New music spotlight: Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses

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Published on: April 19th, 2016


Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]
Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]


Aurora Nealand at Jazz Fest 2014 [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]
Aurora Nealand at Jazz Fest 2014 [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]

More beautiful music from Aurora Nealand, this time with her group the Royal Roses. Their latest album, Comeback Children, is some quintessential New Orleans porch listening music. It opens with controlled chaos on the wild and beautiful 'Jump For Joy' and 'Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho' before settling into a more traditional sound on 'Old Man Blues.'

The personnel in the Royal Roses is impressive-- joining the multi-talented Nealand (soprano sax, clarinet, vocals, piano) is David Boswell (trumpet, vocals), Jon Ramm (trombone, vocals), James Evans (clarinet, c-melody sax), Matt Bell (guitar, vocals), Nathan Lambertson (bass), Joshua Gouzy (bass, vocals), Matt Perrine (sousaphone), Paul Thibodeaux (drums), Benji Bohannon (drums), Mike Dillon (vibraphone, percussion), and Charlie Halloran (trombone).

Shades of 'Tiger Rag' pop up on 'Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down' and there are more trad jazz sounds on 'Whatcha Gonna Do When There Ain't No Swing' and a wonderful version of 'By & By.' The Royal Roses turn romantic on 'Squeeze Me' and 'When My Dreamboat Comes Home.' Nealand's expertise in Eastern European sounds shine through on 'Toploulou' as she also plays with the Panorama Jazz Band.

The record takes on a slower, appropriately languid sound on 'Indian Summer' and the mournful 'Hymn 347.' Comeback Children closes with haunting vibes on 'Day After Tomorrow,' a song that makes it feel as though this 17-track album is best heard from late afternoon into early evening, listening through a sunset with a cold drink beside you and chats with neighbors on the porch next door. The level of expertise Nealand and the Royal Roses showcase on the record creates a fun and engaging listen for anyone who simply likes good music. The liner notes wish "thanks to New Orleans for your beautiful vibrant madness,' a sentiment that reverberates throughout the album.

Album fun fact: it was recorded at the home turf of WWOZ's Director of Music, Scott Borne!

Comeback Children is available on CD and mp3 from the Louisiana Music Factory, Bandcamp, and Amazon.

Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses wll be performing at Jazz Fest on Friday, April 29 at the Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent and can be heard on WWOZ during our 2016 Jazz Fest live broadcast. Nealand will also be interviewed, along with Tom McDermott, who she often performs with, at the Alison Miner Music Heritage Stage on the 29th at 2p. Additional upcoming local appearances can be found on their website.

Lagniappe: Aurora Nealand's album with Tom McDermott was the very first new music spotlight last June!

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