LIVE: The Aaron Neville Quintet @ MASS MoCA, 5/25/13

June 10th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg

Review by Greg Haymes

“Step right up, come on in, if you’d like to take the grand tour…”

Hearing Aaron Neville – the golden voice of New Orleans’ First Family of Funk ‘n’ Soul – sing the classic heartbreaker by the late country music legend George Jones was a vivid reminder that the barriers between musical styles – between New Orleans and Nashville, for instance – are all just in our heads.

Now I don’t mean to get all “Kumbaya” here. It takes major talent to tackle a repertoire that stretches across genres to encompass vintage Brill Building R&B, Leonard Cohen, Jimmy Reed’s blues, Burt Bacharach, Philly soul, street-corner doo-wop, a gospel hymn… and the George Jones tearjerker.

And it takes a real gift to put your own undeniable stamp on each and every one of those oh-so-diverse songs and make them your own.

But, of course, Aaron Neville’s voice is a genuine gift.

Read the rest of this entry »


Aaron Neville (Mass MoCA May 25) and Keith Richards on Doo-Wop and the Great American Songbook [Berkshire on Stage]

May 21st, 2013, 11:00 am by Sara

Aaron Neville (72) and Keith Richards (69) have long shared a love of Doo-Wop music. The music style is undergoing a rebirth im popularity, and there’s a fascinating story there, making the news of Neville’s upcaoming appearance at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams, MA, even more significant. Mass MoCA hosts Aaron Neville in concert on May 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

Aaron Neville is perhaps better known as the soulful and smooth tenor of the Neville Brothers, but truth be told, he just loves the Doo-Wop style. “Me and Frankie Valli were on a flight from New Orleans to Los Angeles,” he recalls. “It was a six-hour flight, and we sang all the way.” Sometimes Doo-Wop just doesn’t get the respect it deserves. “People are always talking about the Great American Songbook, all the jazz standards,” Neville says. “This is American music, too. It’s part of an era. It should be in there. Everything I’ve done has had some kind of Doo-Wop influence, from day one.” When it was new, it was such a fresh and original sound that it stopped people in their tracks. It was – and still is – unlike any other pop music form.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Charles Neville, What Was the First Song You Ever Performed in Public?

September 3rd, 2010, 2:03 pm by Greg

Charles Neville

Charles Neville performing with The Neville Brothers at Alive @ Five, 8/06/09 (photo by Andrzej Pilarczyk)

“As a youngster, I was inspired to play the saxophone after I heard Louis Jordan & His Tympani Five.

But I think that probably the first song that I ever played in a band was ‘Harlem Nocturne,’ back when I was in school.”

No, it’s not the full Neville Brothers line-up, but two Neville brothers together can still make some mighty beautiful music. The Aaron Neville Quintet will feature saxophonist Charles Neville in the final concert of the summer at the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount at 8pm on Saturday. Tix are $35, $45, $55 and $65.

(Related stories: Neville Brothers concert review; Aaron Neville, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?)

Aaron Neville, What Was The First Record You Ever Bought?

August 4th, 2009, 2:18 pm by Sara

“Back in those days, there weren’t really albums. When I was a kid there were 78s. Well, yeah, I guess there were actually albums even back then. I don’t know what they were made out of, but they sure were heavy. I wasn’t into buying albums back then, though.

My brother Art worked at a record shop, and he used to bring all records home. My dad used to buy stuff like Nat King Cole, Charles Brown and Louis Jordan, but Art used to buy all of the doo-wop stuff like the Clovers, Billy Ward and the Dominoes, Clyde McPhatter, Sonny Till and the Orioles, Pooky Hudson and the Spaniels and the Midnighters.

I didn’t really buy albums back in those days, but I did buy quite a few singles. I’m really not sure, but maybe the first record that I bought myself might have been ‘Earth Angel’ by the Penguins. You could say that I came up in the college of doo-wop-ology.”

Aaron Neville, his brothers and their band play a free concert as part of the Alive @ Five concert series in Albany’s Riverfront Park at 5pm Thursday, August 6.


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