Henry Butler: piano, vocals
Brett Cash: electric bass
Robert Ryan: electric guitar
Adrian Harper: drums
(...) Das tat anderntags beim letzten, zu Recht umjubelten Konzert die „Hot 9“ von Henry Butler und Steven Bernstein. Ihr Programm „Viper's Drag“ schien zu sagen: Wenn schon retro, wie es offenbar unvermeidlich im heutigen Jazz ist, dann gleich „all the way back“. Nach New Orleans, zu den Wurzeln. In eine selige Vergangenheit also, die es natürlich nie so gegeben hat, wie Butler und Bernstein sie nachempfinden. Man kann nicht so tun, als ob Swing, Bebop, Freejazz etc. nicht passiert wären. Das wissen sie, das unterscheidet ihre Beschwörung des Ahnengeists von klassizistischen Projekten wie jenen von Wynton Marsalis. „Die meisten Leute glauben, dass Jelly Roll Morton dieses Stück geschrieben hat“, sagte Butler vor dem „Buddy Bolden's Blues“, „aber die Wahrheit ist: Ich habe es getan, damals, im Jahr 1902.“ Will sagen: Man kann die Tradition nicht hüten, man kann sie nur neu erfinden, hier und jetzt. (...) (Thomas Kramar, 2016)
Last-Minute-Engagement einer New Orleans Legende, die beim Jazzfest Saalfelden für den umjubelnden Abschluss der Ausgabe 2016 sorgte und der nun mit seiner sehr blueslastigen Jambalaya Band (meines Wissens) zum ersten Mal Österreich besucht. Welcome tot he Club! CH
Blinded by glaucoma at birth, Butler has been playing the piano since he was six years old, and arranging, composing, and performing professionally since he was twelve.
A New York Times review of a performance at New York City's Jazz Standard described Butler as "percussive in his attack, ostentatious with his technique---the picture of stubborn mischief — and, not coincidentally, of New Orleans pianism. He obliged the spirit of the occasion with his own stylistic consommé: billowing whole-tone glissandi; furrowed, Monkish hiccups; boppish two-handed octaves; flare-ups of funk and Chopin."
Butler's sound has been influenced by the streets (he grew up in the Calliope Projects in New Orleans, has traveled the world, lived on both coasts and in the heartland); by studying with the greats (Alvin Batiste, Sir Roland Hanna, Professor Longhair, and James Booker, among others); by institutions (Louisiana School for the Blind, Southern University, Baton Rouge, and Michigan State University); and by his willingness to explore new boundaries and to take risks.
To date, Butler has played almost every major club and festival in the United States, as well as venues in Brazil, France, Norway, Italy, Japan, Australia, and more. For over forty years, he has conducted workshops, clinics, and master classes throughout the country; he also developed a camp for blind and visually impaired teen musicians, the subject of a 2010 documentary, The Music's Gonna Get You Through.
Butler's photographs exploring the sighted world's relationship with the flat representational image and its power continue to be exhibited nationally and internationally and appear in major newspapers across the country. He and his photographic work were featured in the recent HBO documentary Dark Light: the Art of Blind Photographers, and his work is included in the exhibition Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists, still on tour.
The most recent of his many CDs is Viper’s Drag (with Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9) on Impulse! It followsPiaNOLA Live, with works pulled from his rich archives, about all that survived Hurricane Katrina, which decimated his home and took his piano, Braille scores, and all his recording equipment. Butler can also be heard on recordings by other musicians, including Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Golub, and Odetta, and on the 2012 release of Treme, Season 2: Music from the Original HBO Series.
Whether it’s as a soloist or with his blues groups (Henry Butler and the Game Band, and Henry Butler and Jambalaya), his traditional jazz band (Papa Henry and the Steamin’ Syncopators), or the “vampy, bouncy, playful, and saucy” Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9, you’re in for the ride of a lifetime.