Hugh Laurie, Dr John, Trombone Shorty in New Orleans tribute

Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:38am EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - Hugh Laurie, Dr. John and Trombone Shorty celebrated bluesy New Orleans music in a three-part show mixing new tracks and southern classics at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Laurie, star of the Emmy award-winning medical television drama "House", opened the sold-out concert on Monday night with "Mellow Down", singing and then moving to the piano.

Tracks played from his 2010 debut album "Let Them Talk" included "St. James Infirmary", "Buddy Bolden's Blues", and "Whinin' Boy". "Swanee River", a minstrel from the Deep South, and "Unchain My Heart", first recorded by Ray Charles and then by Joe Cocker, followed.

"We're doing something mildly hazardous now, a song by the greatest musician in the world, Dr. John. Let's see what kind of mess we can make of this," the 53-year-old British actor joked as he introduced "Wild Honey".

Laurie's top-notch band featured guitarist Kevin Bright and Sista Jean McClain, lead vocalist for "John Henry", a ballad about a steel-driver on the railroad who became an American folk hero.

Laurie also joined Bright on the guitar for "Whining Boy" and, after the Canadian riffed, he quipped: "I could do that stuff, I just choose not to."

"It's been an absolutely amazing experience to be here," Laurie, wearing a ruffled white shirt, told fans as he ended the one-hour set at famed Miles Davis Hall where seats cost up to 220 Swiss francs ($230).

TOUCH OF VOODOO   Continued...

British singer and actor Hugh Laurie greets the audience before his performance at the 46th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux July 9, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse