Tonight’s Agenda, Saturday February 5, 2011:
Le Poisson Rouge: Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 w/ special guests James Hurt, Maurice Brown, Chris Loftin & Nikki Glaspie opening for Big Sam’s Funky Nation w/ special guest Christian Scott
Aftershow: The Blue Note, NYC: Sam Kininger Band w/ special guests James Hurt, Nigel Hall, Maurice Brown, Ivan Neville, Eric Krasno, Nikki Glaspie
Two horn playing Sam’s (Sam Williams, trombone from Big Sam’s Funky Nation) and Sam Kininger (saxophone, Sam Kininger Band) played in the west village last night… it was Sam Squared. Let me see, I’m going to try to recount as best as I can.
I’m not a big fan of Le Poisson Rouge – drinks are pricey, the ceiling is low, it’s cramped, loud and dark. But Big Sam’s Funky Nation rolled in from New Orleans, and the Royal Family’s Chapter 2 w/ Eric Krasno (guitar; Chris Loftin, bass; Nikki Glaspie, drums; Nigel Hall, keys & vocals) were in town. I could deal with Le Poisson Rouge for this throwdown. The place was vibrating it was so amped, the crowd was ready to get down.
I don’t have a set list so I can’t recount the songs, but what I remember was a bit of Beatles covers sprinkled in with some dirty funk. Loud, deep, in your face beats with Nigel Hall on vocals (see below for a video and a taste of his talent), and Eric Krasno’s lightning fingers on the guitar.
James Hurt (keyboards) takes over from Nigel’s spot on the keys and it seemed like he couldn’t get the equipment to work for a second. The next thing I see on stage is this guy going crazy on the keyboards…
Like, standing/sitting/falling off his chair and still playing the keyboards “crazy”. A few minutes later there is a horn explosion on stage with Big Sam, Maurice Brown and another trumpeter (whom I don’t know his name) and it’s gone insane. Nigel wails in the mic; Chris Loftin, a big guy with a big bass, dances around the stage with a permagrin on his face; Nikki G. on drums keeps the beat fast and loud, prodding the rest of the band to keep up with her.
Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about. This was just the opening band.
Big Sam is great. He’s always a lot of fun, a lot of energy and great sounding, dancing, shaking your hips kind of music. He did the get on the floor real low thing, he got the girls on the stage at the end, there was a Hey Poky Way and Sneakin’ Sally Thru the Alley. There was Mardi Gras beads in the crowd, the NOLA faction of the city well represented. Again, if you like horns, if you like great funk, if you like to dance with your hands in the air and shake your booty to some fun New Orleans jazz, go see Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Seriously, he blows you away.
The buzz was catch the Sam Kininger Band over at the Blue Note Jazz Club a few blocks away. Sam on sax and Nikki G. from Chapter 2 earlier in the night were on the stage, and it wasn’t until I sat down that I realized who I had been hearing from the bar area.
Ivan Neville on keyboards (where did he come from?), Maurice Brown on trumpet, Eric Krasno on guitar, Nigel Hall on vocals, James Hurt again from Chapter 2′s set on keys, and it was way out of control. Nikki G. on those drums commanded the attention again, she was so amazingly good. I, and I know a few others who just were blown away.
There were about 30-40 people there at the most, the place was empty. This jam session that ended at 3:15 am Sunday morning was one of those moments that you felt the special vibe in the room, where friends, artists and fans alike sit in awe. The YouTubes below give a taste of what went down at The Blue Note last night.
(Editor’s Notes: Funky sh*t goes down at The Blue Note at 2:54am….slow rolling funk, bass low, sax and trumpet through the air, reeds squealing in the saxophone. Amongst the funkiest, Ivan Neville on the Baby Grand to join in on the funk. Krasno’s fingers are at lightning speed on the neck of the guitar, playing it for all it’s worth, Nikki going sick on the drums.)
I have no words. The whole evening was like slow foreplay until The Blue Note’s explosion at 3am. I’m still recovering.