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The Meters Honored With Jazz Fest Postal Cachet

The Meters Honored With Jazz Fest Postal Cachet

The Meters - the seminal New Orleans funk band that has had a deep influence on music around the world - will be honored with the 27th annual United States Postal Service's Jazz Fest Postal Cachet. This highly collectible mailing envelope, embossed with the Jazz Fest logo and an image of the group, will be unveiled on April 23. 

The original members of the Meters - keyboardist Art Neville, bass player George Porter, Jr., drummer Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and guitarist Leo Nocentelli - are expected to perform at the unveiling ceremony, which is free and open to the public.

The ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 23, at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116).

The 2015 Postal Cachet will be available for sale at the ceremony starting at 10 a.m. The cost is $15 each.

This is the third time Meters keyboardist Art Neville is being honored with a U.S. Postal Service Jazz Fest Postal Cachet. He received a similar honor in 2000 as a member of the Neville Brothers, and again in 2006 for his work as a solo artist.

The Meters formed in 1965 and broke up in 1977. The group has reunited periodically over the years for special performances - including one at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. Members of the group also perform in other combinations under such names as the Funky Meters and the Meter Men.

The Meters acted as the house band for Allen Toussaint's New Orleans soul classics of the late 1960s and are responsible for bringing New Orleans second-line grooves into popular music.

The Meters' sound is defined by an earthy combination of tight melodic grooves and highly syncopated New Orleans "second-line" rhythms under highly charged guitar and keyboard riffing. They are widely considered, along with such artists as James Brown and George Clinton, progenitors of funk music. Their work is influential on many other musicians working in the funk idiom.

In 1969, the Meters released "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut", both major R&B chart hits. "Look-Ka Py Py" and "Chicken Strut" were their hits the following year. Their songs "Cissy Strut" and "Look-Ka Py Py" are considered funk classics.

The Meters worked with Lee Dorsey Dr. John,  King Biscuit Boy, Robert Palmer, Earl King and many others.

In 1975, Paul McCartney invited the Meters to play at the release party for his "Venus and Mars" album aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones was in attendance at the event and was greatly taken with the Meters and their sound. The Rolling Stones invited the band to open for the Stones on their tour of the Americas in 1975 and of Europe in 1976.  That same year, the Meters recorded one of their most successful albums, "Fire on the Bayou."

The Meters' music has been sampled by musicians around the world, including rap artists Heavy D, LL Cool J and Queen Latifah, Musiq, Big Daddy Kane, Run DMC, N.W.A, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, EPMD, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Naughty by Nature, and Tweet.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers covered the Meters' song "Africa" on their 1985 album "Freaky Styley."

Bands such as the Grateful Dead, KVHW, Steve Kimock Band, Widespread PanicRebirth Brass Band, Galactic, Jaco Pastorius and The String Cheese Incident have performed songs by The Meters in their concert rotations.

The Meters' songs have also graced such movies as "Two Can Play That Game," "Jackie Brown," "Drumline," "Hancock," "Calendar Girls," "Hitch" and "Red." Meters songs were also featured in the television show "The Wire" and the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV."

In 2014, the Meters were sampled in Eminem’s award-winning winning single, “Berserk” (which won a Billboard No. 1 BMI Award). Later that year, the Meters were showcased in Dave Grohl’s HBO’s docuseries, “Sonic Highways.”

The U.S. Postal Service's Jazz Fest Postal Cachet program began in 1989 with a comemorative envelope featuring Professor Longhair. The list of honorees is:

2015  The Meters
2014  Rebirth Brass Band
2013  Trombone Shorty
2012  Kermit Ruffins
2011  The Marsalis Family
2010  Louis Prima
2009  Mahalia Jackson
2008  Deacon John Moore
2007  Harry Connick, Jr.
2006  Art Neville
2005  The Dixie Cups
2004  Aaron Neville
2003  Ernie K-Doe
2002  Ellis Marsalis, Jr.
2001  Dr. John
2000  The Neville Brothers
1999  Fats Domino
1998  Allen Toussaint
1997  Sidney Bechet
1996  Doc Cheatham
1995  Buddy Bolden
1994  Louis Armstrong
1993  Pete Fountain
1992  Irma Thomas
1991  Danny Barker
1990  Jelly Roll Morton
1989  Professor Longhair

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.