New Orleans R&B

Primarily a piano- and horn-driven style, New Orleans R&B is the next step over from its bluesier practitioners. There’s a cheerful good-naturedness to the style that infuses the music with a good-time feel, no matter how somber the lyrical text. The music itself uses a distinctively “lazy” feel, with all of its somewhat complex rhythms falling just a hair behind the beat, making for what is known as “the sway.” The vocals can run the full emotional gamut, from laid-back crooning to full-throated gospel shouting, while the horn lines provide a perfect droning backdrop. Enlivened by Caribbean rhythms, an unrelenting party atmosphere, and the distinctive “second-line” strut of the Dixieland music so indigenous to the area, there’s nothing quite as intoxicating as the sound of Crescent City R&B. — Cub Koda