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Posted: March 25, 2009

Colorado’s Crescent City connections

Henry Butler, subdudes, among local musicians at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival next month

Cathie Beck—The Wine Wench

It’s true that the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — a/k/a as da Jazz Fest by New Orleanians and musicians alike — is, indeed, hosted deep in the midst of the Crescent City. But one of the not-so-well-known facts of the festival is that it’s well represented by Colorado R&B and jazz musicians.

The subdudes, Henry Butler and the Game Band, Sammy Mayfield — to name just a few — are Colorado musicians scheduled to perform next month at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival scheduled the last two weekends in April: April 24 - 26 and April 30 - May 4.

SammyMayfield.jpg

Sammy Mayfield

How do Colorado musicians come to be Jazz Fest stars? In piano virtuoso, Henry Butler’s case, Mother Nature played a role.  “I’m from New Orleans and played at the Festival almost every year since the first one in April of 1970,” Butler says. “I was a student.

“I missed the one right after Katrina hit,” he adds. “I lost my house and moved to Boulder in November 2005, and then moved to Denver in 2006.” Butler (www.henrybutler.com) performs regularly in Colorado and across the U.S. His most recent CD, PiaNOLA Live, showcases his New Orleans roots and features the tracks, Basin St. Blues, Orleans Inspiration and Let ‘Em Roll.

Butler will perform at the Jazz Fest on Friday, April 24. Locally, Denver’s Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret and Dazzle Restaurant and  Lounge both feature Butler regularly and watching him play is akin to watching spectacular lightening strike — almost impossible for the brain to register, yet equally impossible to forget. contact Doug Tackett for booking or more information

Also impossible to forget is Denver rhythm and blues guitarist and vocalist Sammy Mayfield, who was born in Denver and discovered the guitar — and his raw talent for same — on Denver’s city streets. He’ll play at the Jazz Fest on April 30th with Solomon Burke and the Solomon Burke Soul Alive Orchestra. Sammy’s known around the world over not only as the genius musical director for the legendary Burke, but also for his own band, which is the real R&B deal: trombone, trumpet, sax, keys and solid rhythm section. “I’ve been with Solomon 35 years,” says Mayfield, “and we’ve played the Jazz Fest together — I don’t know how many times — a lot.”

Sammy’s a powerful performer who works across the globe (including upcoming gigs in Morocco, the U.K., the Netherlands and Paris), but he and his band also play Colorado, including an April 18 “Sammy Mayfield Blues Review” show at Patrick’s Restaurant and Nightclub in Aurora.

Mandy Decker, press coordinator for the Jazz Fest, says that people everywhere will be able to experience the Festival live this year.  “Local public radio station WWOZ will broadcast every day from the festival, which people can stream live from www.wwoz.org,” she says. “We are also working with the AT&T Blue Room, and they will be streaming live and recording video of some Jazz Fest performances on May 2nd and 3rd at www.att.net/music.”

Colorado musicians performing at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival can be contacted via: The subdudes agent, Barron Ruth, barron@skylineonline.com; Henry Butler at pianobutler@comcast.net; Sammy Mayfield at sammymayfield@msn.com; and Jimmy Descant (native New Orleanian who also relocated to after Hurricane Katrina) at (719) 244-3440.

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Cathie Beck, a/k/a The Wine Wench, can be reached at: TheWineWench@comcast.net. Please forward any and all wine events, wine-related news items directly to her.

Enjoy this article? Sign up to get ColoradoBiz Exclusives. The opinions expressed in this article are solely that of the author and do not represent ColoradoBiz magazine. Comments on articles will be removed if they include personal attacks.

Readers Respond

Wow, never realized the connections! I may have to get myself to Denver on the 18th! By Maia Tress on 2009 03 27

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