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Alison Fensterstock

The music legend, guitarist, piano man, jive talker and psychedelic godfather Malcolm John Rebennack – better known as Dr. John – died "towards the break of day" on Thursday, of a heart attack, a statement has confirmed. He was 77.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon in May, the corner of First Street and LaSalle in New Orleans' Central City neighborhood was lively. Kids tooled around on bikes and grown-up neighbors danced to the sounds of DJ Jubilee and Al Green, spun onstage by DJ Mannie Fresh, the producer whose exceptional skills put Cash Money Records on the map back in the '90s. The party was hosted by PJ Morton — a native New Orleanian and the keyboardist for Maroon 5 — who followed Fresh's set with a long, jammy performance of his song "New Orleans Girl," including both a bounce verse and a trombone solo.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


When Candi Staton first auditioned the drummer for Unstoppable, her 30th studio album, he had not, let's say, fully matured as an artist.

Across five albums of piano-driven rock and soul, Low Cut Connie has proven masterfully fluent in the foundational languages of Western pop, living at the crossroads where the church house meets the roadhouse, or where the Dew Drop Inn meets CBGB.

With the title of their 2017 release, Dirty Pictures (Part 1), Philly rockers Low Cut Connie had already telegraphed what was on the way.

"What a schmuck I would be if I didn't have a part two, right?," frontman Adam Weiner tells NPR.

In three-quarter profile, half-smiling at the camera over his elaborately tattooed shoulder, New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, Jr. appeared on the cover of the April 2015 issue of the venerable Louisiana music monthly Offbeat.

This essay is one in a series celebrating deserving artists or albums not included on NPR Music's list of 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Calling Fats Domino an architect of rock and roll almost sounds like faint praise. Indeed, the amiable country boy from the Lower Ninth Ward, with the help of bandleader impresario Dave Bartholomew and one of the world's truly legendary gangs of sidemen, dug the hole and laid the actual foundation.

In South Louisiana, a great deal of formalized effort goes into the preservation and celebration of the state's Francophone culture; food, music, other crafts and folkways, and particularly language.

At 46, Ben Jaffe is almost exactly the same age as Jazz Fest. Like a lot of New Orleans natives, he has memories of the annual event stretching back to childhood, though his experience is a little more rarefied than most. "That's where I got to sit on Fats Domino's lap and then hear him play," he says. "It's where I heard Allen Toussaint play for the first time as a child.

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