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Henry Bulter has a Place Alongside the Great New Orleans Pianists


It can be argued whether the city of New Orleans did the rest of the country, and the world, its greatest favors by creating a relaxed and open lifestyle — freer of the racism of other cities — and giving us great pianists, great trumpeters or great food.

Here is a lively debate: What is best about New Orleans: The trumpet players, the pianists or the food? A case can be made for either of the three. What is certain is that the world’s ears and stomachs are lucky that the city exists. Henry Butler is an underappreciated part of that grand tradition. Click on this link for “Vu Du Menz” from Henry Butler and Corey Harris from Amazon and from iTunes.
Of course, there doesn’t have to be a winner. All of those gifts are great. Let’s focus a bit on the great piano legacy. Three names that quickly come to mind are Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and Champion Jack Dupree. There are many others, of course.

Another great who has not het gotten his due is Henry Butler. Butler, according to Pop Matters, began by releasing albums that were “straight-ahead jazz.” Later, Butler — who was blind from birth — began focusing on his hometown and its profound ivory legacy.

Bsince Street Records, Butler’s label, says that he has been nominated for the Pinetop Perkins (formerly W.C.Handy) Best Blues Instrumentalist Award 10 times. It counts his influences as jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues and R&B. It is easy to assume that at least a few others snuck in their as well. Butler is very much alive and actively touring.

Above is “Shake What Your Mama Gave You,” with Butler accompanied by Correy Harris. Below is “L’espirit de James.”

Home page photo: Bull Rider