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Henry Butler and the Nachito Herrera Quartet

Two noontime concerts from the 2006 Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo, MI, become one fabulous JazzSet, with Henry Butler and the Nachito Herrera Quartet.

New Orleans giant Henry Butler is world famous for his deep, propulsive sound and eclectic mix of rhythm-and-blues, stride, boogie-woogie, and even modal jazz. He's a soulful singer and several-time winner of the W.C. Handy Blues Award.

Butler lost his sight from glaucoma as an infant, and started playing piano at age 6. At 14, he was playing in school bands and in clubs. During studies at Louisiana State School for the Blind and Southern University, he learned to read music in Braille. He earned a Master's degree in vocal music at Michigan State. With a National Endowment for the Arts grant, he studied with Sir Roland Hanna, Harold Mabern, and Professor Longhair, whose percussive piano had kicked off a new style in New Orleans.

Since Katrina stole his house and prized piano, Butler has been living in Colorado. His musical indomitability is helping him and all who love New Orleans music through post-Katrina times.

Nachito Herrera was a child prodigy who studied in Havana with masters such as Rubén González from the Buena Vista Social Club CD. Herrera joined the high-energy group Cubanismo! in the 1990s. In 2002, Herrera landed like a flare in Minnesota, and is now an Upper Midwest treasure. After he plays "Claudia" by the greatest living Cuban pianist, Chucho Valdés, Nachito says, "We're gonna send this copy to his house, he's going to be so happy to hear a Cuban playing his music in Kalamazoo!"

Indeed, we close the show with a few passages from Chucho's very own set from the 2002 Gilmore Festival.


PERSONNEL AND MUSIC

Henry Butler

"St. Louis Blues" (WC Handy)
Theme from "Fiddler on the Roof" (Jerry Bock)
"The Breaks" (Henry Butler)
"Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (Henry Roeland Byrd aka Professor Longhair) with a prelude by Butler
"St. Louis Blues" (WC Handy)
Theme from "Fiddler on the Roof" (Jerry Bock)
"The Breaks" (Henry Butler)
"Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (Henry Roeland Byrd aka Professor Longhair) with a prelude by Butler


The Nachito Herrera Quartet
Herrera on piano with Jay Young on bass; Francisco Pancho Lopez on congas and timbales; Kevin Washington on drums


"Speak No Evil" (Wayne Shorter)
"Claudia" (Chucho Valdes)
"A Night in Tunisia" (Dizzy Gillespie)


WEB RESOURCES
The Gilmore Foundation generously supports keyboard artists year-round.

Henry Butler: Butler's CD Homeland got great reviews in 2004.

Ignacio "Nachito" Herrera: Nachito's latest CD is Live at the Dakota, the Minneapolis jazz club.

CREDITS
Thanks to Dan Gustin, Juanita Nash, and all at the Gilmore. Also Kevin and Debbie Brown and Brian Drewes of Brown & Brown Recording with JazzSet recording engineer and Technical Director Duke Markos.
Our writer is Jill McManus. Becca Pulliam is producer with executive producer Thurston Briscoe III @ Jazz 88 WBGO in Newark.


Copyright 2007 NPR