The Doctor Is In

It’s fitting that Muppet Show creator Jim Henson based his Dr. Teeth character on pianist Dr. John, who has served as unofficial mascot-ambassador for the city of New Orleans and its indigenous musical forms for a good fifty years now, arguably filling the shoes of none other than Louis Armstrong. That’s pretty staggering when you consider that the guy jumped into the music fray at the tender old age of 14 and is still going as he approaches 70. Known for his Wolfman Jack voice, colorful accent, personality, and outfits, John is the quintessential example of the household-name artist who isn’t always recognized for his contributions to music. Not that you can blame anyone for buying into his surface flash. For a good place to start, look no further than the rousing use of his tune “Right Place, Wrong Time” in the Richard Linklater film Dazed and Confused, in a scene that immortalized the song for younger generations. For fans of that simmering, irresistable stew of boogie, ragtime, jazz, funk, and vaudevillian audacity that New Orleans is known for, John’s is the no-brainer ticket to go with. And even if he’s a little long in the tooth, he’s still got plenty of lip, with surly stage raps that are worth the price of admission alone.
Sat., April 5, 8 p.m., 2008