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Music is Art’s Big Easy at the Town Ballroom

For the 2nd year, the Music is Art Big Easy Buffalo Mardi Gras Jam celebration comes to the Town Ballroom. Expect six hours of music featuring New Orleans artists Marcia Ball, Papa Grows Funk, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, as well as local opener Leeron Zydeco with Eric Crittenden, and the Infinity Blues Project, freshly back from the International Blues Competition in Memphis.  

“We’re
proud to welcome the Infinity Blues Project as the latest addition to the Jam,”
MiA Founder and President Robby Takac said.  “This student band from Jamestown won our battle of the
bands, and now they get to open the concert.” 

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In
addition, the band will get personal instruction from Jam headliner Marcia
Ball.  In keeping with Music is Art’s theme of getting music into the hands of students, Papa Grows Funk will conduct
master classes at the Buffalo Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts, and
Big Sam’s Funky Nation will work with a student brass band at Grover Cleveland
High School.  Takac and MiA Executive Director Tod Kniazuk have made sure there’s plenty to go around for everyone.

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A New Orleans favorite, Ball was with the blues-based rock band Gum before she turned to the blues, but the singer, songwriter and piano player has made a name for herself with poignant ballads and her hot, jumping bluesy soul.

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Papa Grows Funk brings a jam session to the end of their set at the Ballroom.  Here for last years show, Papa Grows Funk will be back with their booty-shaking brand of funk, original material, improvised jams and fresh interpretations of New Orleans classics.

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Big Sam’s Funky Nation brings a whole world of sound with their funky, horn-heavy brass beats.  Nobody, but nobody, sits still for a Big Sam set.

In addition, Eric Crittenden and Ron Davis (better known as Leeron Zydeco) team up for a special performance.  Both local, but New Orleans tempered, musicians have earned respect on the national scene with their mix of progressive and old school music.  

The
Mardi Gras Jam is the latest event in The Big Easy in Buffalo series, which now
also includes a radio show every other Tuesday at 8PM – hosted by Music is
Art Executive Coordinator Tod Kniazuk – as part of the WBFO 88.7 On The Border
program.  Past artists include
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ellis Marsalis, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Grammy
Award winner Terrance Simien, and Eric Lindell.  The quality and diversity of the bands have gotten audiences
buzzing about the series. 

“The ’08 Mardi Gras Jam went for close to
seven hours, and ended with about 20 musicians from all the bands on stage
together performing traditional Mardi Gras music and jamming into the night,”
Takac said.  “This year’s lineup is
just as strong and we know people are going to love it.”

Proceeds will benefit Music is Art programming.

MiA Big Easy
Friday
February 20th
Town Ballroom
6PM, $25 advance ($28 at the
door) 
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