Once you’ve heard what bluesman Henry Butler’s hands can create on those ivories, there’s nogoing back. Those hands boogie that keyboard like no one else’s. Throw in a classically trainedvoice aching us through the blues, and you’re someplace you have never been before and wouldgive anything to return to, again and again.
Considered the premier exponent of the great New Orleans jazz and blues piano tradition, Butleris a ten-time Pinetop Perkins (formerly W. C. Handy) Best Blues Instrumentalist Awardnominee. A rich amalgam of jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues, and R&B, his music is asexcitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace.
Blinded by glaucoma at birth, Butler has been playing the piano since he was six years old, andarranging, composing, and performing professionally since he was twelve.
A New York Times review of a performance at New York City’s Jazz Standard described Butleras “percussive in his attack, ostentatious with his technique...the picture of stubborn mischief —and, not coincidentally, of New Orleans pianism. He obliged the spirit of the occasion with hisown stylistic consommé: billowing whole-tone glissandi; furrowed, Monkish hiccups; boppishtwo-handed octaves; flare-ups of funk and Chopin.”
The most recent of his many CDs is PiaNOLA Live, with works pulled from his rich archives,about all that survived Hurricane Katrina, which decimated his home and took his piano, Braillescores, and all his recording equipment. Butler can also be heard on recordings by othermusicians, including Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Golub, and Odetta, and on the 2012 release of Treme,Season 2: Music from the Original HBO Series.