Cyrus Nabipoor’s September residency at Gasa Gasa has put him on the radar as one of New Orleans’ rising stars. Tuesday evening’s performance at Gasa Gasa had been highly anticipated by loyal followers of the trumpet player as well as Sexual Thunder!, Noruz and Vance Homme fans. The Portland, OR-raised musician has been making ripples in the New Orleans Jazz, Improvisational, and Funk scene. Last spring, Nabipoor joined Sexual Thunder!, the budding New Orleans funk band who are gaining local momentum after wrapping up their August residency at the renowned Maple Leaf Bar. Sexual Thunder! just announced their next show with Dumpstaphunk, set for September 25th at The Howlin’ Wolf which is sure to be an evening of pure funk euphoria.

Aside from Sexual Thunder!, Nabipoor holds down some complex horn lines in local bands Noruz, Doombalaya, Brass Lightning, and Monomyth. His residency at Gasa Gasa has allowed him to showcase the diverse roster of musicians he performs with. Musically, Nabipoor touches upon many different genres, as he is inspired by jazz, pop, hip hop, RnB, afrobeat, funk, and improv. Before the show began, Nabipoor described how the residency resonated with him. “It’s fun to cross breed genres and crafts and really nice to do it in one place, with a close knit community of musicians.”

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The show began with MC Vance Homme, accompanied by the five original Sexual Thunder! members, as his backing band. The room was dark and the stage was illuminated by red lights, which gave the audience a perfect atmosphere to close their eyes and listen to Vance Homme’s seemingly effortless raps. Milennials in the room found his style refreshing, as it brought back sounds of 90’s hip hop and rap. Fans agree that Vance’s recorded music lends itself to a live band, which was evident during the set. The distortion and delay of the guitar accompanied by an electronic kick, drum pad, Nord Electro and an electronic wind instrument (EWI) gave the live set a touch of electronic sounds that stayed true to Homme’s recorded music.

Aside from wearing sunglasses through the entire set, Sax player Ari Kohn kept it cool with a handful of instruments including tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, EWI, and jingling sleigh bells. Meanwhile, guitarist George Wilde accompanied the auxiliary percussion with a repurposed wine bottle. Rapper Luke St. John made a guest appearance that matched Homme’s skill as a mind blowing lyricist, with a powerful voice and message. Needless to say, the packed room was entranced by Vance Homme’s performance.

Next up came Noruz, a five piece band comprised of Cyrus Nabipoor on trumpet, Amina Scott on bass, Patrick Kelleher on drums, Ari Kohn on saxophone, and Jake Hickey on keys. Their music can be described as improvisational pop music or jazz fusion for those genre nitpickers out there. This group’s focus is on combining the sounds of modern pop genres into their improvisational playing. They seamlessly pulled that off throughout their set as half of the crowd was dancing while the other half was fixated on the dynamic sounds of the group.

Noruz, which Nabipoor also leads, was a fantastic way to bring his September residency to a close. As one of New Orleans leading venues that supports a wide array of contemporary music, Gasa Gasa was certainly a great home for this residency. The combination of wonderful acoustics alongside an intimate environment made for a perfect evening in Uptown New Orleans.

Words by Kali Serna, Photos by Brandon Xuereb – X-Istence Photography (full gallery below)