Professor Longhair (Fess), born Henry Roland Byrd b. 12/19/1918, d. 1/30/1980 Born in Bogalusa and raised in New Orleans, Fess is considered by many to be the founding father of New Orleans R&B. Fess was so down-and-out at one point in his long career that he was reduced to sweeping the floors in a record shop. However, a booking at the fledgling 1971 Jazz & Heritage Festival put him on the comeback trail and that marvelous comeback testifies to the resiliency of this legend. His performances featured a Latin-tinged, rhumba-rocking piano style and croaking, yodeling vocals. He made a slew of albums in the last decade of his life, topped off by a terrific set for Alligator, Crawfish Fiesta. His most well-known songs were “Big Chief” and “Tipitina”. A testament to his popularity in New Orleans is the local music club named after him: Tipitina’s. He played there regularly when he wasn't on the road and it remains an immensely popular club.
“The Gospel According to New Orleans” ,my collection of iconic New Orleans Musicians, commemorates their role in the evolution of the eccentric culture and music traditions of New Orleans. All depicted in this series are musical and cultural icons who make, or live on through, their significant contributions to the uniqueness of what composes the spirit of New Orleans. They exemplify the joie de vivre that runs through all aspects of life here in all of its diversity.
All work is copyrighted and registered and may not be reproduced in any form without permission of the artist.