Album: Dr John &amp; The Lower 911 <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Sippiana Hericane, PARLOPHONE
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The Independent Culture

Fired with anger at governmental incompetence and insensitivity regarding the New Orleans disaster, the city's spiritual mayor, Dr John, has taken only a little longer to write, record and release this benefit album than it took the Federal Emergency Management Agency to acknowledge there might be a problem in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

A mini-album whose proceeds will be shared between the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, the Jazz Foundation of America, and The Voice of the Wetlands, Sippiana Hericane has the satisfying aptness and compact focus that most broad-based benefit albums struggle to achieve, with a four-part "Wade: Hurricane Suite" sandwiched between elegiac versions of Bobby Charles's eco-song "Clean Water" and the Doctor's own sad reflection on the catastrophe, "Sweet Home New Orleans" ("Ain't no Mardi Gras, ain't no second line/ From the Garden District to the Lower 9").

But it's the central suite that really impresses, an ambitious piece, based loosely on "Wade in the Water", which treats the city's rich musical traditions like classical forms, splicing jazz and R&B strains with a deceptively sophisticated touch.


'Wade: Hurricane Suite'