Dr. John Talking Jazz
Perhaps because he is such a colorful figure and so thoroughly identified with his “Dr. John the Night-tripper” persona, Mac Rebennack is rarely identified as one of the great wellsprings of contemporary piano playing. His style incorporates elements from virtually every American jazz & blues tradition, from the stride and boogie-woogie players of the 20’s and 30’s, the beboppers of the 40’s and, quite obviously, the rhythm and blues players of the 50’s. Further, he has lived through a dramatic period of popular music in New Orleans, where sophisticated urban jazz players joined more primitive rural or street singers to cut some of the biggest commercial records of the twentieth century. This cross pollination of jazz and blues, which is at the heart of the New Orleans piano experience, and the importance of the human side of dance rhythms, are subjects that Mac Rebennack has turned into a science, a science that may only have its true exposition in his piano playing but which he is more than happy to discuss, particularly in the context of his many favorite musicians.