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Galactic proves the Big Easy's about more than jazz and funk


Galactic Credit: handout

Galactic proves the Big Easy's about more than jazz and funk

There may be no city in America where music is more important to the culture than New Orleans. Yet many people think of the music from that city purely as something from the past. Jam band Galactic hopes to change that by showing there's more to New Orleans than traditional jazz and funk.

Of course, the band plays plenty of that. But over the years, it has also added hip-hop, rock, electronica and world music to its sound.

amNY spoke with organist Rich Vogel as the band prepared for a four-night stand that will include guests such as the Allman Brothers' Warren Haynes, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and Corey Glover of Living Colour.

How did your current style develop?
When we started out, we were trying to play authentic funk and old-school R&B. Our first couple of records could have been recorded in the early '70s. But over time, other influences creep in and a sound of your own develops. We grew up listening to all kinds of stuff -- punk, hip-hop -- not just funk.

How has the New Orleans music scene changed since Katrina?
We went through some really tough years. Now, we're coming up on six years, and it doesn't feel that way anymore. People came back when they could, and a crop of new musicians came to town. That brought some fresh blood to the city. Today, there's a healthy, vibrant scene.

You were featured in an episode of HBO's "Treme." What do you think of that show's depiction of the city?
It's the best representation anyone has ever made on film or TV that I've seen. They made a point to get around and include a lot of different people and different music and present its musical heritage in a really positive light.

Are there any places in NYC you can recommend for authentic New Orleans food?
When we're on the road, we usually run in the other direction from any place that claims to have New Orleans food. I'm not sure it can be done anywhere else. New York has everything else, but you have to come to New Orleans for that.

If you go: Galactic is performing at the Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m., 61 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg, 718-963-3369, $15-$25.

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