Fairfield Theatre Company Welcomes Three Louisiana Legends to Stage One

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Fairfield Theatre Company brings three great acts out of Louisiana: Charles Neville, Kermit Ruffins and Marcia Ball.

Fairfield Theatre Company continues to bring the best acts that New Orleans’s Jazz Fest has to offer to Fairfield County this May and June, by welcoming Charles Neville on May 9, Kermit Ruffins on May 28 and Marcia Ball on June 4.

Considered a prominent member of the First Family of Funk, the iconic New Orleans performer, Charles “The Horn Man” Neville, was exposed to music at a young age and started playing saxophone before he was a teenager.

Neville is most known for his pursuit of Eastern spiritual knowledge and his expression of it through his music. With a diverse musical background that includes rhythm and blues, funk, jazz, be-bop, pop and even American Indian music, Neville won a Grammy back in 1989 for his haunting rendition of "Healing Chant" on the Yellow Moon album.

Neville comes now to StageOne with the support of Gent Treadly, a band that has gone down countless roads since their inception in 1994. Featuring a heavyweight rhythm section made up of Greg Koerner (Uncle Buzz, The Joneses, Crimson Rose) on bass and Tom Kaelin (The Michael Parrish Band, The Hatters) on drums, they’ll be backing Neville for a night of music that shouldn’t be missed.

But that’s just the beginning as FTC continues the celebration with New Orleans-based trumpeter, bandleader, singer and songwriter Kermit Ruffins on Thursday, May 29.

Ruffins grew up listening to popular black music on the radio like the Commodores and Al Green. He began playing the trumpet as a young teenager and, with several fellow classmates, would go on to create the best contemporary New Orleans ensemble working in a vintage marching band style, The Rebirth Brass Band. With their booming up-tempo tunes, spirituals, rags, marching numbers and of course, originals, Rebirth became as much a staple of the city of New Orleans as the name “Neville”, crawfish or Beignets.

Ruffins comes to StageOne with his latest band, the Barbecue Swings, a reference to Ruffins’ frequent barbecue bashes he holds at the bars where he is performing. Ruffins will set up his grill on the sidewalk in front of a club and serve bar staff, band members and patrons some barbecued chicken or beef during the breaks between his usual three sets.

Come down and see why many consider Kermit Ruffins to be a modern-day Louis Armstrong as he projects a warmth from the stage that is evident whenever he performs.

The simple mention of a Louisiana or Texas roadhouse conjures up images of crowded dancehalls filled wall-to-wall with enthusiastic music fans rocking to a hotter-than-hot band playing a fiery blend of swampy R&B, jumping blues and heart-wrenching ballads. Pianist, vocalist and songwriter Marcia Ball brings that spirit back to Fairfield Theatre Company on Wednesday, June 4.

Every song Ball records and concert she performs is mixed with equal parts of bubbling soul fervor and two-fisted piano pounding. Between her deeply emotive vocals and her incisive, often poignant songwriting, Ball is in a class by herself. With a groove-laden New Orleans R&B and Gulf Coast-driving blues sound, it’s no question why Ball is a one-of-a-kind favorite of music fans all over the world.

Ball grew up in the small town of Vinton, Louisiana, right across the border from Texas. It wasn’t until she was 13 that Ball discovered the blues, and sat amazed while Irma Thomas delivered the most soulful and spirited performance the young teenager had ever heard.

It wasn’t long before she was performing in the San Francisco clubs with a progressive country band called Freda and the Firedogs, while honing her songwriting skills. It was around this time that she delved deeply into the music of the great New Orleans piano players, especially Professor Longhair.

When the band broke up in 1974, Ball launched her solo career, signing to Capitol Records and debuting with the country album Circuit Queen in 1978. In 1998, Marcia Ball was nominated for both a Grammy and a Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album and won for “Best Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year” and for “Best Blues Instrumentalist–Keyboards.”

Join Fairfield Theatre Company for three great nights of music celebrating peace, love, barbecue and Louisiana swamp blues this May and June that will bring the beast of The South up North.
<br>About the company:<br>Fairfield Theatre Company is a highly-acclaimed non-profit performing arts organization located in the heart of downtown Fairfield, Connecticut. FTC presents nearly 250 performances and concerts each year featuring outstanding national talent on FTC’s StageOne in Fairfield, The Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport, and the Norwalk Concert Hall in Norwalk. FTC’s intimate 200-seat StageOne concert venue is widely recognized as being one of the best places to see a live performance in the region. FTC is dedicated to providing the highest-quality arts, live entertainment and educational experiences to the communities it serves.

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Chad Anderson
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