Wednesday, April 18, 2012

One Has To Love Lillan Boutté at the French Quarter Festival

Some years back, I came across an album The Jazz Book (Enja) by a New Orleans vocalist I was previously not familiar with, Lillian Boutté. I confess that the presence of Dr. John was a factor influencing my purchase. Then I discovered the presence of New Orleans legends Edward Frank on piano and Lloyd Lambert on bass with Leroy Jones on trumpet.

Then putting it on my cd player and hearing her launch into Billie Holiday’s “Now Baby Or Never” and sings associated with Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith and Patti Page. On a recording of superb singing, the highpoint was her reworking of “Tennessee Waltz,” with a New Orleans R&B style arrangement. What a terrific performance and it lead me to purchase an ensuing recording with many of the same personnel, But Beautiful, as well as the music of her baby brother John and niece, Tricia “Sister Teedy” Boutté.

I have had the pleasure of seeing John perform a number of times and Tricia a couple of times, but I finally had a chance to see Lillian perform at this year’s French Quarter Festival. Someone mentioned to me that April is about the only time once can see her in New Orleans as opposed to Europe where she has become quite the attraction. I was glad I finally had the change to see her perform, and with a quartet that included the great New Orleans guitarist, Detroit Brooks. The icing on the cake was that she opened with a stunning rendition of Tennessee Waltz. Her set was storming enough for me to go to The Bombay Club that night and catch her opening set that evening.

Lillian Boutté’s recordings may be hard to find, but try the Louisiana Music Factory.In addition to her back catalog, they were selling Lillian Boutté Sings Louis Armstrong, a marvelous EP that is excerpted from her CD, You Got To Love Pops. I simply state, you got to love Lillian Boutté.

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