Music » Playing Around

Playing Around: Rockin' Jake

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Things one might hear when discussing Rockin' Jake: "Is that a wad of chaw?"

"That guy could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch."

"I had a lip like that after a bar fight once."

"Do you think it's numb?"

The lip in question is large, muscular and tautly stretched over Jake's bottom row of teeth. It shines with smooth, leathery skin, and is highlighted by a dark soul patch growing from just under its curve. This lip does more than just frame a mouth -- it's what enabled Rockin' Jake to become one of the most popular blues artists on the New Orleans music scene and to be honored as Best Blues Harmonica at the 1995 New Orleans Music Industry Awards. This lip earns its keep.

It came into serious use during Mardi Gras of '95, when the Rockin' Jake Band was formed. Guitarist Brian Stoltz, bassist David Hyde, drummer Russ Broussard and keyboardist John Gros played their first gig with Jake singing lead vocals and playing harmonica at a former brothel on Bourbon Street. Since then the band, fueled by a spicy blend of New Orleans jazz and funk, blues and R&B, has opened for such stars as Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, Branford Marsalis and Junior Walker and the All-Stars.

Rockin' Jake and his fiery harp will headline at Tres Hombres Saturday night. Tickets are $5. Call 687-0625 for details.

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