Henri Smith brings the spirit and soul of New Orleans to New England for a special holiday concert featuring Grammy-award winner Amadee Castenell on sax and flute.
You'll hear New Orleans jazz and blues, traditional Mardi Gras songs and Christmas favorites. Sing along with the standards you know so well and dance in the aisles with Henri Smith, Amadee Castenell and all the guys from the band.
To say that Henri carrys the torch for New Orleans is an understatement. Here's what New Orleans Legends are saying:
In March 2014, Henri Smith New Orleans Friends & Flavours recorded a live concert at the Larcom Theatre with legendary recording/sound engineer Bill Winn (whose recording credits include Whitney Houston and Herbie Hancock among many others). This special holiday concert doubles as the new album's CD release party. Henri and the band will be on hand to sign CDs. Don't miss this rare chance to bring an authentic New Orleans legend home with you for the holidays!
New Orleans Jazz, Blues, Creole and Cajun Music Legend Henri Smith--Singer, Recording Artist, Band Leader, and Movie Actor has been selling out theatres throughout New England with his dynamic, joyful sound.
Born and raised in New Orleans' 13th Ward, Henri Smith grew up a music fan, but resisted performing for much of his life. As a boy, he was surrounded by musicians--The Neville Brothers, Papa French (of Preservation Hall Jazz Band), Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino and many others. Henri's mother encouraged him to sing, which he did, but only in church. He also studied piano, at his mothers insistence, but in high school that conflicted with his first love, football. Football won.
After serving in the Army, Henri went home to coach and teach music camp. Plus he landed a DJ job at the famed New Orleans Jazz station WWOZ, on which he interviewed old friends and made many new ones, all of which led to his becoming the host of The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest).
At the 1999 Jazz Fest, Kermit Ruffins (recently featured on the HBO hit series Treme) surprised Henri by calling him to the stage and asking him to sing. He got a standing ovation.
In 2001 friends convinced Henri to record a CD with many of them as guests, including Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison Jr, Jason Marsalis, Wendell Brunious, Tuba Fats and Cecil Brooks III, who says of Henri, "he's on the way to becoming one of the great American singers."
Too many responsibilities (included teaching, coaching, radio and now TV) prevented Henri from pursuing music.
Hurricane Katrina changed everything. In one terrible blow, all of Henri Smith's responsibilities were washed away. His father safely in Atlanta with his sister, Henri was free to leave town and visit friends north of Boston. "I decided it was finally time for me to follow my dream," says Henri. "I prayed for the Lord to send me musicians from New Orleans."
Henri's prayers were answered. He re-connected with Grammy-Award-winners Charles Neville and Amadee Castenell, along with many others who had left New Orleans, including Charles Burchell, a former music camp student, who went to the New England Conservatory and now performs regularly on Drums with Henri.
Henri brings these old friends together with new friends from the north of Boston's burgeoning music scene to fashion a unique sound for his new northern fans.
Every Henri Smith concert is a unique experience. People who saw Henri two nights in a row last year exclaimed, "These were two completely different shows -- and they were both great!"
Amadee Castenell is a premier tenor saxophonist and flautist who has been nurtured by 30 years of playing in the rich multi-layered music scene of New Orleans and appears on HBO's hit series Treme.
From 1973-1983 he was musical director of the band Chocolate Milk, writing and performing on their 8 albums for RCA Records. For 30 years he has also been an important member of the award winning, legendary musical genius Allen Toussaint Orchestra.
When not touring, he is a much seasoned and in demand studio musician. Amadee has recorded with such legendary artists as Dr. John (Grammy award winning "Going Back to New Orleans"), Robbie Robertson ("Storyville"), Lee Dorsey ("Night People"), and Neville Brothers ("Fire on the Bayou") to name just a few. From Etta James to Idris Mohammed, Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and Albert King all have loved the tasteful phrasing of his sultry soulful saxophone.
See Amadee with Irma Thomas, Dave Bartholomew and Allen Toussaint in music clips video from HBO's hit series Treme. Henri Smith will perform some of the songs from this video.
Less than 24 miles from Boston, the fully restored Larcom Theatre is conveniently situated in downtown Beverly, MA -- 3 miles from Route 128 at 13 Wallis Street, with plenty of free parking (see map).
This gracious showplace -- featuring spectacular acoustics -- was built in 1912 (the same year as Fenway Park) by Harris and Glover Ware, two brothers and former vaudeville musicians from Marblehead, MA.
For their new theatre, which offered both stage and screen entertainment, they chose the birth site of one of America's most widely read nineteenth century poetesses, Lucy Larcom.
The Larcom Theatre's grand opening advertised that its interior was lit completely by electricity.
In 1984, Cesareo Pelaez, award-winning founder of the Le Grand David stage magic ensemble, led the purchase and restoration of the Larcom Theatre, returning its elegant horseshoe balcony, hand-painted antique pressed tin ceilings and original silk wall coverings to their original glory.
Beginning with gimmeLIVE's sold-out 2013 Mardi Gras concert, the Larcom Theatre was filled with music for the first time since the days of Vaudeville.
In 2014, gimmeLIVE installed a new, state-of-the-art sound system featuring Meyer line arrays and subs, which is used for all concerts presented by gimmeLIVE.
Today, Peter & Vickie Van Ness of gimmeLIVE continue to showcase national recording stars and award-winning Boston area talent at the Larcom Theatre.
There is plenty of free parking at the municipal parking lot on Bow Street, about 150 feet away and at the City Hall parking lot about half a block away. You do not have to feed the meters after 5pm or on Sundays.Click here for detailed directions to the historic Larcom Theatre.