Henry Butler’s distinctive musical style was rooted in New Orleans piano tradition and extended to avant-garde jazz, and incorporated nearly everything in between. Blind since birth, Butler grew up in the Calliope Projects of New Orleans, and taught himself piano by ear. He went on to study classical music at the Louisiana State School for the Blind, where he memorized scores written in Braille and at Southern University, he majored in voice and minored in piano. He also studied with such exemplars of New Orleans piano as Professor Longhair and James Booker.
Dr. John described him as “the pride of New Orleans and a visionistical down-home cat and a hellified piano plunker to boot.”
Butler recorded for numerous record labels, including Atlantic, Black Top, Impulse, Windham Hill, Alligator and Basin Street Records. Fiercely independent both in his personal and musical life, he toured all over the world until his final days, and he played, collaborated and recorded with scores of musicians representing many styles of music.
The announced musical guests for this Oct. 29 celebration include Steven Bernstein, Davell Crawford, Amy Helm, Richard Julian, Tom McDermott, John Medeski, Raul Midon, Arturo O’Farrill, Paul Shaffer, and the members of Butler’s final bands—The Hot 9 and Jambalaya. More guests will be announced —and some very special unannounced guests are expected.
Guests will perform in different configurations and with Henry's two New York-based bands: longtime collaborators, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 as well as his funk band, Jambalaya.
Proceeds will be applied to final expenses and to services the Jazz Foundation of America provides in support of jazz, blues, and roots musicians.
Doors open at 7:00 PM and show starts at 8:00 PM. Advance tickets: $35. Day of show: $45. Tickets available via Eventbrite/LPR box office: HERE
photo credit: Paul LaRaia