The 2nd Annual Cliff Bell’s Mardi Gras! Laissez les bons temps rouler! Let the Good Times Roll! “Fat Tuesday” is the Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, so its time to party!
Percussionist/bandleader RJ Spangler has been playing the music of New Orleans for years and has performed there a number of times, including at the prestigious New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival* in 1996!
RJ and trombonist/singer Tbone Paxton have backed New Orleans greats like Johnny Adams (The “Tan Canary) and Earl King, composer of “Big Chief” as made famous by Fess Longhair, “Those Lonely, Lonely Nights” as covered by both Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Dale Hawkins, and most notably “Come On” which was covered by Jimi Hendrix, Dr John, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Freddie King & The Steve Miller Band. They did many gigs with these great artists from the Big Easy and really got to know their music.
RJ also went on to be the bandleader up north for pianist/singer Eddie Bo for many years. Edwin Joseph Bocage was known for his blues, soul and funk recordings, compositions, productions and arrangements. He debuted on Ace Records in 1955 and released more single records than anyone else in New Orleans other than Fats Domino. Eddie Bo worked and recorded for more than 40 different record labels, including Ace, Apollo Records, Arrow, At Last, Blue-Jay, Bo-Sound, Checker, Chess, Cinderella, Nola, Ric (for which business his carpentry skills were used to build a studio), Scram, Seven B, and Swan. He is described at Allmusic as “a sorely underappreciated veteran of the New Orleans R&B scene.”
For decades now RJ has assembled a crack band of specialists from all over the state to perform this music that includes sax men Dave Huber (Flint) and Bob Schultz (Jackson), also a great vocalist, James O’Donnell on trumpet & vocals (Lake Orion), Karl Probst (Lansing) piano and vocals with a young rhythm section of Jeff Cuny and Sean Perlmutter making their debut. Of course Tbone will be on trombone and vocals, doing yeoman duty as always.
They will do New Orleans traditional jazz, Mardi Indian chants and lots of FUNKY NOLA R&B.
There will be New Orleans food and Mardi Gras beads and masks !
More about Mardi Gras Indians: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mardi_Gras_Indians
*here is a link to a CD recorded by the band that weekend at a club, the band also included Trey Anastasio & Jon Fishman, both from the band Phish! https://homegrownmusic.net/store/cd/michael-ray-and-the-cosmic-krewe-live-at-jimmys