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John Boutté

Musicians / Band

Music Note
  • Blues
  • Gospel
  • Jazz
  • R&B
  • Soul
  • Swing
  • Traditional Jazz
  • Vocal

John Boutte grew up in New Orleans’ culture-rich Treme neighborhood, and it is only fitting that the impeccable vocalist is best known for penning “Treme Song,” the theme for the critically–acclaimed HBO series of the same name. Boutte’s unique voice and dynamic stage style has made him an audience favorite in the heart of New Orleans and around the globe. Born in 1958, Boutte (pronounced Boo-TAY) grew up in a Creole household rooted in music and in the church; his sister is gospel star Lillian Boutte. He heard the sounds of New Orleans outside his door, as the song goes, but he also absorbed the pop vocal stylings of Marvin Gaye and other R & B and soul artists of the time. He played trumpet and cornet in his school marching bands, and sang in an a capella street group as well as in church. He counts jazz greats Paul Barbarin, Danny Barker, and Allen Toussaint among his mentors. After graduating from Xavier University and a stint in the Army, he planned on a business career. Then he met Stevie Wonder, who told him he had a “signature” voice and encouraged him to make a go in music. Soon afterwards, he joined Lillian on a major European tour, and his professional career began. Back in New Orleans he began playing with the likes of Herlin Riley, Shannon Powell, Nicholas Payton, and Bryan Blade. He opened for Mel Torme, Lou Rawls, Rosemary Clooney, and Herbie Hancock, and began appearing as a headliner at home and around the world. Boutte’s deep spiritual and musical roots provide the framework for his emotionally powerful performances and audience rapport; the New York Times calls him “a wickedly effective communicator.” He’s released 11 albums since 1993, including the excellent 2003 release, “Jambalaya,” “Stew Called New Orleans” with musical partner Paul Sanchez (formerly of Cowboy Mouth), and the 2019 “A Well-Tempered Boutte.” His “Gospel United” CD, recorded live in Denmark, includes his solo version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which has achieved gold record status in Europe. He has made guest appearances on releases by his sister Lillian, Todd Rundgren, Galactic, Cubanismo!, John Scofield, Glen David Andrews, and Tom McDermott, among others. He can also be seen on the HBO “Treme” series, of course, playing himself.

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