News

Reggie joins The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in honoring Fats Domino. 

Posted March 17, 2018

Reggie will be reuniting with other surviving members of The Fats Domino Orchestra for two special Jazz Fest shows honoring and celebrating Fats Domino's life and immeasurable contribution to modern music.
 

Thursday, April 26 - The 20th Annual Jazz & Heritage Gala

Reggie will be performing with an all-star Fats Domino tribute band featuring Troy "Trombone Shorty” Andrews, along with some of Reggie's long-time musical compatriots like The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, Deacon John, Davell Crawford, and the Fats Domino Orchestra. PJ Morton and DJ Soul Sister will also perform for the gala. 

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music, the free education program of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation
 

Saturday, April 28 -The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Fats Domino Tribute

Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, Jon Batiste, Deacon John, Davell Crawford and Al "lil fats" Jackson will all be joining Reggie and the Fats Domino Orchestra at this year's Jazz Fest!  from 1:45-3 pm on the Acura Stage.

Visit The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival website for tickets and all your Jazz Fest needs and info!

Jazz Fest is further honoring Fats with the official 2018 poster, pictured here, featuring the commissioned painting by Terrance Osborne titled "The Fat Man." Click on the image to purchase your copy!

 

On the Loss of a Legend 

Posted October 25, 2017

Reggie is reeling from the news that Fats Domino passed away last night, but when Reggie's ready, he's going to post some of his personal photos and stories on his website, www.reggiehouston.com. For now, he wants people to know that Fats was more than a legend - more than the man who Elvis Presley proclaimed "the real king of rock and roll." 

"Fats was a good man," Reggie said this morning. "And I am a better man because of my association with him. Even after I after I quit his band, if I ever wanted to play with him, I always had a gig." 

And it's because Fats was such a good man that he was also a friend and neighbor to all of New Orleans who are grieving with his family and loved ones today. 

So many great musicians who played for Fats have preceded him into Heaven: Fred Kemp, Clarence "Junie Boy" Brown, Walter "Gorilla" Kimball, Erving "Mr. Mardi Gras" Charles Jr., Lee Allen, Fredrick "Shep" Sheppard, Clarence Ford, Tenoo, Joseph "Smokey" Johnson, Earl Palmer, and Herb Hardesty. 

"We second line them home," Reggie said. "And then they second line us in." 

That's gonna be some parade. Rest in Peace Fats. 

(Photo copyright Kurt Hardi)

Mourning the loss of mentor and friend Herb Hardesty  

Posted: December 6, 2016 

"Herb was an amazing musician who played both trumpet and tenor saxophone and was one of the original members of both The Fats Domino Band and Dave Bartholomew's Band. That's Herb's horn that you hear soloing on lots of Fats' greatest hits like 'I'm Walkin' and 'Ain't That a Shame'. Herb's masterful style has graced many a famous musician's shows and recordings, and during his long and illustrious career he's played with luminaries like Lloyd Price, BB King, Tom Waits, Little Richard, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Dr. John, and Ella Fitzgerald.

To me, Herb was both a mentor and friend. When I was a young musician in Fats' band, Herb really took me under his wing and went out of his way to help me. In fact, Herb even showed me how develop black and white film to hustle extra money on gigs. He'd set up a dark room in his hotel room and take photos on stage during the first set of the show. Then he'd run to his room on set break, develop the film and then sell the pictures in the lobby after the show!

My deepest condolences to Marty, Herb's loving, longtime, life companion, his family, children and all who knew and loved him. Rest in peace, my brother."

Here's a great, live audio recording of Tom Waits that really showcases Herb's masterful trumpet playing, and Tom Waits' words seem poignant and appropriate today:

Reggie Wins A Muddy Award And Is Inducted Into CBA Hall Of Fame  

Posted November 4, 2007

Each year The Cascade Blues Association honors those artists recognized for outstanding achievements over the past year with the presentation of the highly coveted Muddy Awards — named in memory of Muddy Waters. With special emphasis given to the local blues scene, artists, events and venues are nominated and then voted upon by the CBA membership, placing the selection of winners completely in the hands of local fans. This year, the CBA chose to honor Reggie with a Muddy in the horn category, and because it was his third consecutive win in that category, Reggie was also inducted into the CBA Hall of Fame.

Reggie Featured On Live Wire Radio Compilation CD 

Posted January 7, 2006

Live Wire Radio has released their first Compilation CD, Live Wire! Live - Vol. 1 featuring the best musical performances from their first year of podcasting their live vaudevillian show. It's a wonderful collection of music, and Reggie's "Mood Indigo" is in good company with: 

  • John Wesley Harding 
  • Sneakin' Out 
  • Sexton Blake 
  • Laura Love Duo 
  • Trashcan Joe 
  • Richmond Fontaine 
  • The Helio Sequence 
  • Colin Meloy 
  • 3 Leg Torso 
  • The Stolen Sweets 
  • Amelia 
  • Klezmocracy 

La Petite Fleur (My View from Below Sea Level) 

Written by Reggie Houston November, 2006

On August 29, 2005, while preparing for a little Monday night gig, I was tracking with interest Katrina's movements in The Gulf. I was in good spirits because I knew where everyone was and believed that they were all safe. Late that night I turned on the TV to get an update. The levee had breached. The unthinkable had happened, and shock ensued. 

The next evening Tom D'Antoni, journalist, author, philosopher and friend came to my regular Tuesday night gig and was moved to write an article, an excerpt of which appears below, and which was printed the very next day in Portland's daily paper, The Oregonian. 

"At the bandstand, Reggie played with a greater intensity than usual. At the other end of the room, the endless loops of devastation played on CNN. Reggie provided the soundtrack. The juxtaposition of the classic "Junko Partner," and the raucous brass band tune "It Ain't My Fault" with a ruined New Orleans was uplifting and heartbreaking all at the same time." 

Remarkably, in just a few short weeks, The Oregon Food Bank and Waterfront Blues Festival with Peter Dammann leading the charge, mobilized the community and pulled off the enormously successful Blues For Katrina benefit which raised $125,000.00 for The Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans. 

As part of my performance for the benefit, I asked Tom to read the article he had written while I played Sidney Bechet's "La Petit Fleur." When Tom mentioned Congo Square, I felt a strong emotional force well up within me. My mind raced with thoughts about how that area had changed. I thought about my old neighborhoods, my family, children, friends, and the smells and sounds of New Orleans. Images crowded my mind, and while Tom read, tears streamed down my face as I continued to play. 

The artist, Diane Russell, who was in the audience snapped a photo of me at that moment. In that image she captured my tears of realizing all my losses. Tears that said what I could not bear to. Tears of pain for the people and history that were swept away by the flood waters. Tears of pain, but also of thankfulness and joy for each of the people who made it through that tragedy and for the indomitable spirit of New Orleans and her people. 

Diane has honored me with a truly beautiful painting (pictured left) that expresses so much-- not only the feeling of that moment, but an expression of memories of my New Orleans-- not the famous Bourbon Street, but Frenchman Street, and Snug Harbour Jazz Bistro. Now that's N'awlins. 

N'awlins Cher! Dat's how we say it. N'awlins. 

My home town. 

The smells: 
"Aint" Liza, with her lavender and morning jasmine about her modest little house around the corner from my family home. Tea cakes filling my nostrils with her ever-present love. Lemonade, my "bellie washer." 
Oh! The many smells! 

And the sounds: 
Honey Bay yellin' "watda melon, watda melon, red to da rind, sweet as sugar and cold as ice" from his early 1940ish truck we called "the vegetable wagon." 
Oh! The many sounds! 

The spirit of New Orleans lives in her sons, daughters and lovers. 

Thank you Diane for honoring my great city with me being a part. 

Reggie Wins Two Muddy Awards! 

Posted November 5, 2005

Each year The Cascade Blues Association honors those artists recognized for outstanding achievements over the past year with the presentation of the highly coveted Muddy Awards — named in memory of Muddy Waters. With special emphasis given to the local blues scene, artists, events and venues are nominated and then voted upon by the CBA membership, placing the selection of winners completely in the hands of local fans. This year, the CBA chose to honor Reggie with two of those awards, one in the horn category, and one in the performance category for his contribution to the Ray Charles Tribute Big Band performance. 

Since moving to Portland little more than a year ago, Reggie has felt truly embraced by the local community-- and he is proud to receive these two awards that symbolize all the love, respect and support he's received from his adoptive home town!

Blues For Katrina Wrap-Up 

Posted September 25, 2005

Blues For Katrina was a remarkable event-- Not only did it raise $110,000.00 for the hurricane relief effort, but it raised spirits and renewed hope. 

Late in the festival, most of the musicians were on stage for The Ray Charles Tribute Big Band when Reggie was able to slip away for a moment. 

Backstage, a woman called to Reggie. Her name was Faye, and like many of the musicians up on that stage, she had recently lost everything to Katrina. 

"I thought the spirit of New Orleans had washed away in the flood," she said. "But it's right here in Portland, it's in the people." 

Reggie ushered Faye backstage with a hug and whisked her off to meet Charmaine where Faye went on to describe how downhearted she had felt until she came down to the waterfront and felt that spirit. Faye explained that when she saw that a real connection had formed between the people of New Orleans and the people of Portland, she felt so hopeful for the first time since the tragedy. 

And you really could feel that spirit rise, buoyed up by the strength of community support, and the uplifting and healing power of the music. And for that Reggie gives a heartfelt thanks to everyone who came together and donated their time, money, resources and talent to manifest such a beautiful and successful benefit. 

Reggie extends his love and gratitude to: 

  • The City of Portland for donating Waterfront Park for the event. 
  • Oregon Food Bank and all the folks who make The Waterfront Blues Fest happen 
  • All the vendors who donated 100% of their profits to the cause 
  • All of the corporate sponsors whose financial support made it possible to donate 100% of festival proceeds to the relief effort. 
  • The people of Portland who came out and gave so generously of their money ($110,000 from 5,000 people!) and of their spirit! 
  • The local musicians for embracing the spirit of New Orleans, and for donating their time and talent. 
  • The New Orleans musicians: Charmaine Neville, Lance Ellis, Devin Phillips, Gerry "Flipper" Meldrum, and Chuck Barber who lost so much in the hurricane, yet came together to give their strength and support to the other victims. 

And Reggie would also like to thank his adoptive community-- his Portland blues family, his Laurelthirst family, his Candlelight and Pshaw family, and all of his new friends who have made Portland feel like home.