrating the release of its album on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at the Maple Leaf. It’s being heralded as a CD signing, “meet and greet” party with free food.

Lionel Ferbos – Blowin’ His Horn on His 102nd Birthday

The vibe couldn’t have been warmer at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe when on July 17, 2013 family, friends, musicians and music lovers gathered to celebrate trumpeter and vocalist Lionel Ferbos’ 102nd birthday. Though he was certainly the man of honor, Ferbos, who began playing trumpet at age 16 – that’s 87 years ago! – didn’t sit idly by and just smile at all his well-wishers. The consummate musician, Ferbos played and sang for three sets, hanging in there longer than some of the party guests.

Ferbos brought sincerity and a strong presence on such chestnuts as “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” a song made popular by pianist/singer Fats Waller in 1935, when Ferbos was in his mid-20s, and recorded the next year by New Orleans own Boswell Sisters. Performing with a band that included several other exceptional veteran New Orleans artists, bassist Peter “Chuck” Badie, 88, and trombonist Wendell Eugene, 90, Ferbos went to the classics like “Bourbon Street Parade.” Naturally, that resulted in an umbrella led second line weaving between the crowd and tables at the Decatur Street club.

As folks walked by the Palm Court, attendees often pointed out what was going on in the thoughtfully appointed club, saying: “The gentlemen singing right now – and that’s certainly an apt description of the always dignified Ferbos – is celebrating his 102nd birthday.” So informed, they looked through the window panes with amazement.

Lionel Ferbos played with now-historic bands – those led by notables like Captain John Handy, Walter Pichon and Harold Dejan among others. He was also a member of the W.P.A. Band and worked Mardi Gras balls with the Herbert Leary Orchestra from the 1950s through the 1970s. He has been performing with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra since 1971 and word is he will appear with the ensemble at the upcoming Satchmo SummerFest. These days, the trumpeter leads his own group, the Palm Court Jazz Band and is distinguished for being the oldest jazz musician still active on the scene.

Happy Birthday Lionel – see you at the Palm Court.

This article originally published in the July 22, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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