HENRY BUTLER

Percussive in his attack, ostentatious with his technique…the picture of stubborn mischief — and, not coincidentally, of New Orleans pianism. He obliged the spirit of the occasion with his own stylistic consommé: billowing whole-tone glissandi; furrowed, Monkish hiccups; boppish two-handed octaves; flare-ups of funk and Chopin.
— The New York Times

Once you’ve heard what bluesman Henry Butler’s hands can create on those ivories, there’s no going back. Those hands boogie that keyboard like no one else’s. Throw in a classically trained voice aching us through the blues, and you’re someplace you have never been before and would give anything to return to, again and again.

Considered the premier exponent of the great New Orleans jazz and blues piano tradition, Butler is a ten-time Pinetop Perkins (formerly W. C. Handy) Best Blues Instrumentalist Award nominee. A rich amalgam of jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues, and R&B, his music is as excitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace.

A rich amalgam of jazz, Caribbean, classical, pop, blues, and R&B, his music is as excitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace. Blinded by glaucoma at birth, Butler has been playing the piano since he was six years old, and arranging, composing, and performing professionally since he was twelve.

Considered the premier exponent of the great New Orleans jazz and blues piano tradition, Butler’s sound has been influenced by the streets (he grew up in the Calliope Projects in New Orleans, has traveled the world, lived on both coasts and in the heartland); by studying with the greats (Alvin Batiste, Sir Roland Hanna, Professor Longhair, and James Booker, among others); by institutions (Louisiana School for the Blind, Southern University, Baton Rouge, and Michigan State University); and by his willingness to explore new boundaries and to take risks."

To date, Butler has played almost every major club and festival in the United States, as well as venues in Brazil, France, Norway, Italy, Japan, Australia, and more. For over forty years, he has conducted workshops, clinics, and master classes throughout the country; he also developed a camp for blind and visually impaired teen musicians, the subject of a 2010 documentary, The Music’s Gonna Get You Through.