One listen to Nigel Hall’s debut release, Ladies & Gentlemen…Nigel Hall, and it becomes obvious that the keyboardist and vocalist is way hip to the inner workings of soul and funk. The Washington, D.C. native and New Orleans resident since 2013, who performs at Tipitina’s on Wednesday, December 3, brings his knowledge and love of the genres to his original material as well as his choice of well-executed cover tunes.
“You’re going to love it because I love,” declares Hall, a passionate artist and record collector, of the gig at Tip’s. He’ll be joined by some great, like-minded musicians – his “working band” – including guitarist/vocalist Derwin “Big D” Perkins, drummer/vocalist Jamison Ross, guitarist Andrew Block, bassist Eric Vogel, trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom and saxophonist Chris Royal. Hall has worked with all of these guys in different configurations, notably with Big D as an “honorary” member of pianist/vocalist Jon Cleary’s Monster Gentlemen and Bloom in the group Lettuce.
When asked if Ross, who is equally talented behind the trap set and at the microphone, was going to sing, Hall was quick to answer. “Jamison will sing background. He’s not gonna steal my show,” he replied with a laugh. “We do totally different things but we have such an agreement on music and life. That’s my ace.”
At Wednesday’s record release party, the night will naturally be full of the material – plus a “Message to the Meters” segment — on the disc. And it’s a killer album from the top with Hall’s self-penned, soulful, dance-ready gem, “Gimme a Sign,” to the softer, dreamy original “Call on Me” on which Hall skillfully employs his falsetto.
Though these songs, as well as others of Hall’s composition like “Never Let You Go” are brand new, they immediately feel like old friends.
“It’s familiar, it’s like a warm hug,” Hall explains of this instant connection. “That’s what music is supposed to do. If it (a composition) doesn’t give me goose bumps by the time I’m done with it then I can’t f**k with it and I won’t let you hear it,” Hall says. “All the records I that have in my collection do that to me. At some point in the record, it gives me goose bumps. I need that feeling to be inspired.”
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