Professor Longhair: Big Chief and Tipitina

Professor Longhair was a New Orleans piano player who greatly influenced Dr. John. Here is the first paragraph of an interesting site dedicated to the colorful and eccentric musician:

Henry Roeland Byrd (a.k.a Professor Longhair) was Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, on December 19, 1918. The Henry Roeland Byrd story is fundamentally the story of an artist who created his own musical world, constantly refining and elaborating a distinctive personal style. It may have been too idosyncratic to ever capture mainstream popularity during Longhair’s lifetime, but it was so striking and individual that it ultimately became the definitive standard for New Orleans piano players. Continue Reading…

Here is more, from Alligator Records:

New Orleans is said to be a city where having a party has been elevated from a casual pastime to a way of life. Nobody understood this better than Professor Longhair, one of the pioneers of New Orleans rhythm & blues. His influence can be heard in Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, among many others. Known for his unique mix of blues, jazz, calypso, ragtime, and zydeco, “Fess” (as he was known) defined and captured the essence of New Orleans in his music. Born Henry Roeland Byrd in Bogalusa, Louisiana 1918, and raised in New Orleans, Fess started performing at an early age, often dancing down Bourbon Street for tips. Continue Reading…

Above is Big Chief and below is Tipitina.

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