NEW YORK, N.Y.
On November 22, 2005 Nonesuch Records is releasing Our New Orleans
, a benefit album of newly recorded songs featuring artists from the Louisiana music community - across a wide variety of styles - to document the depth, richness, and profound musicality of that unique city. With Ry Cooder producing, Buckwheat Zydeco's leader, Stanley Buckwheat" Dural Jr., and a stellar band including Cooder on guitar, Jim Keltner on drums, Jim Dickinson on piano and Mike Elizondo on bass, contributed a magisterial cover of Baton Rouge's George Perkins and the Silver Stars' 1971 civil rights lament, Cryin¹ in the Streets." Buck turns in one of his finest vocals and trades accordion licks with Ry¹s magnificent slide guitar.
Sessions for Our New Orleans began in New York in late September with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Wild Magnolias (Doug Petty and Matt Sakakeeny, producers); Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Joe Henry, producer); and Dr. John (Hal Willner and Mark Bingham, producers). Other artists will contribute tracks later in the month. Buckwheat Zydeco and Ry Cooder recorded in Memphis on October 3.
Funds from the sale of Our New Orleans will be donated to Habitat for Humanity to aid those affected by the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster. Nonesuch¹s parent company - Warner Bros. Records, part of the Warner Music Group - is donating all of the production costs for Our New Orleans as part of the Group¹s larger efforts on behalf of hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast. Many others involved in creating the album are also generously donating their time and services.
For this special project, Nonesuch has joined forces with others in the artistic community. Nick Spitzer, host of American Routes, a nationally syndicated weekly public radio music show produced in New Orleans, is contributing liner notes to the record, as is Pulitzer Prizewinning author Richard Ford, also a Crescent City resident.
The collaboration between Buckwheat Zydeco and Ry Cooder developed from a joint appearance they made, with Lenny Kravitz and Irma Thomas, on September 20th at The Big Apple To The Big Easy, New York City's Live Concert For The Gulf Coast, at Madison Square Garden. The live event featured New Orleans musical legends joined on stage by many of music's biggest names, including Elton John, Jimmy Buffett, John Fogerty, Bette Midler, and the Neville Brothers. In addition to the sold-out show, the event was also available as a pay-per-view.
Blue Note Records: Higher Ground
Also on November 22, 2005, Blue Note Records will release Higher Ground, a CD that documents Jazz at Lincoln Center's Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert, a landmark evening of musical offerings that was mounted by Jazz at Lincoln Center¹s Artistic Director, Blue Note recording artist and New Orleans native Wynton Marsalis on September 17 - less than three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.
On the Higher Ground album, Buckwheat Zydeco performs his song I'm Gonna Love You Anyway" from the band¹s critically acclaimed new studio album, Jackpot!, released on Buck's own label, Tomorrow Recordings, on June 7, 2005.
Higher Ground collects highlights of the Jazz at Lincoln Center evening, from Shirley Caesar's rousing opener, This Joy," through Cassandra Wilson's prayerful reading of Duke Ellington's Come Sunday" with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. These 15 tracks pay tribute to the city of New Orleans, one of the greatest musical and cultural centers in all the world, through a multitude of musical moods and styles: Early to Modern Jazz, Gospel, New Orleans Funk, Folk, Zydeco and Pop.
Other standout moments include New Orleans-born trumpeter Terence Blanchard's emotive and sweeping performance of Over There," Art & Aaron Neville's funky take on Go To The Mardi Gras," Diana Krall's laidback rendition of Basin Street Blues," featuring Cyrus Chestnut on piano, James Taylor's heartfelt Never Die Young," Norah Jones's sweet solo piano reading of Randy Newman's I Think It's Going To Rain Today," and Wynton Marsalis' celebratory tribute to New Orleans icon Louis Armstrong on Dippermouth Blues."
The concert took place at Rose Theater in Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City and was televised nationally on PBS and broadcast on XM Satellite Radio and NPR member radio stations in the U.S. and worldwide.
The concert and auction, produced by Jazz at Lincoln Center, have already raised over $2 million, and all proceeds from sales of the CD will also go directly to the Higher Ground Relief Fund established by Jazz at Lincoln Center and administered through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a non-profit community foundation, to benefit the musicians, music-industry related enterprises and other individuals and entities from the areas in Greater New Orleans impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and to provide other general hurricane relief.