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The good doctor graces the Tucson stage

Dr. John
The Fox Theatre
Tucson, AZ
December 7, 2014
Dr. John Dr. John Dr. John

Review and photos by Mary Andrews

It has been too long since Dr. John has brought his repertoire to Tucson, but as the fans would wholeheartedly testify, it was well worth the wait. Dr. John has tailored a new, badass band thanks to the efforts of bandleader and trombone player, Sarah Morrow. The result was a show that seamlessly blended Jazz, blues, funk, and Louisanna Gris Gris.

Sarah Morrow has a pedigree in the world of jazz that digs deep. She toured with Ray Charles for two years and she joined a three-horn section in a funk group led by former Miles Davis lead bassist Foley. She has since recorded and toured with her own groups as well as with many great artists, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Murray, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, organist Rhoda Scott, tenor sax legends Pee Wee Ellis and Hal "Cornbread" Singer, The Mingus Tribute featuring Mingus alumni Ted Curson and Ricky Ford, French star Anne Ducros, and funk legend Bootsy Collins.

Bass man, Dwight Bailey, has been playing bass since he was 14 years old. Today his extraordinary talent is split between the Vernon Hairston Trio, the Ken Weaver Quartet, Wilbert Longmire, as well as the Night Trippers. Guitar man, David Yoke, is originally from Anniston, Alabama, not far from the musically drenched Muscle Scholes area. He has a history of playing with the Susan Tedeschi Band. Ben Alleman, organ player extraordinaire, tours with Better Than Ezra and subs as a Nashville studio musician when he is not on the road with the Nite Trippers. Finally, drummer, Shannon Powers, from New Orleans has played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and other notables. The band as a whole is gritty and as tight as any band on the scene today.

The tour is labeled the "Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch - a tribute to Louis Armstrong." Fortuitously, Dr. John’s latest CD release has the same name. The tour may be dedicated to Lewis Armstrong, but the show was pure Dr. John. A peppy rendition of "The Dr. Is In," that led into "Iko, Iko" started the festivities. It was apparent that Sarah Morrow was the concierge for the band giving it the spark and personality from the start. Her trombone playing earned standing ovations from the crowd throughout the set.

Once Mac was warmed up, his piano took on a life of its own and rivaled anyone in the business today. It did not matter if it was blues, jazz or funk his technique was his own and totally mesmerizing for the happy dancing fans. He also donned the guitar for a song or two. The guitar was his first instrument when he first played professionally. Song highlights included "How Come My Dog Don’t Bark," "Rain," and "Love For Sale." Each member of the band got to show off his/her skills with an extended version of "Big Chief." They were masters of their craft and it was pure pleasure to be a participant!

This was the last stop for the tour this year. The good times will roll again for Dr. John and his crew next year.
Set List:
1. The Dr Is In

 2. Iko Iko/Shoo Fly (Don't Bother Me)

(The Dixie Cups cover)
3. Didn't He Ramble

 4. The Monkey Speaks

 5. St. James Infirmary

(Louis Armstrong cover)
6. I Walk on Guilded Splinters

 7. Big Shot

 8. Locked Down

 9. Right Place, Wrong Time
10. Let the Good Times Roll

 11. What a Wonderful World

(Louis Armstrong cover)
12. How Come My Dog Don't Bark

 13. Love for Sale

 14. Rain

 15. Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

 16. Big Chief

(Professor Longhair cover)
17. Such a Night 

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