Thursday, September 08, 2011

RIP Wardell Quezergue

The late Wardell Quezergue conducting the band backing singer Jean Knight at
2007 Ponderosa Stomp  - the New Orleans House of Blues. Photo © Ron Weinstock.
Tuesday, fans of rhythm and blues and New Orleans music, received the sad word that Wardell Quezergue passed away.

Dr. John with Wardell at 2008 Ponderosa Stomp at New Orleans House of Blues.
Photo © Ron Weinstock
I had the pleasure of attending the Ponderosa Stomps in 2007 and 2008 when he was featured. A composer, producer, and arranger he produced many classic recordings including Smokey Johnson’s “It Ain’t My Fault,” the Dixie Robert Parker’s “Barefootin’, King Floyd’s “Groove Me,” and Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff.” His arrangements graced Grammy winning recordings by Charles Brown, Gatemouth Brown and Dr. John (“Going Back To New Orleans”) as well as “Deacon John’s Jump Blues” and Luther Kent’s 2009 Bobby Bland tribute.
Trio of New Orleans Musical Royalty: Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint and Wardell Quezergue.
2007 Ponderosa Stomp at New Orleans House of Blues. Photo © Ron Weinstock
On my flickr page regarding the 2007 Ponderosa Stomp I wrote “Wardell Querzergue was spotlighted at this year's Ponderosa Stomp leading a Crescent City Big Band for a funky revue of southern soul and New Orleans Cups” “Iko Iko” and “Chapel of Love,”funk which included his first arrangements in several years, first kicking off with Smokey Johnson's classic "It Ain't My Fault, before being joined by the soulful Tony Owens (who recorded for Cotillion and other labels), Robert Parker (Mr. Q produced 'Barefootin'" and Jean Knight (Mr. Big Stuff) with a special treat being an extended performance by an equal legend, Dave Batholomew. Dave Bartholomew did an overview of some of the great music he produced over half a century.”

The marvelous music from that year and the following year’s Ponderosa Stomp still resonate in my memory. Dr. Ike Padnos even got Dr. John to revive some of his early recordings on which he played guitar because the Creole Beethoven would arrange and conduct the band for these. I myself was honored that a photograph of mine was used for the cover of the Jazz Foundation of America’s release of his album “After The Math: Part of the St. Agnes Sessions.”

Cover photo taken at 2007 Ponderosa Stomp.

Here are links to some obituaries and appreciations:;

For information on purchasing "After The Math" contact the Jazz Foundation of America, and help support their mission.

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