Leo Nocentelli stars at Telluride’s Opera House December 28

Leo Nocentelli stars at Telluride’s Opera House December 28

[click “Play” for Susan’s conversation with Leo Nocentelli]

Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation continues its bad ass holiday concert series at the Opera House,  December 28, 8:00 pm, with a performance by The Meters Experience with Leo Nocentelli, a legend discovered by a legend.

In 1957, Fats Domino went looking for a young musician to join his band, someone with a big reputation on the streets of New Orleans. What he found was a child prodigy, a boy of 11 who had already hit his stride. At age 14, Leo Nocentelli became a session guitarist for Allen Toussaint.

The history of The Meters dates back to 1967, when keyboardist Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste, and Leo Nocentelli, still a young man, got together to form the band that became known as the “Pioneers of Funk.”

The Meters signature sound blended funk, blues, and dance groove with a Big Easy bias. After 12 years and 10 studio albums, a special performance at a birthday party for Paul and Linda McCartney aboard the Queen Mary (where Mick Jagger discovered them),  followed by two tours with the Rolling Stones (1975 American Tour and 1976 European Tour), the ground-breaking group came unglued in 1979. But an avid fan base and the fact rap artists Heavy D, LL Cool J and Queen Latifah and bands such as the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic, and former Telluride homeboys, The String Cheese Incident, continued to sample their sound kept the legend going and growing. In 2001, The Meters won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Throughout The Meters’ long run turning up the heat in the national spotlight, Leo Nocentelli penned songs and contributed guitar work. In short order, he became known throughout the music industry as the “funkiest, fast-fingered” guitarist around. Nocentelli’s sound straddled funk, blues, jazz, hip-hop, rap and rock. His charted list of hits includes “People Say,” “Ain’t No Use,” “Fire On the Bayou,” and the Mardi Gras anthem, “Hey Pocky Way.” As a featured guitarist, the musician’s musician recorded with a star-studded list of his peers, among them  Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, The Winans, The Supremes, The Temptations, Paul McCartney, Dr. John, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer, George Duke, The Dells, Jack Bruce, Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Womack, Al McKay, (Earth, Wind & Fire), and Robbie Robertson.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to Leo tell it like it is live in his podcast. Also watch the You Tube video of the man in action.

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