Read & Spin

Book Reviews

The Incomparable Magazine Street by John Magill, Photography by Margot Landen Take a virtual stroll through history along Magazine Street, New Orleans’ celebrated and six-mile stretch of shops, boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, groceries and so much more. The Incomparable Magazine…

Book Reviews

All Dat New Orleans by Michael Murphy ★★★★  Just in time for New Orleans’ 300th birthday, New Orleans author Michael Murphy explores the sights, sounds and spices of the city. Murphy, who fell in love with New Orleans after a…

In Other Words

Jazz bio: Local jazz fans will enjoy Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughn by Elaine M. Hayes. Legendary singer Sarah Vaughn’s story not only encompasses her rise to fame as a performer, but also her fight for…

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Non-Fiction for Saints Fans: What does it take to become a billionaire? How does financial and business success affect family relationships and public persona? When you live in New Orleans, it’s hard not become a Saints fan, and impossible not…

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JAZZ/HIP-HOP: Parking Lot Symphony, by Trombone Shorty.  A powerful album filled with echoing horns and vocals from celebrity New Orleanian Trombone Shorty, Parking Lot Symphony has a great balance of smooth and slow jazz, booming brass, hip-hop, blues and upbeat…

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YOUTH: Whether you are 9 or 99, Young Comic’s Guide to Telling Jokes Volumes 1 and 2 by New Orleans comedian Michael Strecker are full of light-hearted giggles for everyone. Children these days can find it difficult to connect with…

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TRAVEL A self-proclaimed “compulsive reader,” author Terri Peterson Smith provides lots of travel advice for fellow book fans in Off The Beaten Page: The Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs and Girls on Getaways. Smith shares some tips for…

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PETS New Orleans resident and author of the bestseller The Dogs Who Found Me has dedicated his latest book to a particular type of dog: the pit bull. In I’m A Good Dog, Ken Foster explores the lives of pit…

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CD Jimmy Robinson’s latest album, Guitarworks, is almost all guitar, and it certainly all works. Almost all of the 15-track record are Robinson’s original compositions, although he borrows “Hurt” from Trent Reznor, “Little Wing” from Jimi Hendrix and “Eight Miles…

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CD  What does a British actor who plays a New Jersey physician know about New Orleans music? Maybe nothing, but of his detractors, Hugh Laurie would just say, Let Them Talk. Laurie rasps through more than a dozen classic Big…

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CD   Budding singer-songwriter Kerry Hayes recently relocated to New Orleans, bringing with her the music from her original album Somebody Else. Her throaty alto tackles ballads and blues with consistent aplomb; while her subject matter shows some measure of restraint…

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CD | Rahael Bas fuses New Orleans jazz and Old World “gypsy” styling in his latest record, Harmonouche, applying liberal doses of harmonica and also the pandeiro, a Portuguese instrument similar to – but more versatile than – the tambourine. Besides harmonica…

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CD  Tin Fish Tango is the third album from New Orleans’ experimental jazz group Plunge. It is also their second album sans drums, but bassist James Singleton and visiting sousaphonist Kirk Joseph (of Dirty Dozen Brass Band fame) keep the…

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Irvin Mayfield recently released a memoir of sorts, A Love Letter to New Orleans (see below), though the final product is part photo-essay and all about the music. The songs that correspond to the book were released in an accompanying…

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New York writer Dan Baum penned a post-Hurricane Katrina narrative in 2009 called Nine Lives, a novel that chronicled nine individuals recovering from the hurricane. Composer Paul Sanchez and screenwriter Colman deKay saw potential in the musical themes of the…

Restaurant Insider

Profane Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay  brought his Kitchen Nightmares reality show to the area recently to re-work local eatery Zeke’s (1515 Metairie Road). The result is a stripped-down menu that keeps focus on local ingredients and recipes, but adds a…

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Bluegrass and jazz come together in American Legacies, a collaboration between the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band. Even the album’s song titles illustrate the marriage of the genres, with such tracks as “Jambalaya” and “Shoeshine Blues.”…

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CD – North Carolina native Seth Kauffman made his way onto the radar of New Orleans record label Park the Van with his first album, Research, released under his own name, before adopting the pseudonym Floating Action for a self-titled…

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CD –– With Cassandra Wilson’s latest jazz album, Silver Pony, she had a tough act to follow: herself. Wilson won a Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2008’s Loverly, along with other accolades, so her newest project had…

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The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t apply in the case of these educators. The Professors of Pleasure: Tulane University Faculty Band, Volume Two, presented by John Doheny, a collaboration of Tulane University Jazz Performance…

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Putumayo World Music, founded by New Orleanian Dan Storper, is now a worldwide effort to embrace all musical stylings and cultures. The organization features artists from throughout the world. Its latest release is World Christmas Party, a compilation of Latin,…

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Long gone are the days of 1960s psychedelic rock and the British invasion – or so we thought. New Orleanian AM recently released his debut album Future Sons & Daughters, the Abbey Road Studios-mastered vinyl edition of which was made…

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Amanda Shaw’s well-rounded Good Southern Girl updates the fiddler’s fans of her growth on the stage and in life; she just “made” 20 and it’s apparent as she belts out “One Night Stand.” Upbeat and saucy – like the star…

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Give back to the city’s music community while treating yourself to Music Redeems, a live album featuring Ellis, Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis along with friends Harry Connick Jr., Eric Revis on bass and Herlin Riley on…

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The lovely Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue soothe and please us with Set Two; it’s a toe-tapping album with 13 tracks, two of which were penned by the Gal (Vanessa Niemann) and Honky Tonkers Dave Brouillette and Dave…

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Big Sam’s Funky Nation’s King of the Party is an energetic fourth album that adds more jazz, rock and hip hop to the group’s already awesome repertoire of funk. Leader Big Sam Williams is one with his trombone; his cocky…

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Trumpeter Christian Scott brings us an intricately beautiful and psychologically heavy album as his latest gift to contemporary jazz. Yesterday You Said Tomorrow also features guitarist Matthew Stevens, pianist Milton Fletcher Jr., bassist Kristopher Keith Funn and drummer Jamire Williams.…

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The 25th Anniversary Remastered Edition of Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now is pure energy with its screaming and thumping grooves that mimic the happy-go-lucky attitude of the city. It slows down a bit with a…

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Jazz Playground from Putumayo Kids is a fun, upbeat collection that will keep both kiddies and adults smiling. New Orleans artist Ingrid Lucia’s beautiful “This Little Light of Mine” is a standout; introduce the wee ones to live music with…

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PRESERVATION: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall and The Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program is the kind of CD you should enjoy when picking up your Mardi Gras guests at Louis Armstrong Airport. Nineteen perfectly charming tracks by the Preservation…