C.J. Chenier and The Red Hot Louisiana Band


Born and raised away from the Louisiana bayou in the housing projects of Port Arthur, Texas, C. J. Chenier is the son of zydeco legend, Grammy-winner Clifton Chenier. As a youngster he was aware of his father’s music, but also liked James Brown and Funkadelic, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Chenier learned saxophone early on and as a teenager played in black Top 40 bands in Port Arthur. He studied music in college and dreamed of making it as a jazz or funk player.

Then, one week before his 21st birthday in 1978, his father asked him to bring his sax and join The Red Hot Louisiana Band. “I didn’t know any of the songs they played,” he recalls, “but the guys helped me out and brought me along. And then one day the music hit me, and I knew this was what I wanted to do.” With the death of his father, Chenier inherited The Red Hot Louisiana Band, as well as his father’s accordion, which he began to play.

The band played major festivals like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, San Diego’s Street Scene, and Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

Singer/songwriter Paul Simon heard Chenier and handpicked him to play on his Rhythm of the Saints album, then asked him to join his “Born At the Right Time” tour. Chenier’s debut album for Alligator Records, Too Much Fun, was named Best Zydeco Album of 1995 by Living Blues Magazine. Features have run in major newspapers and magazines, including The Chicago Tribune, Billboard, Blues Revue, and The Los Angeles Times.

Chenier has released three solo albums, and Step It Up! is the latest CD from Chenier and The Red Hot Louisiana Band.

Chenier was named “the best living zydeco singer and accordionist” by Living Blues Magazine, and Billboard crowned him “the heir to the zydeco throne.”

Default Profile