THE ROYAL FAMILY BALL 'MASQUERAGE' feat. Lettuce & Soulive w/  Special Guests...

Lettuce, the seven-person all-star collective originally formed in 1992, returns to the funk jazz forefront with its third album, RAGE!, a hyper-charged outing of tunes that are equal parts artsy and party. The CD is a tantalizing tribute to funk music — paying homage to all stripes of funksters, including James Brown, Sly Stone, Herbie Hancock, Tower of Power, the Meters, Earth Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelics, J Dilla—music that reflects "our way of life," says bassist Erick "E.D." Coomes, who is joined in the groove onslaught by his co-ragers: keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonists Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis, guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam "Shmeeans" Smirnoff, and drummer Adam Deitch.

Lettuce sprouted in the fertile environment of Berklee College of Music in Boston where all members met at a summer music program when they were in their teens. "I hate to sound cheesy, but I fully feel it was destiny that this band came together," says Krasno. "We were all in the same place, all the same age. None of the friends I grew up with were into music like I was. Then I went to Berklee that summer, and all these guys were into music the way I was, and it happened that we were all playing the right instruments to put together a band."

All the members brought to the group different funk-styled influences. For example, Krasno was into the new jazz funk of Herbie Hancock, Deitch was raised on Tower of Power and Earth Wind & Fire and introduced that sound through his compositions to the band. Zoidis recalls, "We all lived in the same dorm and we each brought music to the table that the others hadn't heard before. There was an ensemble room downstairs that we began playing in." Krasno adds, "We did a lot of jamming after we did a lot of listening."

Two years later, in the fall of 1994, all Lettuce members, who had remained in contact with each other, returned to Berklee as full-fledged undergrads and picked up right where they left off. They were fond of showing up with their instruments at underground jazz clubs like Wally's (usually at other musicians' gigs) and asking, "Will you let us play?"— hence the birth of the name Lettuce. "We never thought that name would stick," says Krasno, "but we just never got around to changing it."

Since their formation, Lettuce has grown immensely, paying tribute to all types of funk along the way while developing their own flavor. Lettuce is an outlet for the band members from their side-projects. They say, "It's all about good friends getting together to play the kind of music that made us all want to become musicians. We don't have any real expectations. DJs can play this. Jazz fans will like it. People will hear it and hopefully dig it. We're just hoping that Rage! will appeal to a lot of different kinds of people, and the funk will live on."

Soulive has never made any bones about what they do best; it's right there in their name. Since forming in 1999, the trio of guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and keyboardist Neal Evans has carried the torch for the soul-jazz organ trio—that venerable, funky institution pioneered by the likes of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and Groove Holmes in the late '60s. Rest assured, when the Evans brothers first brought Kraz by their Woodstock studio, there was plenty of old vinyl spread out on the floor.

In their 13 years together, Soulive has followed the muse in the direction of hip-hop, R&B, blues and rock, collaborating with the likes of Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli, John Scofield, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Randolph, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, Fred Wesley, The Roots, Ivan Neville and so many others, even going so far as to record a full album of covers by The Beatles (Rubber Soulive). But, no matter how they push the limits of the organ trio, they always come back to their bread and butter: blistering solos and grooves that don't quit.

Maceo Parker: his name is synonymous with Funky Music, his pedigree impeccable; his band: the tightest little funk orchestra on earth.

Everyone knows by now that he's played with each and every leader of funk, his start with James Brown, which Maceo describes as " like being at University "; jumping aboard the Mothership with George Clinton; stretching out with Bootsy's Rubber Band. He's the living, breathing pulse that connects the history of Funk in one golden thread;the cipher that unravels dance music down to its core.

"Everything's coming up Maceo," concluded DownBeat Magazine in a 1991 article at the beginning of Maceo Parker's solo career. At the time Maceo was remembered by aficionados of funk music as sideman; appreciated mainly by those in the know. More than a decade and a half later Maceo Parker has been enjoying a blistering solo career. For the past 20+ years Maceo has been building a new funk empire, fresh and stylistically diverse. He navigates deftly between James Brown's 1960's soul and George Clinton's 1970's freaky funk while exploring mellower jazz and the grooves of hip-hop.

His collaborations over the years performing or recording or both have included Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. His timeless sound has garnered him a fresh young fan base.

George Porter Jr.

Few bass players in the history of modern New Orleans music are as storied as George Porter Jr. During the course of a career spanning four decades, Porter has not only made a deep impression with his work in the Meters, but he's notched sessions with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffett, David Byrne, Patti LaBelle, Robbie Robertson and Tori Amos. Early in his career, Porter worked with seminal New Orleans artists like Allen Toussaint, Earl King, Lee Dorsey, and Johnny Adams. Back in 1965, Porter joined on with the Meters, considered by many to be the ultimate fusion of rock, funk and R&B, and gained recognition as one of the scene's elite bass players.

Porter's rhythmic work in the Meters in lockstep with drummer Zigaboo Modeliste was epic. Those pockets, the long notes and fat holes, provided the cushion for Leo Nocentelli or Art Neville to play or sing over and created some of R&B history's most memorable grooves.

Today, Porter features that epic bottom end in his latest collection of Porter Batiste Stoltz tunes. "It's the ultimate jam band," Porter says, "one that actually is more musical than just playing everything you know in every song. This band slaps people in the face until they see how good the stuff is!"

Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk weaves a vocal and musical tapestry from key members of Dave Matthews & Friends, Harry Connick, Jr. and The Nevilles musical families.

Ivan Neville began absorbing the musical attitude of his father Aaron Neville and uncles Art, Charles and Cyril from birth. Ivan's music honors and extends the Neville Family musical heritage, adding a distinctive new "level of Nevilles" that radiates from his roots and experiences. Ivan first joined the Neville Brothers in his mid-teens, then moved on to become a pivotal member of Keith Richards & The X-pensive Winos, Bonnie Raitt's Band, and The Spin Doctors. His extensive credits include recording and/or performing with The Rolling Stones, Robbie Robertson, Willie Nelson, Angie Stone, Jack Cassady, Gov't Mule, John Mayer, and numerous musical luminaries. Ivan is currently performing with The Neville Brothers in a global tour in support of the album he Co-Produced entitled Walking In The Shadow of Life. Ivan has recently jammed with the likes of The Black Crowes, Widespread Panic, Soulive, Galactic, North Mississippi AllStars, Gov't Mule, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Bob Weir's Ratdog, Funky Meters, The Allman Brothers, Trey Anastasio and Dave Matthews.

Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk played at Jazz Fest 2005 on the main stage and have earned a legendary reputation for their live performances at multiple New Orleans venues (Tipitinas, Howlin' Wolf, etc.) Recently Dumpstaphunk was nominated and won the Big Easy Awards as New Orleans "Best Funk Group" for the year.

Cyril Neville

Cyril is a percussionist and vocalist who first came to prominence as a member of his brother Art Neville's funky New Orleans-based band, The Meters. He joined Art in the prestigious Neville Brothers band upon the dissolution of the Meters.
He has appeared on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, Dr. John and The New Orleans Social Club (among others.) Cyril currently tours as a member of the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars and the Neville Brothers.

GA: $35 & VIP: $75

Tickets Available at the Door

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THE ROYAL FAMILY BALL 'MASQUERAGE' feat. Lettuce & Soulive w/ Special Guests... with Maceo Parker, George Porter Jr., Dr. Klaw, Ivan Neville, Cyril Neville, Alan Evans' Playonbrother

Thursday, May 1 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM at Mardi Gras World

Tickets Available at the Door