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New Orleans’ funk greats, Renard Poche’ contributions can be counted among the defining factors of funk in New Orleans. Best known for his electrifying guitar work, Poche’s an accomplished multi-instrumentalist* whose been known to move effortlessly between guitar, trombone, percussion, flute, recorders and more, without missing a beat.
In addition to his live and studio guitar work with artists such as Dr. John, Zigaboo Modeliste (of the original Meters), Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint and N’Dea Davenport (Brand New Heavies), Poch? trombone work can be heard on recordings by Peter Gabriel, The Indigo Girls, Terrance Simeon and The Neville Brothers, among others. Poch? original compositions have found their way to places as diverse as BET’s Movie of the Week and the TaeBo Workout Video. Poch?as also shared his talent with renowned trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard in soundtracks for the films Dark Blue and Barber Shop.
As a writer, producer, arranger and performer, Poche takes a daring approach to his own music, preferring to throw out the rule book in favor of his own instincts. The result is a new sound that honors the revered funk and soul influences of his musical past while maintaining a contemporary freshness. The full spectrum of Poche’s talents will be showcased in his upcoming debut release, which features some of New Orleans’ finest tapped and untapped talent.
Roland Guerin grew up in a musical family. His father was a great lover of jazz and classical music; his mother, a blues and zydeco bass player, taught him that you can’t make it in music without a strong groove and feeling.
Introduced to the bass by his mother and intrigued by its deep resonance, Guerin began playing at the age of 11. Growing up, Guerin was strongly influenced by pop, rock and R&B music of the 70’s and 80’s. The first songs he learned to play on bass were Lakeside’s Your Wish Is My Command, Dazz Band’s Let It Whip, YYZ by Rush, and Stomp by Brothers Johnson. During his years in High School, bands and artists such as Gerry Rafferty, America, and Booker T & The MG’s seeded his love for great songs and inspired him to write music of his own.
By the time he got to college, Guerin had taken in a wide variety of popular music from an extensive list of musical genres. While studying Marketing at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he joined legendary jazz educator Alvin Batiste’s Band, The Jazztronauts. Guerin inherited much of Batiste’s musical innovations and concepts, and developed ways to bring his own musical voice to life.
Upon completion of his degree, Guerin began to tour the world as a member of jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield’s band. During this time Guerin explored the jazz genre, which ultimately proved to be an avenue toward success. He had the opportunity to perform with such greats as George Benson, Jimmy Scott, Frank Morgan, Vernel Fournier, and Gerry Mulligan, as well as to participate in the recording of numerous albums, including Twelve’s It by Ellis Marsalis; Mark Whitfield’s Forever Love and Mark Whitfield; Blues for the New Millennium, Portraits in Blue, and In Honor of Duke by Marcus Roberts.
As a member of the Marcus Roberts Trio from 1994 to 2009, Guerin had the opportunity to perform at the head of symphony orchestras across the world, among which the Berlin Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, and Seiji Osawa’s New Japan Philharmonic. From his collaboration with Osawa and Roberts, Guerin developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of orchestration and arrangement, both of which carry great importance in his own musical composition.
In 1996, while still in Roberts’s band, Guerin played bass on legendary musician and songwriter Allen Toussaint’s album Connected, an experience that revealed itself to be a turning point in Guerin’s musical journey. The recording of this album took place at Sea Saint Studio in New Orleans and was done in the same way in which many of Toussaint’s hit songs had been recorded in the past: to tape, on a Harrison mixing board. Being a part of this process gave Guerin direct insight into a method of recording that had been applied on many of the albums he had grown up listening to and learning from. This experience allowed Guerin to reconnect more fully with who he was as a songwriter and a multi-styled musician.
Guerin made his debut as a bandleader in 1998 with The Winds of the New Land, featuring Peter Martin on piano, Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Donald Edwards on drums, and Mark Whitfield on guitar. The record was acclaimed for its innovative style of composition and arrangement. Jazz Review called it “a literal piece of art”, while the New Orleans Magazine named Guerin a Contemporary Jazz All-Star. He followed up with an album from the Roland Guerin Sextet, Live at the Blue Note, released by Half Note Record. He released 3 more successful albums in the following decade, among which is to be noted Groove, Swing and Harmony; it was nominated by Critics’ Choice as one of the top 50 Louisiana CD’s of 2003. His most recent album, A Different World, which was released in September 2011, features Terrence Higgins on drums, Mike Esneault on piano, Khris Royal on saxophone, Shane Theriot on guitar, Denis Williams on saxophone and Bill Summers on percussion.
During the summer of 2009, Guerin went on a world tour with John Scofield and the Piety Street Band. Scofield had been one of Guerin’s long-time musical heroes and sources of inspiration. Touring with him provided Guerin with an opportunity to further develop his soloing on electric bass and to incorporate parts of Scofield’s phrasing and sound into his own style.
Upon his return from the tour with Scofield, Guerin joined Toussaint’s band, playing and touring with him until his passing in 2015. During the time with Toussaint, Guerin learned how details in music and in life go hand in hand, how to look at different interpretations of rhythms and melodies, as well as the art of keeping songs balanced.
Guerin has performed with his band at the Jazz Times Convention in 1998, as well as at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1999, 2003, 2006, 2012 and again in 2015.
Throughout his career, Guerin has studied and played many different styles of music. Inspired by Duke Ellington as one of the all-time greatest writers of popular music, and Miles Davis as one of the musicians who, throughout his career, most aptly embraced and adapted to the evolution of sound in popular music, Guerin offers an entirely new and singular take on this genre, one that integrates American folk melodies, blues, zydeco, African rhythms, rock, jazz soloing and orchestral arrangements.
At the heart of his music are stories, told through multiple layers of simple compositions that come together to create a complex yet lucid sound
Herman LeBeaux is a percussionist, composer, arranger and educator — the New Orleans native emerged on the music scene in the early 80’s. LeBeaux holds degrees from Xavier University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While completing his masters’ degree program at UMass, LeBeaux had the honor of studying under the tutelage of the famed Max Roach.
While LeBeaux’s main area of musical works has been primarily in the jazz idiom performing with famed jazz musicians, he has made the transition effortlessly into all genres of music. Upon joining Allen Toussaint’s band in 1996, Herman has toured and been the drummer on several recordings and DVD projects namely, the Katrina inspired, From the Big Apple to the Big Easy and the Keep it Funky, chronicling the life and music of New Orleans funk masters Allen Toussaint, Art Neville & Dr. John. Taking his talents to the big screen, Herman was a cast member for the Oscar winning movie, Ray, where he played the drummer in the Ray Charles’ band
Herman LeBeaux has performed and/or shared the stage with legendary performers: Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, Max Roach, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, The Platters, The Drifters, the, The Doobie Brothers, The Time, Cameo, Marilyn McCoo, Lloyd Price, Mose Alison, Irma Thomas, Charles Neville, Kermit Ruffins and the list continues. He has made appearances on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee and Late Nite with Conan Obrien.
When not performing in the US and abroad, Herman lives in New Orleans where he has taught at the famous NOCCA institute; Xavier University and currently UNO.
Clarence “Reginald” Toussaint began his musical journey 30 years ago as an audio engineer alongside his father, the late great, Allen Toussaint at the Sea-Saint Recording Studio. It was there he developed his musical tastes as a percussionist, writer, producer, and engineer and musical aficiando. Reginald, as he is familiarly known, for the past 32 years until his untimely death his father’s Personal, Business, Tour and Production Manager as well his the percussionist in the band, a feat he considers his ultimate pleasure and honor. Reginald has become a staple figure for the Festival Production-New Orleans Inc. and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for the last 30 years. Because of his tenacity and hard work he is now the Stage Production Executive Director.
As his confidence grew and his style developed, Reginald started producing a number of artists such as Allen Toussaint, Keith Claiborne, Daniel Ramos, and a host of other independent artists. He has had the pleasure of performing for and sharing the stage with Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello just to name a few; his resume can speak for itself.
When he is not performing, he is engineering a number of artists both locally and nationally. He has won several accolades such as the Ampex Award for Engineer New Edition.
Clarence studied International Business with an emphasis in music law at Loyola University in New Orleans. He continues to grow in his craft and credits his father for his lifelong passion and career trajectory in the music industry. Life, Love & Faith!
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