@ the 606 Club
23 November 2014
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When singer Lillian Boutté was named “New Orleans
Musical Ambassador” in 1986, she was the second jazz legend
in the city's history to be accorded this honour - the first having
been none other than Louis Armstrong.
It has always been Boutté’s driving desire to bring
the musical heartbeat of her home town nearer to the ears of the
world. Over a period of 15 years and with the help of 17 albums
featuring jazz, pop, blues, soul and gospel, she has succeeded in
conveying the city’s unique atmosphere to an international
audience. During the last 13 years, she has been touring almost
nonstop, doing concerts, club dates and festivals all over the world.
Music was Bouttés life right from the start. At the tender
age of 11, she won her first singing contest. During her musical
studies at New Orleans’ Xavier University, she sang in the
gospel choir, before being discovered by Allen Toussaint, who used
her as a background singer when producing the likes of James Booker,
Patti Labelle, the Neville Brothers, the Pointer Sisters and Dr.
John. Then she went on a five-year world tour as an actor, singer
and dancer in the musical ‘One Mo' Time.’ At the same
time, she made her first solo recordings, and could be seen in two
movies: alongside Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint and Tuts Washington
in the critically-acclaimed Stevenson-Pallifi documentary ‘Piano
Players Barely Play Together,’ and in a bit part in Alan Parker’s
“Angel Heart.” Together with blues legend Brownie McGee,
she can also be heard on the soundtrack of that movie. Lillian also
sang at the Tennessee Williams memorial service in St. Louis cathedral
in her native New Orleans, and America’s high and mighty were
treated to her interpretation of the national anthem in the Superdome.
Lillian Boutté is proud to be friends and to have worked
with musical giants like James Booker, Henry Butler, Denny Barker,
Allen Toussaint and of course Dr. John, with whom she produced the
CDs “The Jazz Book” in 1993, and “But...Beautiful”
Critics have compared Lillian Boutté with Bessie Smith,
Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. In Europe, she and her husband
Thomas L’Etienne and her band ‘Music Friends’
have already acquired a large following.