Billboard Magazine

May 7, 1997


The Big Easy's music community is struggling hard to wed cultural authenticity and hard-nosed business sense. Everyone hopes the marriage will take.

by Keith Spera

Round midnight on a recent Friday, gospel singer and longtime Tipitina's doorman Jo 'Cool' Davis ispreaching to a handful of listeners as he mans his post at the legendary club's back door. "You dont hit until you hit at Tipitina's," he declares. "I have seen when the Neville Brothers didn't have an audience. I have seen when the Radiators didn't have an audience. They didn't hit until they hit at Tip's."

The inspiration for his sermon is Galactic, the young local jazz-funk band about to perform inside. The organ and sax-powered quintet is making its first headlining appearance at the club after three years of honing its sound and building an audience. The group's diligence and patience have paid off- nearly 700 people are on hand tonight, filling the room.

Galactic has learned the funk essentials from the Meters, the legendary New Orleans band of the late '60s and early '70s that was routinely and massively ripped off. But the band also owes much to Medeski Martin & Wood's modern jazz-funk, and its members cite MMW's grassroots success, aided by the Internet and constant touring, as a blueprint for their own campaign.

Check out Galactic's website at for more info on the band and their nonstop tour schedule. You can also listen to their entire album online, in stereo and for free!

Article copyright © 1997 Billboard Magazine.
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