Long-lost songs equal a hit album and historic performance for Nocentelli

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — An extremely rare acoustic rehearsal by Leo Nocentelli and a bunch of pros at Kenner on Tuesday marked the team gearing up for a special performance of long-lost songs.

According to famed New Orleans guitarist Leo Nocentelli, “It’s like a brand new 50-year-old record.”

Nocentelli is referring to the recent release of an acoustic album he wrote in 1971. The tapes were sold as part of Seasaint Studios after Hurricane Katrina. The contents ended up in an auction and a West Coast gentleman bought the contents, listened to them, and immediately contacted Nocentelli.

“Next thing I know he started rattling off the titles on the box and I was like, ‘You got what? You got that tape?!'” Nocentelli said.

After some negotiation, the tapes would be released as an album another side, an acoustic side of Nocentelli. Thursday’s performance of the material at Jazz Fest will be the first time it has been performed publicly.

Drummer Jamal Batiste said, “It’s awesome, man, very authentic. it is unique. Definitely different from the projects I’ve worked on before. It’s not the usual.

Nocentelli has his own unique description of the sound of the project: “I call it country because James Taylor has a kind of country orientation, but I would call it country, folk. I would go so far as to add a bit of funk because I can’t help being funky too.

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Grace D. Erickson