Dr. John is not like anybody else. Born, bred and infused with the jazz, R&B, rock, funk and zydeco crosscurrents of New Orleans, he emerged in the 1960s and ‘70s as an original — musically, visually, theatrically and spiritually. The six-time Grammy winner and his band, The Nite Trippers, will perform this Saturday evening at the Uptown in Napa.
Throughout his career, the Louisiana native has maintained two parallel identities: Dr. John, the flamboyant live performer, and Mac (short for Malcolm) Rebbenack, the studio musician, songwriter and producer.
Over five decades he has worked with an encyclopedic list of artists, for starters, Doc Pomus, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, Van Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B King, Gregg Allman, Levon Helm, Art Blakey and Ringo Starr.
Dr. John’s discography includes 35 albums spanning 46 years, along with over 30 collaborations with other lead artists. His most well-known songs are “Iko Iko,” “Such a Night” and “Right Place, Wrong Time.”
Inducting Dr. John into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, singer John Legend said, “He has served as a leading global ambassador for New Orleans and its incomparably funky musical gumbo. Through both his own work and his numerous wide-ranging collaborations, he has introduced the spirit of Mardi Gras to countless listeners.
“Dr. John has been called America’s premier roots musician, but he’s really more than that. He’s a living link to the New Orleans of dixieland and brass bands, a witness to the pioneering work of Fats Domino and Little Richard, who passed along the magic to the likes of The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and Eric Clapton. His hometown, he once said, ‘is part of me, is part of whatever I’m about. The importance of it is beyond anything that I do.’”
“That sense of history and legacy comes through in every note that Dr. John plays,” Legend said. “He brings a unique style and sensibility to everything he does. He has never stopped flying the flag of funk.”
Saturday, July 23, 8 p.m. $40-$65. Uptown Theatre Napa, 1350 Third St., Napa. 707-259-0123. UptownTheatreNapa.com.
Double Heads Up
— Dublin, Ireland, duo at JaM Cellars July 22 and 31
This month JaM Cellars is featuring two alt-rock bands from Dublin, Ireland, Van Archer and The Address. Each is a creation of singer-songwriter James O’Reilly and producer and multi-instrumentalist Ste Greene. JaM Cellars’ First Street location is a tasting room that has incorporated both a performance space and a recording studio, where O’Reilly and Greene will be working on their new album, “Royal Blue.” The Irish duo will perform at the winery’s monthly 4th Friday JaM session and at their Porchfest after-party. Friday, July 22, 9 p.m.; and Sunday, July 31, 6:30 p.m. JaM Cellars, 1460 First St., Napa. 707-265-7577. JamCellars.com.
— Napa alt-rockers Secure the Sun July 28 at Silo’s
Local singer/songwriter Ari Eisenberg, a junior at Napa High School, is excited about Secure the Sun’s upcoming CD release party at Silo’s. “We’ve been writing a lot of new songs,” he said, “and there’s nothing better than playing them live in front of an appreciative hometown audience.” Lead singer Eisenberg, guitarist Liam Mulligan, bassist Anthony Cappeto and drummer Jony Soria-Gill have together or individually performed at BottleRock, City Winery, Theater DeVille, Porchfest and the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. Silo’s Napa, July 28, 7 p.m. $7-$10. SilosNapa.com.