As like vibration attracts like vibration, it’s no surprise that after years of collaboration vibraphonist Mike Dillon, pianist Brian Haas, bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich should finally become one with the formation of the Nolatet and the subsequent release of their debut album, Dogs, due February 26 on RPF. These four men have been in each other’s lives for as long as they can remember. Vidacovich and Singleton have been New Orleans’ best rhythm section since 1977, having backed everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Professor Longhair to James Booker. Dillon and Haas have been sharing bills and sitting in with each other’s bands, including Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Garage A Trois and Dead Kenny Gs, on the same touring circuit since the mid-’90s. All four have played together countless times in various configurations. Individually, they are fiercely independent iconoclasts and bandleaders who compose, play and navigate their musical lives true to their own idiosyncratic visions.
“Musically speaking, the Nolatet is fearless. The music ebbs and flows effortlessly, like rebirthing an amoeba,” explains Mike Dillon. “We have one of the all time great New Orleans rhythm sections in Johnny Vidacovich and James Singleton. Like any great rhythm section, they make you find parts of yourself that you never knew existed. With that as our foundation, there’s no telling how far the music can expand with each performance.”
Studio Video of “Bongo Joe”
Studio Video of “Dogs”
Photo: Zac Smith