John “Papa” Gros is the man behind Papa Grows Funk: he started the band about 12 years ago, as a natural continuation of jam sessions with some of his friends. The group consists of: June Yamagishi, Jason Mingledorf, Marc Pero, Jeffery “Jellybean” Alexander, and, of course, Papa Gros. Their latest record, Needle in the Groove, was released this year and is their first collective project; the previous records were written individually by the members and then the group would practice them together, but on this record, all of the tracks came about in a collaborative way.
Papa Grows Funk has played internationally and they play over 100 shows every year to enthusiastic crowds. There are no formal rehearsals or set lists, so each show is guaranteed to be its very own work of art. A quote on their website (and in this video!) from Quint Davis, producer of Jazz Fest, sums it up well: “One of THE best and most important funky bands in New Orleans. We couldn’t be prouder.”
Show your pride: watch them at Jazz Fest on April 29th!