Nigel Hall
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Nigel Hall

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band R&B Funk

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"Nigel Hall Plays His New Neighborhood At French Quarter Fest"

Spirited keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, a Washington, D.C native, lived in Harlem before heading south and finally making his home in New Orleans in November 2013. Hall is a soul ’n’ funk man who’s a perfect fit for this city—he’s musically diverse, allowing him to mix it up with any number of artists. Enthusiastic about life and his craft, Hall simply just gets this unique metropolis.

“I do know that New Orleans has become a place that I really, really enjoy,” says Hall, who leads his group, Nigel Hall & the Congregation, at his debut French Quarter Fest appearance. “I don’t think there were any surprises. Everything that I was looking forward to moving to New Orleans for has happened. As interesting as New Orleans is, it’s very cut and dried. I’m glad because I don’t take surprises very well,” he adds with a laugh.

Familiar faces fill the ranks of the Congregation, which features soulful guitarist Derwin “Big D” Perkins of Jon Cleary’s Absolute Monster Gentlemen fame, drummer Alvin Ford, known for his work with Bonerama, and bassist Eric Vogel, recognized for his time with Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Groovesect.

As for Hall, if his name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, it’s nonetheless very possible that many music fans have seen him performing as leader with residencies at the Maple Leaf and Chickie Wah Wah and as sideman at a multitude of gigs. He’s been playing fairly regularly with Cleary—a great combo—Soulive, the jam band Lettuce and the Dr. Klaw project that includes Dumstaphunk guitarist Ian Neville and bassist Nick Daniels. Hall is also a member of the Nth Power band, a funky group he describes as “very mathematical,” and produced, played keys and sang on Dirty Dozen drummer Terrence Higgins’ latest CD, Rage Until Sunrise.

Hall promises that his set at French Quarter Fest with the Congregation will be very funky, upbeat and filled with both original material and classics from artists such as vocalist Luther Vandross and Frankie Beverly & Maze.

“[The Congregation] is a band where we all get together and have fun,” Hall offers. “There’s really no high stress about that band. We’re good musicians, we know the tunes and we just have fun. We’re there to provide good times for the people.”

Hall, 32, now lives in the French Quarter and says that living in the neighborhood makes his first appearance at the French Quarter Fest that much more significant. “It feels great to represent my home in that way,” he says. “If I can be somewhat of a representative of where I live, that’s awesome, that’s something that I take pride in.

“Is there anything I miss about New York?” he continues. “Absolutely not.” - Offbeat Magazine


"Soul singer/keyboardist Nigel Hall Worked Through His Nerves At 2014 New Orleans Jazz Fest"

Soul singer and keyboardist Nigel Hall admitted to a bad case of nerves both before and during his2014 New Orleans Jazz Fest set at the Congo Square Stage on Thursday (May 1). Though he's performed at the festival several times over the years -- most recently last weekend, as a member of fellow keyboardist Jon Cleary's band -- his own name was never on the marquee.

But there it was, writ large in the festival's distinctive script at the Congo Square Stage. At Congo Square, Hall, who moved to New Orleans a year and a half ago, presented a mix of original compositions and selections from the soul/funk canon. Early on, he showcased songs destined from his forthcoming, self-titled album, due out this fall. He co-wrote "Give Me a Sign" with Soulive's Eric Krasno, a frequent collaborator in Dr. Claw and other projects. Hall originally penned "Don't Change" thinking Troy "Trombone Shorty" might record it, but ultimately decided to keep it for himself.

Dressed in a white sport coat over a plaid shirt, Hall hauled out keyboardist Greg Phillinganes' "Baby, I Do Love You," from Phillinganes' 1981 "Significant Gains" album. He and his band, the Congregation, launched into a lovingly rendered treatment of Frankie Beverly & Maze's "Golden Time of Day"; guitarist Derwin "Big D" Perkins caressed and coaxed a sweet-toned solo that approximated the original. Maze is Hall's favorite band of all time. "On Sunday, I'm gonna be standing right where you are, watching Frankie Beverly & Maze play that same song," he announced to the crowd. "It's an honor to be on this (same) stage."

On Hall's own "Never Gonna Let You Go," he led the audience in a call-and-response built on variations of the word "never." The impromptu crowd-choir aped "NEV-er" just fine, but had trouble with the more complex "ne-eh-EH-ver."

nigel hall.JPG
Soul and funk keyboardist and singer Nigel Hall, following his 2014 New Orleans Jazz Fest show at the Congo Square Stage on Thursday, May 1.
Keith Spera, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

It's been a busy week for Hall, with gigs pretty much every night. His voice hinted at the ill effects of all that singing, but remained largely on point. So, too, his crisp band; in addition to Perkins, it featured second guitarist John Notto, bassist Calvin Turner and drummer Alvin Ford Jr. (who was also one of the two drummers in John Michael Rouchell's TYSSON project at the Fair Grounds last weekend).


They concluded with a straight-instrumental reading of James Brown's "Make It Funky." Hall dedicated it to former James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley -- who happened to be watching, prior to his scheduled appearance with Donald Harrison Jr. later Thursday ("that made me even more nervous than I was," Hall confessed later).

With Wesley watching, Hall alternated a soft, nimble touch with soaring, church-worthy, sustained notes. At times, he sounded like Art Neville, even as the Congregation came off as fatter and fuller than the classic, slinky Meters. Turner teed up a big, rubbery bass solo, squaring off with Hall as the guitars sat out.

Afterward, Hall confided to Ford that his hands were shaking throughout the set. "That's funny, because you've played on bigger stages," Ford said.

"But never the New Orleans Jazz Fest under my name," Hall replied.

Now, he has. - Nola.com


"Nigel Hall Plays His New Neighborhood At French Quarter Fest"

Spirited keyboardist and vocalist Nigel Hall, a Washington, D.C native, lived in Harlem before heading south and finally making his home in New Orleans in November 2013. Hall is a soul ’n’ funk man who’s a perfect fit for this city—he’s musically diverse, allowing him to mix it up with any number of artists. Enthusiastic about life and his craft, Hall simply just gets this unique metropolis.

“I do know that New Orleans has become a place that I really, really enjoy,” says Hall, who leads his group, Nigel Hall & the Congregation, at his debut French Quarter Fest appearance. “I don’t think there were any surprises. Everything that I was looking forward to moving to New Orleans for has happened. As interesting as New Orleans is, it’s very cut and dried. I’m glad because I don’t take surprises very well,” he adds with a laugh.

Familiar faces fill the ranks of the Congregation, which features soulful guitarist Derwin “Big D” Perkins of Jon Cleary’s Absolute Monster Gentlemen fame, drummer Alvin Ford, known for his work with Bonerama, and bassist Eric Vogel, recognized for his time with Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Groovesect.

As for Hall, if his name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, it’s nonetheless very possible that many music fans have seen him performing as leader with residencies at the Maple Leaf and Chickie Wah Wah and as sideman at a multitude of gigs. He’s been playing fairly regularly with Cleary—a great combo—Soulive, the jam band Lettuce and the Dr. Klaw project that includes Dumstaphunk guitarist Ian Neville and bassist Nick Daniels. Hall is also a member of the Nth Power band, a funky group he describes as “very mathematical,” and produced, played keys and sang on Dirty Dozen drummer Terrence Higgins’ latest CD, Rage Until Sunrise.

Hall promises that his set at French Quarter Fest with the Congregation will be very funky, upbeat and filled with both original material and classics from artists such as vocalist Luther Vandross and Frankie Beverly & Maze.

“[The Congregation] is a band where we all get together and have fun,” Hall offers. “There’s really no high stress about that band. We’re good musicians, we know the tunes and we just have fun. We’re there to provide good times for the people.”

Hall, 32, now lives in the French Quarter and says that living in the neighborhood makes his first appearance at the French Quarter Fest that much more significant. “It feels great to represent my home in that way,” he says. “If I can be somewhat of a representative of where I live, that’s awesome, that’s something that I take pride in.

“Is there anything I miss about New York?” he continues. “Absolutely not.” - Offbeat.com


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