Some say it’s blues, others deem it jazz, but when you’re discussing the piano music of N’awlins, you’d best just call it the piano music of N’awlins – its rich recipe is too idiosyncratic to be generalized. I guess always knew that, but catching the last string of Henry Butler gigs at Bar LunAtico in Bed-Stuy a couple years ago drove it home anew. Small club, vibrant improviser, broad palette, grand vision, steady goosebumps – HB was one of those dudes who takes a basic lingo and bends it whichever way he chooses, making it a little more expressive in the process. Long story short, his virtuosity could be thrilling. An definite all-in-performer, especially when playing alone. His death this past July created a massive void, and a sizable squad of associates and admirers take the Le Poisson Rouge stage Monday night to celebrate his work and revel in his spirit. Steven Bernstein, Davell Crawford, Amy Helm, Richard Julian, Arturo O’Farrill, Raul Midon, Tom McDermott, John Medeski, Paul Shaffer, and members of his Hot 9 and Jambalaya outfits are prepped to knock the place around a bit, just like Butler would do if he was taking the stage. Watch out for the whomp! in the air when Bernstein gets rolling with the 9’ers. His farewell to his old partner is sure to be slapping the swing around a bit. You know how these things go: unannounced specials guests are likely to slip onto the bill at the last minute. Gonna be a party.
Monday, October 29
158 Bleeker Street