Johnny Vidacovich

Johnny Vidacovich has brought his impeccable jazz drumming to countless bandstands over the course of his sixty-plus year career, with his own combos, as a side-man, and as a member of Astral Project, New Orleans’ venerable contemporary jazz powerhouse. He has been called “the quintessential New Orleans drummer,” and has laid down the groove on some of the most important recordings of our time by names like Harry Connick, Jr., Professor Longhair, and James Booker.

Born in New Orleans in 1949, Johnny Vidacovich began playing drums when he was ten, and professionally in the late 1960s with the Ronnie Dupont Quartet He then joined Al Hirt’s band and started fronting his own more modern-flavored combos.

He was an inaugural member of Astral Project, formed in 1978 with Vidacovich, guitarist Steve Masakowski, bassist James Singleton, sax player Tony Dagradi and pianist Dave Torkanowsky (who left the group in 2001). Astral Project, rooted in the steamy streets of the Crescent City, continues to explore the boundaries of modern improvisation. Vidacovich’s own Trio features a rotating lineup that keeps the repertoire fresh; he can be heard regularly at the Maple Leaf and other venues around New Orleans and beyond.

“Johnny V” has recorded some of the most enduring rhythm tracks of our time, laying down the groove on Professor Longhair’s “Crawfish Fiesta,” James Booker’s “Classified,” and on recordings by Harry Connick, Jr., Johnny Adams, Charlie Rich, Alvin “Red” Tyler, George Porter, Jr., Papa Mali, John Scofield, Mose Allison, John Mooney, Al Belleto, Anders Osborne, Shane Theriot, Tom McDermott, and Anders Osborne, among others. He has been honored with numerous tributes, including a shelf load of Best of the Beat and Big Easy awards.

Vidacovich maintains a calendar-defying schedule of performing, recording, touring, and teaching. He’s recorded four CDs under his own name and over 30 with other artists. He’s played just about every major club and jazz festival in the world (including performing at every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival). He’s led Tipitina’s famed Sunday youth workshops for years, conducts workshops and private lessons, and has served on the faculty at Loyola University and the University of New Orleans.

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