Jazz pianist Henry Butler performed four-evenings at Jazz Standard in New York City, two nights solo, and two nights as a trio, with drummer Will Calhoun and Conrad Korsch, performing Roots & Beyond music. Longtime Henry Butler fans, it was a definite pleasure for us to watch this talented singer, composer, and pianist, work his magic.
We first heard the multi-talented Henry Butler on a Basin Street Records 2005 Festival Sampler CD. The release featured Henry along with other top New Orleans musicians, Kermit Ruffins with the Rebirth Brass Band, Los Hombres Calientes: Irvin Mayfield, Bill Summers, and Estan Tocando, Irvin Mayfield with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Dr. Michael White, the Headhunters, Jason Marsalis, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, and Theresa Andersson.
A few years later, we heard the Henry Butler live release, PiaNOLA Live, released on the Basin Street Records label, and we were hooked. (Read the review: Music Scene). Since then, we have been following the talented composer, singer, and pianist Henry Butler, and have had the good fortune of hearing him play on many other releases, including the Taj Mahal Maestro release (Read the review: Music Scene).
Henry Butler Live - PiaNOLA
As we have written before, and will continue to write, whenever we have the opportunity to go and hear live performances, we go, and when we heard that Henry Butler was playing at Jazz Standard in New York, we made sure to make time to go and hear him play. It was well worth it.
Jazz Standard is an intimate venue that was perfect for watching Henry Butler do what he does best, play the piano, sing, and interact and engage with the audience. He has the easy repartee that comes with the territory of being a professional musician. Blind since birth, Henry learned to play the piano at the age of six, and performing professionally at age 14. Since then the man has not slowed down, he has traveled the world performing, and keeps enjoying the music, writing, singing, and finding his way into audiences' hearts with his music.
Henry Butler - at the Piano
We attended the first set of a three-set night on March 23, 2013, and Henry Butler opened the sold out show with a song called Pinocchio, which featured nice solos by the trio. Moving on, he continued with a Dave Brubeck piece called, In Your Own Sweet Way, which was gorgeous, and a great piece to show the talents of Will Calhoun and Conrad Korsch, as well as his own.
Next in the line-up was a song Henry wrote called, Expressions Of Quietude, off his second record for the MCA Impulse label, which has a great opening, a slight Latin rhythm, and Henry's amazing fingers dancing over the piano keys.
Henry shifted gears, segueing into the blues piece, Blues For All Seasons, which was as easy as a walk in the park on a sunny day. A beautiful song that cooked and let the trio shine. Conrad Korsch, who plays with Rod Stewart's band, contributed a nice bass solo, and Will Calhoun, of the band, Living Color, deftly showed his handiwork on the drums.
Conrad Korsch on Bass
Shifting gears, Henry took the audience along with him down to his native New Orleans with the song, Something You Got, followed by the song, Let It Roll, which had the audience singing along with him. Henry and the trio closed out the first set of the evening with the Ray Charles' song, Sweet Sixteen Bars, a short, sweet, and sassy song that fit the bill perfectly. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, where he lost everything, Henry Butler moved to Brooklyn, New York, and we eagerly look forward to hearing him play again in his new hometown of New York.
Will Calhoun on Drums
Speaking with Henry Butler before the show, he told us he had just recorded some new music so be sure to www.HenryButler.com.
"Jazz Standard presents an extraordinary line-up of world class artists, warm hospitality, pitch-perfect sound, comfortable seating --- and earlier sets so you can drop in after work. From classic jazz to funk, R&B, blues, and more, Jazz Standard brings you legendary artists of today and the brightest stars of tomorrow."
Henry Butler and Edward F. Nesta
Jazz Standard is open seven days a week. There are two shows nightly at 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm, and an extra show at 11:30 pm on Friday and Saturday. Ticket prices vary by show, and there is never a minimum. Jazz Standard serves Blue Smoke's award-winning barbecue complemented by specialty cocktails, beer, and wine.
Please visit the website, www.JazzStandard.com for program information on upcoming performances. For tickets or information, please call: +1-212-576-2232.
116 E 27th St (Btw Lexington & Park)
New York, New York 10016
Read an Interview with Henry Butler in the Music Scene.
For upcoming Henry Butler performances, please visit the website: www.HenryButler.com
Follow Henry Butler on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/HenryButlerMusic
Follow Jazz Standard on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/JazzStandard
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