New Orleans Part III: Zion Harmonizers at Tipitina’s, 12/19/2010

February 3, 2011

I’m going to skip ahead to the end of our Nola weekend, as I felt compelled to put this group up on a pedestal (so to speak). On the Saturday night we went and saw the Soul Rebels Brass Band over at Howlin’ Wolf in the CBD/Warehouse district. I’ll post something about them later.
The next night, after having ambled around the Garden District and Uptown all day, we went to Professor Longhair’s 92nd birthday celebration at the famous club Tipitina’s. What a way to end our trip! It just so happened that every famous musical New Orleanian and his neighbor were present to commemorate “Fess”, who passed away in 1980: the ever-genteel Lord of N’awlins, Allen Toussaint, a slightly enfeebled Dr. John, Jon Cleary, Joe Krown, an overexcited James Andrews, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, various Mardi Gras Indians, and more, including today’s feature, the rhythmically inflamed, lyrically pious Zion Harmonizers, who kicked things off and very possibly stole the show.
Their music falls into the interstices of old jubilee singing-meets-modern gospel. The harmonies are tight and recall the Norfolk Jubilee scene – see my December 2010 post, yet the drum beat, electric guitar, piano, and bass head into modern gospel territory. Their name rung familiar to me, and I remembered that I have a track of theirs from the great compilation “Experience Gospel!: Gospel Unplugged” (see my Aug 2009 post on the Silveraires).
According to their website, they are looking for a guitarist and a keyboard player. I think my bro and I should move to New Orleans and audition. 🙂

Apologies for the somewhat compromised sound quality.
This song blew me away. The youtube clip of this song is pretty excellent too, the montage alone of them singing in the heavenly skies is just awesome.

Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray – Zion Harmonizers, Tipitina’, 12/19/10

They kicked things off with this classic:

If I Had A Hammer – Zion Harmonizers, Tipitina’s, 12/19/10

Great groove on this one:

Bringing In The Sheep – Zion Harmonizers, Tipitina’s, 12/19/10

A little more modern gospel sound on these last two:

We’ll Walk In The Light – Zion Harmonizers, Tipitina’s, 12/19/10

Love the dialogue at the beginning of this rousing (and rather long!) final number, a mix of good-natured adulation and gentle preaching…

If You Are A Witness – Zion Harmonizers, Tipitina’s, 12/19/10


2 Responses to “New Orleans Part III: Zion Harmonizers at Tipitina’s, 12/19/2010”

  1. I just came across this website. I think we did a pretty good job.
    Many thanks to whoever recorded this and posted it for everyone to enjoy.
    Brazella Briscoe Sr.
    Zion Harmonizers Gospel

    • cocoringo Says:

      Thank you Brazella for finding this blog and writing! You all did an incredible job that night, you were true gentlemen, and as a result, you totally stole the show! A truly memorable night for me and my wife. Your “I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray” is one of my favorite tunes ever. Thanks so much for making such beautiful music, keeping the old stuff alive and for reaching out. Look forward to seeing you perform again next time I come to New Orleans.
      -Cory Seznec

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