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Summertime News 

Galactic has landed a slot on one of the summer's plum tours: the annual B.B. King Music Festival. The New Orleans progressive funk band will be sharing the bill with the King of the Blues, north Florida swamp-funkers Mofro, and legendary guitarslinger Jeff Beck. "When I was a kid, Blow by Blow was one of my favorite records, and I'm still in shock that we're going out [on tour] with Beck, and of course B.B., for seven weeks," says Galactic guitarist Jeff Raines. "Hopefully we'll get a chance to play with him -- it's possible, but not definite." In other Galactic news, the band is finishing mixing its new album -- which was produced by Dan the Automator and recorded in Galactic's new home studio -- and is shooting for a September release date. ...

George Porter Jr., Sonny Landreth, Ivan Neville and members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band were part of the all-star cast filmed at Gov't Mule's Deepest End concert at the Saenger Theatre on May 3; look for a forthcoming DVD of the concert in the future. ... Next Wednesday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Nile, the Panorama Jazz Band and the New Orleans Jazz Vipers are holding a benefit to defray legal costs for their mutual trombone player (and Canadian citizen) Genevieve Duval, who's currently back in Canada due to Immigration and Naturalization Services issues. If you can't attend the benefit but would like to make a contribution, donations can be made at any local Hibernia Bank to the account "Jaja Legal Fund," and the account number is 807 07 64750. ... With John Fohl's new gig as Dr. John's guitar player keeping him on the road more these days, former Runnin' Pardner Brint Anderson has taken over Fohl's slot in the Joe Krown Organ Combo. ...

That was New Orleans-based guitarist and violinist Freddy Koella on stage with Bob Dylan at Dylan's recent Jazz Fest shows. Koella, who's appeared on albums from Anders Osborne, Marva Wright, Zachary Richard and Mike West, is the new guitar player in Dylan's band, replacing Charlie Sexton. Another local player hitting the national circuit is the Continental Drifters' Peter Holsapple, who's playing keyboards with his old friends Hootie & the Blowfish on tour this summer. ... In studio news, Piety Street Recording Studio has had some national notables working on new projects in recent months. Singer/songwriter Ryan Adams recorded new tracks with a backing band that included the dual keyboard team of Jon Cleary and former Faces/Rolling Stones piano man Ian McLagan; the Blind Boys of Alabama harmonized on a project that includes a guest appearance by Aaron Neville; guitarist Michael Franti of Spearhead and pedal-steel guitar wizard Robert Randolph checked in; the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's drummer Terence Higgins also hit Piety Street to record a solo album. ...

New CDs that sneaked in just under the wire in time to hit stores for Jazz Fest include the New Birth Brass Band's Get the Hump Out Ya Back; a limited-edition live album from Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters titled St. Valentine's Day in New York; and the Ellis Marsalis Trio release of The Gig -- Live at Snug Harbor, a document of the ensemble's long-running Friday gig at 626 Frenchmen St. Ingrid Lucia and the Flying Neutrinos also went the live-album route, as their Live From New Orleans CD is from a performance on Jan. 13, 2001, at the Old Point Bar. Meanwhile, the debut CD from Dirty Dozen trombonist Sammie Williams' band Big Sam's Funky Nation wins for best album title: Birth of a Nation. In the reissue department, Sony/Legacy re-released the late gospel great Raymond Myles' A Taste of Heaven. ...

Finally, there have been some changes to the lineup in this year's Essence Festival. Previously announced headliners Luther Vandross (who recently had a stroke), hip-hopper Nelly and comedian/emcee Wanda Sykes will not appear at Essence 2003. The festival dates are July 3-5, and confirmed headliners include Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, P. Diddy, Chaka Khan, Smokey Robinson, Babyface and Anita Baker. Superlounge acts include Dianne Reeves, Third World, Bobby "Blue" Bland and the S.O.S. Band. A number of New Orleans and Louisiana bands will be announced shortly and added to the Superlounges schedule.

Tickets for Essence Festival are available from Ticketmaster at 522-5555 and range from $35-$75, with a limited number of "Gold Circle Seats" available at $125.

click to enlarge Galactic is part of this year's B.B. King Music Festival - tour, along with Jeff Beck and Mofro.
  • Galactic is part of this year's B.B. King Music Festival tour, along with Jeff Beck and Mofro.


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