Zydeco may not get the attention other musical styles do, but that doesn't mean the genre is stagnant. Witness Sunday evening at Glen Echo Park's open-air Bumper Car Pavilion, where Louisiana's Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble had 100 or so devotees slow dancing, swinging and grinding to their imaginative mix.
Young accordionist/vocalist Taylor has been involved with Afro-Creole music his whole life. His father, Jude Taylor, leads a band, and Curley has an uncle who played with Clifton Chenier. After playing drums in recent years behind the likes of C.J. Chenier and Geno Delafose, Curley took up the accordion and started his own combo.
Performing for nearly three hours over several sets, Taylor and band shuffle-mixed rootsy zydeco standards, funk, elegant waltzes, soul and even a cut that borrowed a verse or two from the current rap hit "Lean Back." With his bassist, drummer and keyboardist laying down 1970s-style party groove rhythms, the group impressed on the rollicking Taylor original "Zydeco Trouble," as well as their cover of War's "Cisco Kid."
Exhibiting his musical respect for his elders, Taylor let his accordion fingerwork and the metal-on-metal percussion of the rub board player control his energetic cover of a Boozoo Chavis standard. Proficient at gospel-derived crooning, Taylor showed off his chops on a slightly reggae-tinged version of Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night," while engaging in impassioned down-home call and response on numbers like "She's a Liar."
-- Steve Kiviat