Professor Longhair

Another major piano player around town was Professor Longhair (stage name for Roy Byrd). His music differed from Domino's in a few ways. While he recorded some more straightforward R&B songs like “No Buts No Maybes,” he demonstrated greater piano virtuosity and syncopation in his playing, consequently becoming well-known for songs like “Big Chief,” “Tipitina,” and “Mardi Gras in New Orleans.” “Fess,” as he was referred to by his fans, also incorporated Afro-Cuban rhythms into his music.

Much of Longhair’s music came at the end of the R&B era, and signals some of the musical genres and changes that would come in the 1960s. “Big Chief” features a number of repeated riffs, which point towards subsequent genres such as funk and soul.

Wouter Keesing’s Professor Longhair discography, c. 1990s.


Advertisement for music club Tipitina’s, c. 1980s.