In a city known for its piano players, Josh Paxton stands out from the crowd. By combining New Orleans' deep piano traditions with modern jazz twists, classical technique, and a funky rhythmic drive, he creates a unique and memorable style that led Dr. John to describe him as "[freakin'] blessed."
Josh moved from his native Ohio to New Orleans in his early 20s to study with jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. After earning his degree he quickly found himself in demand as a solo performer and sideman, playing solo sets at festivals in and out of town, and touring and recording with such diverse acts as the Wild Magnolias, Li'l Queenie, the Cosmic Krewe, Maria Muldaur, and Bruce Hornsby. And by doing the first written transcriptions of the music of piano legends Professor Longhair and James Booker, he solidified his reputation as a serious scholar of the city's musical heritage.
After brief stints in San Francisco and Chicago in the early '00s, Josh returned to New Orleans and has made it his home ever since. In addition to his own solo and group projects, he can regularly be heard accompanying jazz vocal great Debbie Davis; melting faces with funk-rockers Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes; and playing musical cat-and-mouse with bouzouki virtuoso Beth Patterson in ZoüKeys, a band that unabashedly calls itself "New Orleans' premier bouzouki-keyboard duo."
Josh's latest album, Standard Deviation, is a solo piano outing that showcases the spectrum of his musical interests, from boogie to swing to Cuban to Henry Butler-inspired funk to Booker-esque craziness. Music writer John Swenson in OffBeat said, "With [this] album, it’s past time to add another name to the list of outstanding pianists working in the greatest music city in the world." His next project, an album of duets, is currently underway. Sign the mailing list to be kept in the loop for its completion.