A Conversation with Henry Butler…
By: John Wirt
In late March, Henry Butler performed for the first time since his three weeks of cancer treatments in Germany. The virtuoso pianist and singer from New Orleans played two enthusiastically received sets at Bar LunÀtico in Brooklyn, New York. Friends and fellow musicians filled the venue.
“The people were so receptive,” Butler said of the homecoming. “They didn’t know if I’d be able to function. They were glad to see me back, to see I can still do it. It’s always nice to see that people love you and care.”
On May 6, Butler will play the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, his first hometown show since the cancer treatment. A musician who glides from jazz to rhythm-and-blues, country to classical, Butler also performs favorites associated with his New Orleans piano teachers, Professor Longhair and James Booker. He’ll play Jazz Fest with his blues band, Jambalaya.
Butler is on the comeback trail following two bouts with cancer. After colon cancer surgery in 2015, the disease reappeared last year in his liver. He chose to treat the condition with thermotherapy, aka heat treatment, in Germany rather than conventional chemotherapy.