Born and raised in the city itself, Luther Kent is no stranger to the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and will bring his big horn band, Trick Bag, with him when he performs for his 38th time at the festival this May 1.
Related: Read more on the all-AXS Jazz Fest Guide
Kent has been a major part of the New Orleans music scene for more than four decades. As a youth, he would study classic blues singers like Etta James and Ray Charles and the naturally gifted singer's recording career began at the age of 14 in Louisiana. Eight years later, in 1970, he started singing in the band Cold Grits. The group never took off and after they broke up, Kent was asked to become the lead singer for the legendary R&B band Blood, Sweat and Tears. Kent toured with the group from 1974 to 1976, but was never able to record with them.
In 1978, Kent started Trick Bag with the late Charlie Brent, the then musical director for Wayne Cochran and CC Rider. The band played locally in New Orleans five nights a week for a good 15 years and they became known for having many famous musicians—Mick Fleetwood, Jimmy Page, Etta James, Boz Skaggs, B.B. King and Gregg Allman, to name a few—sit in with them after-hours when they came to NOLA.
Kent released three albums with Trick Bag, the last being in 1997 before the band disbanded. Although no longer performing as frequently as they once did, the members still regroup every year to play the New Orleans Jazz Fest and their appearance has been a fixture at the festival for more than two decades.
The horn-based band performs many old blues classics and Kent is one of the best rhythm and blues singers you’ll see at the festival. In 2000, he was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame. Kent is someone that people from all walks of life look forward to seeing while visiting New Orleans.
Luther Kent’s last album came in 2013 with the release of “Luther,” an album that encompasses the sound of New Orleans. He’s also performed with and recorded with The Dukes of Dixieland in recent years, a band based in New Orleans jazz.
Luther Kent & Trickbag
Jazz Fest Performance: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Go see this if: You want to see one of the best New Orleans R&B singers alive today.