These are in no particular order of ranking. This is purely in the order that I witnessed them. And in most cases WITNESSED is the perfect word.
[All photos by Marc Millman]
1) Dave Malone sitting in with Tommy Malone & The Mystik Drones @ the New Orleans Convention Center (7th Annual Threadhead party – Mardi Gras World, May 3)
Monday through Wednesday are the three “off days” between the two weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. They are referred to as the “Daze Between.” For the last seven years, the Threadheads have thrown a party to help support local musicians (this is what the group does in addition to being all things Jazz Fest). I was shoveling plate after plate of free crawfish into my face mere hours after landing in the Big Easy while Tommy and his band were playing. The music was great background music.
I had seen Dave and Tommy standing around earlier. But when Tommy announced Dave was joining them, I grabbed my gear and ran to the front and I’m glad I did. They did two songs together. I don’t know the names of either, but the love you could see between the brothers and the passion they have for playing live music came through. And that’s what Fest is all about. READ ON for more of Marc’s top Jazz Fest musical moments…
Yeah THEY Right!!! aka The Funky Meters @ Brooklyn Bowl, 2/15-17
FIVE YEARS. Seems kind of crazy but when somebody said to me the other night that it had been five years since the most popular version of N’awlins’ original Funk band had played New York, I had to think about it for a minute. And then I responded with what any true fan would say: “Yeah, you right.”
[Photos by Marc Millman]
The Meters formed at the tail end of the ’60s. They released Cissy Strut and Sophisticated Cissy in 1969. And with those songs, the four original members of the group (Art “Poppa Funk” Neville on organ, George Porter Jr. on bass, Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste on drums and Leo Nocentelli on guitar) helped to create a new genre in American music. Funk was born out of James Brown’s shift in style in the mid ’60s. And The Meters along with Sly & the Family Stone, George Clinton and other seminal acts like Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, the Ohio Players and Kool & the Gang brought a whole generation to the dance floor by getting people to dance “On the One,” as James used to shout at his band.
The Meters were THE backing band in New Orleans the way the Funk Brothers were at Motown or Booker T & the MGs were at Stax. But the band broke up in the mid ’70s during a dispute over recording contracts. Just over 10 years later, Porter decided to put a new version of the band together that would feature himself with Neville & Russell Batiste on drums. Guitar would be played by Brian Stoltz and sometimes by Nocentelli. And this is the version of the band that most of us grew up seeing regularly in the ’90s and beyond. But then…IT HAD BEEN FIVE YEARS!
READ ON for more from Marc on The Funky Meters…
It is this combination of new styles with their classic sound that make the Funky Meters a hit among later musicians and generations, and this performance is the epitome of that.