Veteran New Orleans pianist, songwriter and producer Dr. John will be the honoree at a star-studded tribute concert during the city’s 2014 Jazz & Heritage Festival, with friends and admirers paying tribute on May 3.
Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman and at least a dozen others will take part in the concert, dubbed “The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac and His Music,” to be held at the Saenger Theatre in the French Quarter. The program’s title refers to Dr. John’s given name, Malcolm (Mac) Rebennack. The guest of honor will also perform at the show.
An announcement of the concert said surprise guests would be added to the lineup. The gathering will be led by musician and label executive Don Was, who said in a statement, “Dr. John transcends genres with a truly distinctive sound that embodies the rich musical heritage of New Orleans and has tremendously influenced the course of music history.”
The 71-year-old New Orleans native began working as a session guitarist, pianist, singer and songwriter in the 1950s and '60s, and first surfaced nationally with his 1968 album “Gris-Gris," a few years after he'd moved to Los Angeles to further his career. He subsequently made his biggest splash on the pop charts in 1973 with his Top 10 hit single “Right Place Wrong Time,” which pushed his album “Right Place” into the Top 30 that year.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. The May 3 tribute concert will be taped for future broadcast as a cable special and release on CD and DVD, the fourth in a series of tributes assembled by producer Keith Wortman. Previous shows have honored Allman, Johnny Cash and Levon Helm.
Tickets for the tribute concert go on sale March 10.
Here's a video of Dr. John singing the title track from his 1992 album "Goin' Back to New Orleans":
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