Jazz Fest has got the power- The Nth Power that is! Any time of year, New Orleans is buzzing with live musical talent but there are two weekends in particular that fulfill music lover’s need to get down. This year, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will span April 24 through May 3. In addition to being an exhilarating time of year for music fanatics, Jazz Fest season is a special time of year for one of their favorite bands- The Nth Power.
The Nth Power’s founding lineup consists of Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk, Beyonce) on drums and vocals, Nigel Hall (Lettuce, Warren Hayne) on keys and vocals, Nick Cassarino (Jennifer Hartswick Band, Big Daddy Kane) also on vocals and guitar, Nate Edgar (John Brown’s Body) on bass and Weedie Braimah (Toubab Krewe, Kreative Pandemonium) on percussion. Take another look at those band names in parentheses because the Nth Power is a supergroup of established musicians united through a common love of music and its potential to better the world. Representing their New Orleans roots, this assemblage made a formal debut when they released EP Basic Minimum Skills Test on April 20 during Jazz Fest 2013. A year and some change later, they expressed gratitude for its being well received on their “Thank You” tour. The band is at it again, as they wrap up a series of performances with Corey Henry & the Funk Apostles and prepare for appearances at Jazz Fest and the summer festival circuit.
We had the opportunity to catch up with The Nth Power about what’s in store for this year’s festivities:
Considering you released Basic Minimum Skills Test during 2013 Jazz Fest and the EP features a song, JazzFest 4:20, it seems this time of year is significant for The Nth Power. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with New Orleans, and Jazz Fest, specifically? Any advice for a Jazz Fest first-timer?
“Jazzfest and NOLA is extremely special to us because the time, place, vibe, it’s our birthplace. We have made all of our greatest creations in NOLA. It’s a special place rooted in music and spirit. First timers must pace themselves. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Please drink plenty of water.”
You have shows scheduled at Blue Nile, Howling Wolf, the Republic, and also local favorite, the Oak Street Block Party. Can you share a bit about how the different venues will impact your performances? What can a fan catching multiple shows expect?
“Different venues always impact the performance. You never really know until you play the show. We love the Blue Nile because it was the first venue we played as a band. We love the Oak St. block party because we were actually born in the Maple Leaf. We haven’t played the Wolf or the Republic, but we are super excited to play those venues and give them everything we have. A fan catching multiple shows can expect to hear the hits. Over and over and over again.”
With members coming from successful bands of varied genres, how did you all come to find you shared a love for soul? In what ways do you maintain your individual styles while finding a common ground in soul?
“I think we came to find our shared love for music, not really soul specifically. We are all influenced by different types of music, so it comes out of us naturally. So I guess that collective sound creates what people hear to be “soul”.
Considering your pre-existing success as musicians at the start of The Nth Power, do you feel you had a large support group early on and were able to introduce fans to more soul? Does this at all play into the idea of The Nth Power Family?
“We absolutely had and still have a large support group early on. We are proud of the family we have built. Again, we do not focus on any particular type of music. We write what comes out of us, so we are introducing fans to our sound. We simply call it the sound of Love. ”
Your concept is largely based on a foundation of love- in what ways do you think music has the power to bring more love to the world and better our daily lives? As you travel across the country this summer with appearances ranging from Summer Camp to Telluride to High Sierra and many locations in between, what feelings or message would you most like to deliver to your audience?
“We believe in the healing power of music because it is the universal language. As musicians, we have communicated with people who don’t speak our language or can’t see. With that being said, music is the key to reach most people. People don’t realize that what they listen to subliminally seeps in. So if people listen to positivity, they will emit positivity. It’s been proven with the current state of our society. Kids nowadays listen to music with negative messages, so in turn they do negative things. They don’t realize that a lot of which they see is fantasy. We believe that we can change the world thru love. If we all love each other like we love ourselves, then we wouldn’t be dropping bombs on each other. We are all one race. The Human Race. This is the message that we aim to spread around the globe.”
The Music Vibes is Philadelphia-based but has recently expanded to New Orleans, as well. Can you tell us a bit about your experience playing Ardmore Music Hall last month?
“We love the Ardmore! Great people and great vibes live there. It definitely had a New Orleans vibe with The Soul Rebels in there!!”
This year will be the first year The Music Vibes is in New Orleans for Jazz Fest and its surrounding shows and we could not be more excited to catch The Nth Power at their place of origin! Though Nigel Hall has recently announced via social media that he plans to pursue his solo project, his Facebook announcement ended with him writing, “I look forward to seeing you all at my upcoming shows, especially the collaborations coming up for this year’s New Orleans Jazz Festival.” Considering the foundation of love upon which this band was built, we expect good tunes and times are ahead for all musicians in The Nth Power’s lineup and hope you have the opportunity to join us in catching some sure to be memorable performances in the coming weeks!
New Orleans, LA Jazz Fest Appearances
4/26 The Republic New Orleans, LA
4/28 The Howlin’ Wolf
4/29 The Oak Street Block Party
5/4 The Blue Nile
The Nth Power 2015 Tour Dates (Complete List):
2/27 Saratoga Springs, NY – Putnam Den
2/28 Buffalo, NY – Waiting Room
3/01 Toronto, ON – Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
3/27 Boca Raton, FL – Funky Biscuit
3/28 Dunedin, FL – Dunedin Brewery
3/29 Charleston, SC – Charleston Pour House*
3/30 Athens, GA – Georgia Theater*
3/31 Birmingham, AL – Zydeco*
4/2 St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House*
4/3 Chicago, IL – Chop Shop First Ward*
4/4 Lansing, MI – The Loft*
4/5 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom*
4/6 Columbus, OH – Woodlands Tavern*
4/8 Rochester, NY – Water St. Music Hall*
4/9 New York, NY – Cutting Room*
4/10 Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall*
4/11 Providence, RI – The Spot Underground*
4/12 Washington, DC – Gypsy Sallys*
4/14 Durham, NC – Carolina Theatre*
4/15 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West*
4/16 Asheville, NC – New Mountain*
4/17 Greenville, SC – Gottrocks*
4/18 Live Oak, FL – Wanee Music Festival
4/24-25 Albuquerque, NM – Gathering of Nations Pow Wow
4/26 New Orleans, LA – The Republic
4/28 New Orleans, LA – The Howlin’ Wolf
5/21-22 Chilicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival
5/23 Thornville, OH – Dark Star Jubilee
6/7 Ozark, AR – Wakarusa Music Festival
7/31 Telluride, CO – Telluride Jazz Festival
8/1 Bridgeport, CT – Gathering of the Vibes
8/7 Thornville, OH – The Werkout Music & Arts Festival
8/21 Bartow, WV – Camp Barefoot 9 Music & Art Festival
* w/ Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles
Interview by Mia Jester