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Herlin Riley & Friends

April 30 at 10:30 PM
Tickets: $30 advance; $35 at the door

Herlin Riley & Friends



Herlin Riley - Drums

Yusa – Guitar & Vocals

Orlando Gilbert – Saxophone

Kyle Roussel – Piano

Max Moran – Bass

Herlin Riley

Herlin Riley is a native of New Orleans, and a member of a very musical family (the Lastie Family). Today he’s considered to be one of the most premier and prolific drummers in the world. The range of his musical experiences and drumming skillsmake Herlin a “first-call” for performers, recording artists and teaching engagements throughout the country and the world.

Herlin started on the drums when he was three years old, played trumpet throughout high school, then went back to drums after college. Soon thereafter he began getting more calls to play drums than trumpet, so in the early 80’s, Herlin switched to playing the drums exclusively and was called to London, Australia and Europe to play in a 1920’s musical style called “One Mo Time”. Immediately upon his return, Herlin received got the call to play with trumpeter Al Hirt’s band, and 5 years with jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal followed.

In 1988, Herlin was invited to play with Wynton Marsalis’ Quintet, which augmented to a septet and later became The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. As a member of the LCJO, Riley played a large role in developing the drum parts for Wynton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning album “Blood On The Fields”. Herlin has also played and/or recorded with Harry Connick Jr., Jon Batiste, George Benson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Ruth Brown, Dr. John, Cubanismo, McCoy Tyner, John Clayton, Dee Daniels, Ambrose Akinmusire, Junko Onishi, Yutaka Shiina, Rufus Reid, Ellis Marsalis, Steve Turre, Branford Marsalis and many more. Locally, Riley and fellow New Orleans drummers Shannon Powell and Jason Marsalis formed a group called The New Orleans Groove Masters. The Groove Masters recorded a single entitled “Get Back” during the COVID pandemic in 2020.

Herlin is also an educator and lecturer in jazz drumming and percussion; he was an adjunct professor at the Bienen School Of Music at Northwestern University, The Julliard School Of Music in New York, and in The University Of New Orleans’ Jazz Studies program. He has released four recordings as a leader: Watch What You’re Doing and Cream Of The Crescent on the Criss Cross Jazzlabel, and New Direction and Perpetual Optimism on the Mack Avenue label.

Herlin Riley has been called “The Baron Of The Boom Boom and the Pulse that keeps the life flowing through any body of work”.


Yusa is a high-energy Cuban musician who seamlessly combines traditional Cuban forms with modern sensibilities. She is a complete musician as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, lyricist, arranger and composer. As music critic Jan Farley put it “the simple sophistication of her music, one knows one is finally hearing 21st century Cuba,”

Yusa grew up in Alamar surrounded by the ocean, which would later influence many of her compositions. She has been making music since she was six years old, starting off studying classical guitar and later becoming the first graduate from the famed Amadeo Roldán Music Conservatory specializing in Cuban “tres” guitar. She paved the way for others to follow in formal conservatory studies of the Cuban “tres” guitar.

The Cuban “tres” guitar was made famous by Arsenio Rodriguez and his Conjunto ensemble in the 1940’s. But in the 1990’s when Yusa was at the conservatory, the “tres” seemed hopelessly wedded to traditional Cuban son music, the kind played by guajiros in country bodegas and rarely, if ever, played by women. In 1997 the rest of the world got an earful of the “tres” played by Compay Segundo on the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack. Although Yusa happened to grow up in Buena Vista, the western Havana suburb that gave the Social Club its name, her musical interests had little to do with that music style. And the local music scene didn't seem to be in great need of a tres-playing poet with jazz-fusion tendencies. Despite this, Yusa hit the bars and nightclubs around Havana with her tres in hand, and then started incorporating electric bass, keyboard and percussion instruments into her repertoire. At this time she joined an all-female improvisational jazz quintet called Quasi Jazz. She then went on to form a duo with Domingo Candelario, discovering that she wanted to write and perform her own material. As the 1990’s drew to a close she had a contract with UK-based Tumi Music to record her solo debut.

The result, Yusa (2002), enabled her to showcase not just her own uncommon talents but those of her favorite Cuban musicians: Pável Urquiza (Gema y Pavel) as the musical director, Roberto Carcassés (Interactivo) on keyboards, Jorge Alexander Pérez (Cuarto Espacio) on bass, Oliver Valdés (Interactivo) on percussion, and Yusa singing and playing everything you can imagine. This album introduced Yusa on the international stage.

In 2001 Yusa became one of the original founders of the seminal Cuban all-star music collective Interactivo, and cemented her relationship with fans that would follow her solo work for years to come. Interactivo continues to inspire and serve as a safe, but experimental home base for its brand of timba-funk – a vibrant mix of hip-hop, rock, jazz and blues with Cuban son, timba, rumba and boleros.

In 2003 Yusa was a nominee for the prestigious BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards as Best Newcomer and Best of the Americas, which led to her tour of England with Lila Downs and Susana Baca. Yusa’s subsequent solo tours in London resulted in the DVD Yusa live at Ronnie Scott’s. In 2004 Yusa was invited by the Brazilian Artist Lenine to participate in a Trio (Lenine, Ramiro Mussoto &Yusa) Live CD/DVD recorded in Paris at Cite de La Musique, as a result of the success of this album Lenine won two Latin Grammys in 2005 one for “Best Brazilian Contemporary Album” and one for Best Brazilian Song”.

Her second album Breathe (2005) was produced by Cuban music artist Descemer Bueno and was a cooler, funkier, more laid-back affair, bringing together top-notch musicians Haydée Milanés, Lenine and Kelvis Ochoa. Yusa’s third album Haiku (2008) was produced by award winning Brazilian musician and producer Alê Siqueira. It is an intimate affair and demonstrates her endless musical abilities.

In 2008 Yusa founded her own label YUSA Records and moved shortly thereafter to Argentina. In Argentina she recorded her fourth album Vivo (2010) as part of a series of four live concerts at the renowned Jazz club Café Vinilo in Buenos Aireas, and her fifth album Libro de cabecera en tardes de café (2012) with the legendary Omara Portuondo, Raly Barrionuevo, Veronica Condomí and Liliana Vitale.

In late 2016 Yusa moved from Argentina to Miami and embarked on a new series of musical endeavors. She began a series of musical pilgrimages to New Orleans performing with Telmary at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (on the Acura Stage), leading Cuban music workshops at the New Orleans Jazz Market and establishing musical collaborations with New Orleans legends Deacon John and Herlin Riley. These initial explorations are now culminating in the Tuba to Cuba tour with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for Fall 2019.

In March 2019, she was the featured collaborator with the Nu Deco Ensemble as part of Miami Light Project’s annual Global Cuba Fest. Yusa returns often to Cuba to perform and tours regularly in Japan, Europe, Brazil, South America and North America.

Yusa draws the listener in with her uncommon and very personal style – a blend of trova, son, pop, jazz, R&B and Brazilian rhythms. She is able to integrate Cuban music with music from around the globe, avoiding clichés and achieving the ever-elusive “fusion”.

Orlando Gilbert

Orlando Gilbert is a saxophonist best known for his work with the music legends of New Orleans. From recording with Christian Scott and Donald Harrison to touring with Delfeayo Marsalis to playing with Trombone Shorty, Ralph Peterson’s GenNext Band, and Galactic, Orlando is one of New Orleans’ young culture bearers. An heir to a unique musical legacy, Orlando’s exposure to music began at birth; his father, John Gilbert, was a founding member of the Rebirth Brass Band and a legend of New Orleans music in his own right. At 15, he picked up the sax, his father’s instrument, and within a year he was accepted into the prestigious arts school, NOCCA, and fell in love with music. Since then, he has had a meteoric rise. Before 18, he had played professionally with artists and music legends all over New Orleans and in 2016, he received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. While there, he played with the likes of Ralph Peterson, Jon Faddis, and many other prominent figures in jazz. Now, Orlando has graduated from Berklee with a degree in performance and is hailed as one of New Orleans’ most prominent young musicians.

Kyle Roussel

Kyle Roussel is a dynamic example of a modern New Orleans musician forging his own path while collaborating with a variety of musical masters. A graduate of the famed New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and the University of New Orleans began playing the piano at age nine; studying classical music before moving on to perform in church and explore jazz in his teenage years.  These days, Kyle is equally adept in the worlds of jazz, classical, funk, gospel, rhythm and blues, and rock- his diverse influences shaping his personal musical identity and providing inspiration at every turn.  Kyle currently performs all around the US, with other engagements taking him all over Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa with stalwarts such as Irma Thomas, Jon Batiste, Tyler Perry, Christian Scott, The Headhunters, Terence Blanchard, Lauren Daigle, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band,  Donald Harrison Jr., Herlin Riley, Delfeayo Marsalis, Victor Goines, Tank and the Bangas, Shannon Powell, James Rivers, Bonerama, Glen David Andrews, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Mia Borders, Topsy Chapman, Roland Guerin, Khris Royal and Windell Brunious. One thing is clear to anyone who is paying attention: Kyle Roussel has only just begun to leave his mark on the world of music.  Stay tuned.

Max Moran

Max Moran is a Louisiana born-musician and composer who has become a first-call bassist across several genres in New Orleans’ thriving music scene. Known for his versatility on electric bass, upright bass, and synthesizer, Moran provides a solid, soulful foundation to a number of classic and progressive bands. Performing since the age of thirteen, Max Moran spent over ten years as the bassist of jazz master Donald Harrison and has also shared the stage with artists such as Davell Crawford, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters), Bernie Worrell (Parliament/ Funkadelic), and Grammy nominees Christian Scott and Jamison Ross.

His band Neospectric features a rotating cast of over a dozen of New Orleans' most exciting and virtuosic young instrumentalists whose collective sideman credits include Jonathan Batiste, Big Sam's Funky Nation, and Solange.

Moran also co-leads the award-winning Bridge Trio along with drummer Joe Dyson and pianist Conun Pappas. The Bridge Trio has performed at prestigious venues such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, has released two self-produced albums, and has received awards from National Public Radio.

As a student of mentors Donald Harrison and Alvin Batiste, and as a full scholarship student at the Berklee College of Music, Moran has gained an understanding that allows him to excel in a diverse array of musical settings with creativity and stylistic authenticity. Moran has also studied with Pulitzer nominated composer and educator, Roger Dickerson, whose former students include Jay Weigel and Terrance Blanchard. Having honed his composing skills under the tutelage of Dickerson, Moran has scored award winning short films, podcasts and commercials, some of which have been featured in national film festivals and on PBS and other networks.

Herlin Riley & Friends

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Doors: 9:30PM

Show: 10:30PM

Tickets: $30 advance; $35 at the door

Café Istanbul

2372 St. Claude Avenue

New Orleans, LA

The Fine Print:

By purchasing a ticket to this event, the buyer agrees to be filmed, videotaped and/or otherwise recorded for possible inclusion in webcast, digital download, DVD and/or CD release, and/or any other exploitation of the event without limitation or compensation of any kind, and agrees to allow organizers to use his/her image and/or likeness without limitation or compensation of any kind.


By purchasing this ticket, you confirm to the maximum extent permitted by law that (1) you understand and voluntarily assume all risks associated with attending this performance, including but not limited to COVID-19, and (2) you covenant not to sue Café Istanbul Nightfest, Poolside Presents, Herlin Riley or any related persons or entities in connection with any such risks.

For a list of other Poolside Presents shows during the Café Istanbul Nightfest, click here: