John Papa Gros
Born in New Orleans, John “Papa” Gros has spent more than a quarter-century championing the music of the Big Easy. He’s played it all — New Orleans funk, rock & roll, jazz, blues, Americana, pop/rock — and he swirls those styles into a genre-bending gumbo that pays tribute to his influences while still pushing ahead into new territory. Like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, Gros is a proud local who carries on the tradition of New Orleans music, both honoring its past and helping to shape its future.
After kicking off his career as an organist and pianist, for George Porter Jr.’s Runnin’ Pardners, during the 1990s, Gros formed the funk group Papa Grows Funk in 2000. The band held down a weekly performance at the famous Maple Leaf Bar for 13 years, mixing the smooth sophistication of a jazz quintet with the wild, anything-goes spirit of Mardi Gras. Fans and tourists crowded the bar every Monday night, looking for Papa Grows Funk to dish out a greasy, groove-heavy serving of Big Easy funk. The band delivered, releasing six critically-acclaimed albums — including Needle in the Groove, which was co-produced by Nola legend Allen Toussaint, and a 2015 live record that captured Papa Grows Funk’s last Monday night at the Maple Leaf Bar.— and touring around the world, carrying the torch of New Orleans’ music scene to far-flung places.
Papa Grows Funk called it quits in 2013. Gros (pronounced “grow”) kept playing music, landing work as a sideman for many Nola artists — including Better Than Ezra, Anders Osborne, The Metermen, Raw Oyster Cult, and Bonerama— and playing organ during a pair of all-star tributes to Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. Finally, Gros began focusing once again on his solo career — which he’d kicked off in 2004 with the album Day’s End — by prepping a second solo record that focuses on the full range of his musical influences and abilities.
He’s been a sideman. A bandleader. A frontman. A solo artist. A singer. An instrumentalist. The roles have been varied, but the goal remains the same: to honor the music he’s been living his whole life, and to add his own page to New Orleans’ history book.
- Turbo Suit ft. Joel Cummins, with very special guest Exmag! 2 Nights – Friday & Saturday, November 27th & 28th
- Funksgiving 2- featuring Dell Zell, Audiodacity, Midwest Hype and Funky Junk – Saturday, November 21st
- CAE Presents: Spankalicious, Magnetic, Mt. Analogue, Nashawti & Frozen Turtle – Saturday, December 26th
- IndyMojo’s 420 Tent Party w/ Manic Focus, Late Night Radio, Twin Cats & more – Wednesday, April 20th
- SOLD OUT – 8/5 OFFICIAL UMPHREY’S AFTERSHOW!! Earphorik featuring Jake Cinninger of UM – Friday, August 5th
- CAE Presents: Kaleidoscope Jukebox, Alejo, Tangled Branches, The Flourish & Antik One – Friday, June 24th
- Magnetic, MC Sparkplug, Mt. Analogue, Johnathan Thomas & Evolutionary Enlightenment – Saturday, July 16th
- Jerry Garcia’s Birthday pt. 2 feat. Hyryder, Howard, Midnight Friars and a special ‘Old & In The Way’ tribute – Saturday, July 30th
- CAE Presents: Kaleidoscope Jukebox Vinyl Sessions w/ Kyle Long, Eric Salazar & Jin-XS – Saturday, October 1st
- Jerry Garcia’s 75th BDay pt. 4 at 4pm – 5 SETS of Hyryder wsg/ Midnight Friars – Saturday, August 5th
- Indy Local Showcase feat. Graham The Empire, Tied, MAD Pritch and Frozen Turtle – Saturday, November 25th