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Johnny Vidacovich with Stanton Moore and others at Tipitina's 

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Living in New Orleans means getting to take everything and nothing for granted. It's an axiom perhaps best exemplified in music by Johnny Vidacovich, our do-everything, play-everywhere percussionist du jour for more than 40 years. Miss a Johnny V show and you're rarely more than 48 hours — or four-to-eight blocks — from the next one: Uptown, for his open-door workshops and group jams at Tipitina's, where his name predates the banana; downtown, on St. Claude Avenue and Frenchmen Street, where his regularity (with modern jazz time-warpers Astral Project and as a multilingual guest timekeeper) makes him the strip's equivalent of a house drummer; and, of course, holding court at the Maple Leaf, where his entrenched trio gig on Thursdays perpetually seems either two steps ahead or behind Rebirth's Tuesdays in their second line toward infinity. The years following Hurricane Katrina revealed the errors in this kind of entitlement, as Vidacovich's Ripken-like reliability was threatened first by a storm-split house and then a severely arthritic thumb, which left him temporarily unable to hold a stick, let alone hit a snare. Now approaching 62, he's gearing up for his annual pre-birthday bash with friend/pupil Stanton Moore (their decade-old New Thing) and sundry guests including Anders Osborne, Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville and Jumpin' Johnny Sansone. The double drum attack and all-star roster are reason enough to go. So is showing appreciation that 150 gigs every year are no given. Tickets $12. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

May 28

Johnny Vidacovich with Stanton Moore and others

10 p.m. Saturday

Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-8477;


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