Le Bon Temps Roule
Coogan, Lott, and Skerik
March 25, 2006
This show was originally listed as Coogan, Stanton Moore, and Skerik. Even though Lott is great in his way, it's hard to beat Moore. Still, when I arrived at 10 and saw Lott setting up his kit, I didn't bolt. Basically because Coogan is some kind of freak genius on the organ and Skerik is so damn innovative on the sax.
I didn't expect the show to start at 10, but I certainly didn't think it would start as late as 11:15. I was hoping to catch a little of the trio before heading over to hear The James Singleton Trio at Snug Harbor, but I decided to stay when Coogan showed up with his organ at 10:45. The trio took so long to set up. Coogan couldn't get his organ to fit onstage for the longest time, but once he did, Le Bon Temps was full. It was so hot in there. No AC?
Coogan and Lott grew up playing with each other in Baton Rouge, so they could perform together in their sleep. This comfort level informed the improvisational nature of the music. Skerik took the reigns and suggested a path every once and while, but Coogan and Lott were the driving forces behind the trio.
The trio mixed smoky, slow jazz with organ-driven funk and a faster MMW-like mix of the two. I had never seen Lott play so much like MMW's Billy Martin before. Normally, he's a modern jazz fireball, flying all over his kit and showing off. Saturday night, he was more reserved during the songs proper, but he did throw in two solos during the first set alone.
One of the night highlights was when the trio got into a rock groove and Skerik put his sax through some type of black metal fuzz. It was the only time during the set that you would have wanted to headbang, though the whole feel of the concert had a decidely rock feel. Lott wore black sunglasses, which Coogan made fun of by vamping on "Sunglasses at Night," and Coogan wore a Black Sabbath t-shirt. It seems like Coogan and Lott were trying to create a new jazz scene by themselves--some new sort of New Orleans jazz superstar cool. Skerik IS one of the youngest people I've seen get such a following and respect in the jam/jazz/funk circle.
The concert reached its peak when Coogan hit upon such a catchy melody that he couldn't go wrong. It was great when he matched his left hand's work with his right hand. Those two lines together were pretty powerful--if you couldn't dance to that, you were probably a parapalegic. The concert reached its low point when the trio bowed to the audience and played the New Orleans funk you can hear anywhere else. You've gotta understand: this was a diverse audience. Sure, there were the hipsters. but it was dominated by the Greeks that stumbled onto the concert by accident. That's just how the crowd is at Le Bon Temps Roule. Those future mortgage brokers will never understand me, and I'll never understand them, but whatever.