Naughty Professor
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Naughty Professor

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band R&B Soul




"Album Review - Naughty Professor's "Until the Next Time""

Naughty Professor

Label: Independent


About the Band: Naughty professor is an instrumental funk/jazz sextet making some noise out of New Orleans. Although their newest release has some New Orleans flavors, with all the band members originally from other cities, the album contains a wide variety of funk and jazz influences.

You’ll like it if…You’re into a brand of instrumental funk that features more heavy jazz influences. Not quite as jazzy as the Joushua Redman Elastic band, or as dancy as Lettuce.

Avoid if…you’re looking for a more traditional New Orleans funk sound. Naughty Professor really doesn’t do the heavier party funk of Big Sam, the second line influenced rhythms of The Meters, or the Dr. John Swampy voodoo thing. But you can hear some early Galactic thrown in.

About the Album: Until the Next Time is a refreshing jazz/funk album from a very young band living in New Orleans. Despite still being in school, the band has managed to release an EP (the Theep), a full length album and score gigs at some of New Orleans most revered venues including, The Howlin’ Wolf, and Tipitinas. They’ve also shared the stage with the likes of The Soul Rebels, Victor Wooten and The Rebirth Brass Band. And although they’ve put together quite a resume in only a few short years, what’s probably most impressive is their collective musicianship and the maturity of their songwriting.

As individual musicians, each band member is talented and more than capable of both cultivating a deep groove and shredding solos. Although no one member ever dominates, some individual highlights include the sax solo on the album’s opener ‘Six Dog Knight‘ and ‘Coalmine (intro)‘ and Sam Shahin’s drum solo on ‘Chef’s Special.’ Anchoring the band’s rhythm section are bassist Noah Young and Drummer Shahin, and it’s obvious that these two are extremely comfortable playing together as they lock in from the albums opening to the final note. The rest of the band follows suit, and all the horn melody lines are crisp, focused, and accurate. Bill Daniel is surely an interesting guitarist, but sometimes it feels like he’s trying to do double duty–playing both chordal rhythm parts and adding interesting sonic textures. Daniel certainly has the interesting textures down pat, but stylistically his rhythm playing just isn’t as tight as the rest of the band. Sometimes that makes for a nice contrast, but at other times his playing seems to clash with the rest of the band. The B3 organ on Chef’s Special left me wanting more on the rest of the album, and the addition of another rhythm player would likely allow Daniel to focus more on his unique fills and textures.

The Album’s songwriting is creative without becoming burdensome for the casual listener, and each song is refreshingly unique while still sounding cohesive as an album. Songs are constantly changing and morphing, but they always manage get back to where they started by the end. It’s nice that they don’t fall into the common instrumental funk pitfall of just creating a simple melody and then soloing for the rest of the tune, but occasionally songs veer off in too many directions making them less focused and effective. Sometimes it seems like there were almost too many good ideas floating around as these songs were written, and as the band progress, they’ll likely become better at identifying which ideas to use and which to shelf for a later tune or part.

Despite some songwriting missteps, this is a surely a great debut from a young up and coming New Orleans group. And even though this is a great record, their next one will likely blow you away.

Favorite Song: ‘Six Dog Knight’ A cool mid tempo tune with sharp horn melodies and a great sax solo. Sounds like it could almost be a Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe tune–in a good way.

Least Favorite Song: ‘Coalmine’ This is a good example of a tune that loses focus. It starts with a great melody, but after around 4:10, the song just kinda feels lost.

Bottom line: This is really a great debut from Naughty Professor. Within the New Orleans community they present a refreshing take funk, and their sound will likely continue to grow as they mature individually and as a band. STREAM IT. - Workin' Man's Blues

"Naughty Professor Holds Class"

Somewhere, there's an attractive educator who has no idea she inspired the band name Naughty Professor.

"Our trumpet player had a hot teacher once," says drummer Sam Shahin, chuckling on the phone from Vermont, "and there's really not much more to it than that."

Cheekiness aside, Shahin says the name also represents the raw sound this New Orleans-based, instrumental jazz/funk sextet, who mostly met while attending the city's Loyola University, creates with their music. It's certainly what attracted Shahin, who's been drumming with them for the past two years. "I had always liked Naughty Professor and been a big fan of their music," he says.

Austin native Shahin, 24, was already in a band with Professor members Noah Young (bass) and Nick Ellman (alto and baritone sax) called Crooked Culture, which Shahin says "has broken up entirely." When Professor's previous drummer left the group to move to upstate Louisiana and work on a farm, Shahin eventually showed up with his sticks. "I kind of came and auditioned for them for a while and played some of their songs," he says. "And we decided to join forces."

Now that guitarist Bill Daniel, trumpeter John Culbreth and tenor sax man Ian Bowman have just graduated from Loyola, the band can now fully concentrate on getting their music out there. Over the four years they've been a band, Professor has released an album and an EP (which can be downloaded on their website, and has opened up for such artists and groups as Victor Wooten, Fitz and the Tantrums, Snarky Puppy and the Rebirth Brass Band.

"We've been focusing on New Orleans and building up our sound and getting to play with some of the people who are the reason that a lot of us were attracted to New Orleans to begin with," Shahin says. "And that's been a lot of fun."

Much like some of the artists they've opened for, Naughty Professor is out to bring fresh, contemporary pep to some retro music, often mining their influences for riffs and licks they can put a modern-day spin on.

"We're jazz cats in some sense, but we're really making music in the modern era, you know," says Shahin, whose influences range from Count Basie and Max Roach to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. "We all have a lot of different influences that contribute to our sound. So, there's even a lot of polarizing ones. Some guy will like, say, Mingus or other cats really like the free-jazz realm with Sun Ra and stuff like that. So, it's a wide variety that kind of differs individually, player by player. But that's what we hope creates a diverse sound."

Even though this 20-something crew plays with an obvious, youthful vibrancy, Shahin says he and his fellow bandmates are well-aware their music education is far from over.

"I think that we all really, really appreciate that there's a lot that comes from maturity, and we try to approach ourselves with as much maturity as we have and take that everywhere we go," he says. "But we do have a youthful energy and sort of a range to us. But it's all about learning everyday and so, everyday that we do get older and everyday that we do something new or go somewhere new, we try to let that impact everything we write and the way we act in the music industry as much as possible."

Currently on tour (they'll perform at the Pour House Music Hall Friday night), Naughty Professor will start work on a full-length album when they get back to N'awlins in the fall. Until then, they'll be hitting cities all over the country, possibly getting more smoking-hot teachers out on the town all hot-and-bothered with their music. - Raleigh Observer

"Naughty Professor Dunedin Brewery"

Months ago, Serotonic’s guitar player, Jordan Garno, put a bug in my ear. “Naughty Professor,” he near-whispered. “Incredible New Orleans band.” And he just nodded.

IMG_2481Last night, I was nodding, too. As was Jordan. And everybody else in the intimate Dunedin Brewery. I have seen the future. And the past.

Let’s suppose you wanted to build a funky jazz band. Or a jazzy funk band. How would you go about it? Here is an architect’s rendering:

You need a strong foundation. Start with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, with that three-horn frontline. Add a floor of Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Next floor: James Brown’s Famous Flames and P-Funk. Going up: Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi band and Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House with the Brecker Brothers and David Sanborn. You’re getting the picture.

Assorted Marsalis collaboratives. Dirty Dozen, Rebirth and Soul Rebels Brass Bands. Galactic, Karl Denson and Lettuce. And Snarky Puppy in the penthouse.

IMG_2482Naughty Professor hit every one of those – and more — at some point during their mind-blowing sets. I felt at times as if I had lucked into a History of Jazz concert. Take trumpeter John Culbreth, for instance. His magnificent tone kept reminding me of Dizzy Gillespie. Nick Ellman’s alto sax work recalled Paul Desmond and Art Pepper. These six young men form an incredible juggernaut, and the possibilities for them are endless.

This band is tight, as tight as any I have ever seen, and I thought I had made the same pronouncement about a number of bands on our scene (mentioned above and more). It starts, as it must, with the rhythm section. You almost don’t notice Noah Young on bass, because he is fairly stoic (especially compared to the horns!), but as you listen you realize he is just crushing it, along with drummer Sam Shahin. Shahin is lots more animated, and he has a marvelous sense of time. Together, they provide the superb syncopation for the ensemble horn attacks.

NP is old school and new school all at the same time. Whenever one of the horn players takes a solo, the other two have a delightful habit of walking off stage to focus attention on the soloist, then playing as they walk back on stage. It is effective, respectful and engaging, and it also allows more face time for the rhythm section and Wild Bill Daniel on guitar.

Ian Bowman plays tenor saxophone, and through his horn you hear the history of jazz as well. Clearly, these boys have studied and listened and synthesized and made this music their own. Ellman also plays a monster baritone saxophone.

IMG_2484I missed the entire first set. I won’t make that mistake again! I walked in just as the second set began. Jordan and Robert Sanger, bassist for Serotonic, were there already. I also spotted Jamie Newitt, drummer for the Heavy Pets, sitting at the bar, and Josh Formanek, guitar player for Infinite Groove Orchestra. Musicians in the house!

Right out of the gates, they hit Jazz Messengers stride with “Knockwurst” from their new CD, Until the Next Time. Next was a tune from theep (the EP), “Chef’s Revenge.” Bass and drums led eventually to a fine tenor solo from Bowman; I kept hearing Tiny Universe in my head. A new tune, “Prune Juice,” showcased Ellman on both alto and bari.

Then they called up Newitt to sit in on Lettuce’s “Breakout.” The mutual joy and respect were evident. They closed the set with “Chef’s Special” from the new disk, featuring solos from Culbreth and Bowman.

During set break, I mentioned to Formanek that the guitar player did not have much solo space that set, although we agreed we liked what we heard from him. What we did not know was that the third set was merely an excuse to unleash “Wild Bill” Daniel.

IMG_2483And unleash they did! A pair of great originals (all the tunes were theirs except for the Lettuce song) was followed by “Elephant’s [??],” and “Wild Bill” took off. A ballad followed, “Out on a Limb,” with Bowman and Young stepping out, but then “Wild Bill” forgot it was a ballad and blasted out again with another great solo.

Next up was a baritone sax tour de force with Ellman blowing and gyrating, working along with Shahin’s drums. After that, a couple of guys who knew the material kept calling for a tune. And what a great call it was! From the new disk, they closed with “Six Paper Joint.” Bowman took another mean turn on tenor, and then “Wild Bill” went on a long, trippy guitar excursion. It was awesome!

There was obvious support for an encore, and they rolled out “Metal Mariachi” from theep. Once again, Wild Bill” got the nod, and then Shahin entertained with a joy-filled drum solo.

And every tune featured that tight ensemble horn work at some point during the tune. Hubbard, Shorter and Fuller? Brecker, Sanborn and Brecker? These boys belong in the same conversation. For real.

Paul Levine: I’m sure you already know about these cats, but PLEASE bring them to Bear Creek. Thor, Wayne, In the Groove and WMNF: PLEASE bring these boys back to the Tampa area. And thanks to Naughty Professor for donating a copy of Until the Next Time to WMNF and In the Groove!

To quote from Pedro Bell’s album cover for Uncle Jam Wants You: DESE CHUMPS ARE SE-REE-OUS!

Did I mention that I love the Dunedin Brewery? And that they have in Chris Fama one of the best sound engineers anywhere?

Great to see Jordan, Kelli-Ann, Robert, Josh and Jamie. Wonderful to meet Julie and Kimi Tortuga! And I’m looking forward to hearing you, Kimi!

[Setlist: SET 1: ??; SET 2: Knockwurst, Chef’s Revenge, Prune Juice, Breakout, Chef’s Special; SET 3: ?, ?, Elephant’s ?, Out on a Limb, [bari tune], Six Paper Joint; Encore: Metal Mariachi] - Tie Your Shoes


Until the Next Time - 2013
Theep - 2011


Feeling a bit camera shy


Naughty Professor is a forward thinking music endeavor pioneered by six young musicians from around the country, now anchored in New Orleans, Louisiana. Formed in 2011, the band embodies the jazz-influenced party culture of the Big Easy in a constantly evolving, high energy acid-jazz/heist-funk outfit. Naughty Professors' live performances, which weave together complex, horn-heavy compositions and loose individual improvisation, quickly commanded the attention of many notable musicians in town, including George Porter Jr., Galactic, and The Revivalists. These unique performances, in conjunction with their 2013 release of “Until the Next Time" and consistent live video releases, have continued to expand and strengthen the band's diverse fanbase over the passed few years. With fresh recorded material in the works and a rigorous tour schedule planned for 2014 and beyond, Naughty Professor is poised to soon become the next household name associated with the echelon of New Orleans music.

Naughty Professor has shared the stage with Fitz and the Tantrums - Galactic - Snarky Puppy - Victor Wooten - Big Sam's Funky Nation - Papadosio - The Revivalists - Earphunk - Flow Tribe - George Porter Jr. - Rebirth Brass Band - The Soul Rebels - and more