Soothing the savage breast

· bodega

Saw New Orleans piano genius Henry Butler last night with Amy DeNaio at the tiny 21 Grand performance space in Oakland (the show was produced by Earthwise, and Butler’s appearance is part of a Basin Street Records “invasion” of the bay area also featuring Kermit Ruffins and Jon Cleary at other venues).
Wow!
Butler is so amazing. He draws on blues, jazz, country, classical, and just plain atonal weirdness. He has a muscular pounding style heavy on the syncopation, and an incredibly deep voice. One song was just a long serious of tuneful moans—a good fit for DeNaio who does a lot of vocalese in her work as well (she played an accordion borrowed from the next-door shop and later a sax with an effects pedal she played with her hand for her vocals).
Mixed in with his own material, Butler reinterpreted Georgia on My Mind and, most thrillingly, the Entertainer.
What a night. Turned my bad mood from the daytime entirely around, as tired as I was.
Tonight it’s Bob Dylan at the Greek.
(Say, I’ve noticed that since I upgraded iTunes, iJournal is no longer able to detect the track currently playing….)

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