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Henry Bulter has a Place Alongside the Great New Orleans Pianists

HT: SK

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

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.