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Dr. John Album – Big Band Voodoo

Dr. John Album, ‘Big Band Voodoo,’ Set for Release

This album from late New Orleans legend Dr. John, Big Band Voodoo, releases via Orange Music. While recording in Germany in 1995, he collaborates with one of the country’s top jazz ensembles. The WDR Big Band.

Big Band Voodoo is unearthed by Dr. John’s friend and manager Stanley Chaisson. Furthermore, as part of the reminiscing the two did as the musician’s health declines, ultimately leading to his death. Mike Donohue of Amplified Distribution explains: “In the hustle of touring in Europe when this recording happens, these tapes were stored away. Once everyone returned for more touring in the U.S., these tapes were set aside for later use and archived and forgotten about. As Mac became more ill, Stanley would reminisce with Mac about the good old days. It is when Stanley remembers the session and is able to surface the recording that we now have this lost treasure.

Dr. John’s 1995 Visit to Germany

“Dr. John and the WDR Big Band’s Big Band Voodoo album comes from his 1995 visit to Germany. During an International tour thru the UK, Germany, Japan, etc.,” Donohue continues. “During this tour, numerous important musicians approached Dr. John for a ‘session.’ Many of these professionals had never seen Mac perform live but were huge fans. While in Germany, Dr. John receives an offer for an opportunity to play and record at the WDR band’s Cologne studio.

What transpires in that studio is one of the most interesting yet unreleased sessions from Dr. John’s repertoire: The addition of full Brass and Big Band Arrangements to Dr. John’s unique and distinct singing and playing style melded into a hybrid sound. One minute it’s a Sinatra feel of swinging big band and the next is the distinctive ivory tickling and New Orleans-influenced playing of Mac Rebennack. With over 60 minutes of studio-recorded songs, this unique slice of history is now ready for the world to hear. It’s Dr. John like never before.”

The Inspiration – Big Band Voodoo

Big Band Voodoo comes from an evening of discussing new projects with Mac at his Brownstone in New York.” Chaisson recalls. “He and I were discussing the possibility of making a Jazz record. He says, ‘Ya know dis would be dat thing I was always using my head for a Big Band thing. Along with my New Orleans riffs.

That’s it for this week, be sure to check back next week!

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