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The sounds of N'awlins

By PHILIP BOOTH
Published September 25, 2005

New Orleans music isn't just about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. For proof, check out these discs:

- The Wild Tchoupitoulas (Antilles): A celebration of Mardi Gras Indian grooves and chants, played and sung by an amalgam of the Meters and the Neville Brothers.

- Los Hombres Calientes, Vol. 3: New Congo Square (Basin Street): Latin jazz, funk, reggae and more, from the high-energy group led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and percussionist Bill Summers.

- Dr. John, Dr. John's Gumbo (Atco): Iko Iko, Big Chief, Junko Partner, Tipitina and other classic New Orleans R&B tunes, done hoodoo-voodoo style by the Big Easy's first physician of funk.

- Professor Longhair, Crawfish Fiesta (Alligator): A portrait of the beloved piano professor in full comeback, singing and stomping out his rumba-boogie grooves on Big Chief, Her Mind is Gone, Red Beans and Bald Head with a first-rate band including Dr. John on guitar.

- The Neville Brothers, Fiyo on the Bayou (A&M): An early blast of funk and rock from the famous musical siblings, with memorable versions of Fire on the Bayou, Hey Pocky Way and Brother John/Iko Iko.

- The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Voodoo (Columbia): Second-line rhythms meet R&B and bebop, as the world's most successful brass band is joined by Dr. John (It's All Over Now), Dizzy Gillespie (Oop Pop a Dah) and Branford Marsalis (Moose the Mooche).

- Funkify Your Life: The Meters Anthology (Rhino): The deep, earthy funk of the Meters, including such sticky favorites as Cissy Strut, Africa and People Say.

- Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton (Verve): Gorgeously played chestnuts by Cheatham (then 91) and Payton (then 23), including Stardust and I Cover the Waterfront.

- Astral Project, Voodoo Bop (Compass): A smart combination of post-bop and New Orleans funk, played by the city's veteran first-call jazz players, including groove monster Johnny Vidacovich on drums.

- Galactic, We Love Em Tonight: Live at Tipitina's (Volcano): Meters-inspired funk-rock meets jam-band aesthetics on a bracing set recorded at the storied New Orleans nightclub.

- The Iguanas, Nuevo Boogaloo (MCA): Impossibly infectious Tex-Mex, roots rock and New Orleans R&B from the band's second disc, with such concert favorites as Oye Isabel, Boom Boom Boom and My Girlfriend Is a Waitress.

- Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Back to Bogalusa (Blue Thumb): A salute to Louisiana from the blues-based guitarist and fiddler, with such gems as Going Back to Louisiana and Little Feat's Dixie Chicken.

- Jason Marsalis, Music in Motion (Basin Street): The surprisingly self-assured second solo album from the drummer is an impressive mix of mainstream jazz with Brazilian and New Orleans rhythms.

- Jon Cleary, Moonburn (Virgin): Multicolor blues, soul and jazzy R&B from the keyboardist, best known for his duties in Bonnie Raitt's band.

- John Mooney, All I Want (Blind Pig): Spooky Delta slide-guitar blues on a set including spirited covers of Son House's Son Blues and Professor Longhair's Hey Little Girl.

- Anders Osborne, Which Way to Here (Sony): Soulful vocals and deep-rooted blues, rock and folk from the Swedish-born New Orleans denizen.

- New Orleans (Putumayo): An appealing new multigenre compilation, with tracks from Kermit Ruffins, Dr. John, Louis Armstrong, Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton, Louis Prima and Dr. Michael White.

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