Crescent City Identities
Naughty Professor is the distillation of New Orleans’ eclectic and disparate musical neighborhoods, with influence as wide-ranging as modern hip-hop titan Kendrick Lamar, local Frenchmen Street musicians and jazz-fusion outfit Kneebody. The sextet—whose instrumentation includes two saxophones, one trumpet and a bass-drums-guitar rhythm trio—mashes funk, jazz and hiphop influences with psychedelia that moves, swirls and breathes. Their recent live record, In the Flesh, is a snapshot of Naughty Professor’s current chops and energetic stage show, and they recently finished a new full length studio album, Identity,which features appearances by Chali 2na, The Revivalists’ David Shaw, Ivan Neville, Lettuce’s Eric “Benny” Bloom, Mike Dillon and members of The Soul Rebels. Their Chali 2na collaboration, “Darker Daze,” is a politically charged number that captures the fear of a Donald Trump America. And while appearances at New Orleans Jazz Fest and their adventurous headlining shows are indicative of an upward ascent, drummer Sam Shahin says, “We’re still a very hungry band with fresh ideas looking for that break,” and that break doesn’t seem to be too far away at this point.