New Orleans Night at the Hollywood Bowl reverberates with the Mardi Gras beat of New Orleans' multi-Grammy-winning sensations The Neville Brothers and the re-united Meters, along with the Bay Area's Brass Monkey Brass Band, on Wednesday, August 16, 2006, at 8 p.m. This is the first time the Neville Brothers and the Meters, which have reunited for their 25th anniversary, have appeared jointly at the Hollywood Bowl.
The Neville Brothers
The Meters, the supergroup that put New Orleans funk on the map during the 60's and 70's, features its original line up – founder/keyboardist, Arthur Neville (also of the Neville Brothers), bass player George Porter, Jr. guitarist Leo Nocentelli, and drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste. The original Meters, creators of such hits as "Sophisticated Cissy," "Cissy Strut," "Ease Back," and many other funk classics, have re-joined the live music landscape in a way not seen since 1979. They recently opened for the Rolling Stones and appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, among other gigs.
"It is an honor to once again be making music with all of the original Meters," said Modeliste. "The music that we recorded in the late 60''s has been infectious and remains popular today. We are blessed to still be alive and be able to play." Nocentelli added, "It's a very rare situation when a group, as well as their songs, can be as new today as they were in the 60's. That's exactly what the original Meters are experiencing now."
The first family of New Orleans, The Neville Brothers, proudly carries the torch of its native New Orleans' rich R&B legacy. The four siblings – Arthur, Charles, Aaron, and Cyril – officially formed The Neville Brothers in 1977 after working together on various projects and in numerous combinations since 1954. The band has released 16 albums since its inception, and its repertoire features a wide range of musical styles from second line Mardi Gras anthems to rhythm and blues, pop, soul and gospel.
Brass Monkey Brass Band, the West Coast's premier New Orleans-style brass band, combines high energy with crashing drums, rumbling tuba and wailing horns to create its own brand of second-line fever. Formed in 1999, the eight-piece all-acoustic group dishes up New Orleans classics such as "When The Saints Go Marching In," danceable favorites by a variety of artists from Led Zeppelin to Stevie Wonder and its own funky originals.
The Meters' unique place as a touchstone for countless jam bands and as one of the most sampled groups in all of hip-hop and pop music has kept it relevant to contemporary audiences in a way that few, if any other 70's groups can claim. Art "Poppa Funk" Neville said, "I am happy to be playing with The Meters again, these are some of the baddest dudes I've been blessed to play with over the years. I'll be sittin' down, but the REAL funk will be standing up." Said Zigaboo Modeliste, the band's drummer, "I look forward to working with the Corp of Funk Engineers!" Leo Nocentelli added, "I think that The Meters performing for fans today is something that no one should miss hearing or seeing." The band's appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April 2005, one of only a handful of Meters shows during the past two and half decades, was easily the most anticipated set at Jazz Fest 2005 and for many the highlight of the event.
The Neville Brothers, one of the Crescent City's most well know musical groups, are individually and collectively ambassadors of the New Orleans sound. The considerable talents of the four brothers were well established prior to the band being formed in 1977. After the Nevilles signed with A&M, fan Bette Midler helped secure the services of producer Joel Dorn for 1981's superb Fiyo on the Bayou, which spotlighted Aaron's angelic tenor on standards like "Mona Lisa" and "The Ten Commandments of Love" along with renditions of "Iko Iko" and "Brother John." After signing to the tiny Black Top label, they issued 1984's Neville-ization, an incendiary live set recorded at the Crescent City landmark, Tipitina's, which featured Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and Aaron's perennial "Tell It Like It Is" alongside the brothers' own "Africa" and "Fear, Hate, Envy, Jealousy." The Nevilles returned to the studio in 1987 with Uptown, featuring Keith Richards, Jerry Garcia, and Carlos Santana. In 1989, they recorded the atmospheric Yellow Moon, which earned them success on the charts with the single "Sister Rosa." 1990's Brother's Keeper fared even better, coupled with Aaron's success with Linda Ronstadt on the smash duet "Don't Know Much." In subsequent years, the Nevilles have balanced solo and group careers while retaining their cult following with albums like 1992's Family Groove, 1994's Live on Planet Earth, and 1996's Mitakuye Oyasin Oyasin/All My Relations. The Neville Brothers legacy continued in 1999 with the enthusiastically received album Valence Street. Over the years, the Nevilles have maintained a grueling schedule of touring, spreading the Neville gospel worldwide. They have participated in projects like the Amnesty International Tour, the 1994 Fourth of July Celebration in Washington, DC and Woodstock, IL. They also donate their talents to several New Orleans fund raising projects for helping the homeless and hungry.
The Bay Area's Brass Monkey Brass Band (BMBB) performs in the style of New Orleans' own Dirty Dozen and Rebirth Brass Band, with the traditional lineup of tuba, saxes, trumpets, trombones, bass drum and snare. BMBB's repertoire ranges from New Orleans classics like "When The Saints Go Marching In" to danceable favorites by a variety of artists from Led Zeppelin to Roger & Zapp, plus their own irrepressibly funky originals. BMBB originally formed to play a Fat Tuesday party in 1999 by Bay Area tuba man Jon Birdsong (Beck, Victoria Williams, Beth Orton) and drummer Kevin Stevens (Meow Meow, The New Morty Show). The success of this one-off show inspired BMBB's eight members to start writing and playing together on a regular basis while maintaining their sideman gigs with such greats as Santana, Boz Scaggs, Pharoah Sanders and The Glenn Miller Orchestra. BMBB has since played at the Monterey Jazz Festival, "New Orleans Day" at the Concord Pavilion with John Fogerty and Dr. John, Blues by the Bay (Eureka, CA), and the Rhythm & Roots Festival (Santa Rosa, CA). They also performed an impromptu set with Bobby McFerrin at the SFJAZZ Festival in 2002, and played for the San Francisco Giants Opening Day at Pac Bell Park. BMBB's debut CD, Live in Time and Space (2001 Weed Records), received national airplay on a wide variety of radio and the song "Saints" was the soundtrack for a 2002 Coca-Cola commercial. BMBB has just released its second full-length recording, The Highest Good, which features 75 minutes of wide-reaching writing, arranging and performing, and pushes the New Orleans brass band to the next level.
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 38th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2006, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the second year in a row at the 17th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.