Friday, May 5, 2017
Last Saturday, I caught an act in the Jazz Tent at the New Orleans Jazz Festival called Blodie's Jazz Jam. "Blodie" is Gregory Davis from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and for this particular set of music, he called together some other great players to really let loose from the usual funk it up sounds of his steady gig. Needless to say, it was something else. He then brought out one more special guest, a woman whose name I didn't catch, but who knocked it out of the park, belting out one of those classic, filthy blues tunes, where you have the right this but the wrong that. You know, this is big, but that's too small. You can do this to my that, but don't do that to my this. Get it? Anyway, she made my jaw drop like a circus elephant into an above ground pool.
Davis introduced her three times- when she came out, when she was finished and when he thanked everyone on stage at the conclusion. All three times, her name sounded like Flasanna Malbgzhaghz.
I asked around, and a few people, a musician, some security guards at the tent, all knew she was dating some sax player, but no one could remember her name. I left the fairgrounds a blank.
That night, I ended up at a tiny bar in the 7th Ward, where my friend Maurice Brown was scheduled for two sets of his exciting mix of jazz, funk and hip hop. In between sets, and only in New Orleans, that singer from eight hours earlier, sat down next to me at the bar.
"Did you perform with Blodie today?"
"I sure did."
She was as warm and sweet at the bar, as she was fiery and explosive for that one song.
Her name is Quiana Lynell, and as Gregory Davis said when he introduced her, "If you ain't heard her, you got your fingers in your ears."
Well, I ain't heard her before last week. But, I am determined to hear more of Quiana Lynell now.
QUIANA LYNELL 'Hip Shakin' Mama (Irma Thomas Cover)' from WWOZ New Orleans on Vimeo.