Henry Butler is considered one of the finest exponents of the fabled New Orleans jazz and blues piano tradition that goes way back to Jelly Roll Morton, but Henry Butler doesn’t restrict himself to boundaries. He’s worked with James Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, and the Afghan Wigs, along with such traditional jazz groups as the Hot 9. But whether it be Caribbean, classical, pop, blues, stride, boogie-woogie or R&B, Henry Butler brings an exhilarating exuberance that life has failed to dent.
Blinded by glaucoma in infancy, Henry, said Dr. John, was ‘the pride of New Orleans’. But in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, Henry found his 1925 vintage Mason & Hamlin piano eight feet under. Undaunted, he left, went to Denver and, in 2009 to New York.
‘Whether it’s illness or bad thoughts, music takes you out of that negative, destructive fear. It helps you frolic,’ he says. ‘Helps your audience celebrate. Yeah, it’s beautiful.’
In your case there’s no argument with that, Henry.
Henry Butler & the Jambalaya Band (U.S.A.)
play Bird’s Basement 16-20 May 2018
Line up for these exclusive shows will be: Henry Butler – piano and vocals; Fred Cash – electric bass; Bobby Bryan – electric guitar; Adrian Harpham – drums.
Bird’s Basement is also the venue for the upcoming 16th annual Australian Jazz Bell Awards on May 14 celebrating excellence in the performance, creativity, recording and presentation of Jazz in Australia. Open to the public, this is an industry night that recognises the achievements of Jazz musicians over the past year.