NICKEL A DANCE is a free series of Sunday afternoon jazz concerts each spring and fall, that is a hit with children, families, seniors, and the general dancing public that don’t tend to go to night clubs. It attracts a diverse group of fans that meet on Frenchmen Street to celebrate jazz as America’s original dance music while listening to the best of today’s classic jazz bands.
Sundays in October 2013
4:00pm to 7:00pm
October 6th: Lionel Ferbos & The Palm Court Jazz Band
At 102, trumpeter Lionel Ferbos is the oldest working jazz musician in New Orleans (born July 17, 1911). A native New Orleanian whose career has remained almost exclusively in the city, he leads his band weekly at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, a French Quarter club. During his long career, Ferbos has worked with some of the giants of early traditional jazz, including Captain John Handy and Mamie Smith, and more recently with widely recognized contemporary revivals of the old style music like the original stage band of the off-Broadway hit “One Mo’ Time.” He has played at all of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals. Ferbos' first professional music jobs were in the early ‘30s with society jazz bands like the Starlight Serenaders and the Moonlight Serenaders, performing at well-known New Orleans venues like the Pythian Roof Garden, Pelican Club, San Jacinto Hall, Autocrat Club, Southern Yacht Club and the New Orleans Country Club. In 1932 he joined Captain Handy’s Louisiana Shakers and played the Astoria and toured the Gulf Coast. He later backed blues singer Mamie Smith while playing with the Fats Pichon Band. During the Depression, he worked as a laborer in New Orleans City Park for the Works Progress Administration, then played first trumpet in the WPA jazz band, of which he is the last surviving member. In the 1940s, Ferbos went to work in his father’s sheet-metal business and became a master metal worker. His artistry as a tinsmith was featured in the acclaimed exhibition on Creole building arts at the New Orleans Museum of Art. In the ‘70s, he dropped out of the hit musical “One Mo’ Time” when it moved to New York, rather than leave town. However, he made eight tours of Europe with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, formed to revive the old music unearthed in the jazz archives at Tulane University. He was the trumpeter with the Ragtime Orchestra on the soundtrack of the movie Pretty Baby. Despite his long career, Lionel Ferbos made few early recordings. After he joined the Ragtime and the Palm Court bands, he was recorded on several CDs on the GHB label. He is also featured on other recent recordings with New Orleans headliners on specialty labels.
October 13th: Larry Scala & The New Orleans Rhythm Jesters
Born in New York City, Larry Scala has been a full time musician since 1966. An alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, he has worked in several different styles of music including: Jazz, Swing, Trad, Pop, Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock n' Roll. Scala has lived and performed in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Tokyo and New Orleans and has appeared and recorded with several jazz luminaries including: Bob Haggart, Jack Sheldon, Pete Fountain, Dr.Lonnie Smith, Tim Loughlin, Bill Napier, Jackie Coon, Ray Drummond, Joe Roland, Carol Kaye, Tee Carson, Harold Jones, the Jim Cullum Band, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, The Dukes Of Dixieland and the Lester Lanin Orchestra. Festivals include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, French Quarter Fest, Monterey Jazz, Blues and Dixieland Festivals, Satchmo Summer Fest, Fillmore Street and the KCSM "Jazz On The Hill" festivals in San Francisco. Theater work includes productions of "West Side Story" and "Godspell". Recording credits include NPR's Sound Print "Happiness", a soundtrack for Steven Speilberg's "Young Indiana Jones" TV series, several jingles, accompaniments and my own CDs "Double Gemini" and "Big Easy Swing", with the New Orleans Rhythm Jesters.
October 20th: Kermit Ruffins & The Barbecue Swingers
New Orleans-based trumpeter, bandleader, singer, and songwriter Kermit Ruffins is an ever-inventive musician who projects a warmth from the stage. He's got charisma, so as a consequence, he and his bandmates in the Barbecue Swingers are not in danger of overexposing themselves in their native Crescent City. Ruffins, born in 1964 in New Orleans, reminds many people of a sort of modern-day Louis Armstrong, though he's far from becoming the international ambassador of goodwill that Armstrong eventually became. Fortunately for fans of contemporary New Orleans music and the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Ruffins, a mainstay of both arenas, has been picked up and marketed and distributed in recent years by the Crescent City-based Basin Street Records. He formed the Barbecue Swingers in 1992. Interestingly, Ruffins was not raised in a jazz- or blues-centric environment. Growing up, he listened to popular black music on the radio, groups like the Commodores, Al Green, and all the groups that received airplay on black radio stations in the south in the 1970s. He began playing trumpet as a young teenager, but didn't discover the possibilities of jazz and blues until he first heard Louis Armstrong when he was 19. With several of his fellow students from high school, Ruffins started the Rebirth Brass Band. That band led to Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers.Ruffins is famous at home in New Orleans for his frequent barbecue bashes at the bars he and his band perform in. Weather permitting, he'll set up his grill on the sidewalk in front of a club and serve bar staff, bandmembers, and patrons some barbecued chicken or beef during the breaks between his usual three sets. Hence the name Barbecue Swingers! Live shows from Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers are what it's all about. Until he puts his trumpet to his mouth, he said, he has no idea what he'll play on any given night. But through years of performing in New Orleans and other places, he's learned to be a careful reader of his audience. He'll work with his band to deliver the kind of music he figures a given audience is in the mood for!
October 27th: Wendell Eugene’s New Orleans Jazz Band
90 year olds and still a professional musician, Wendell Eugene played at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1970 and has played Jazz Fest every year since. Born in New Orleans on October 12, 1923, the youngest of five sons. At the age of 14 he began to perform on the New Orleans jazz scene with Kid Howard's Olympia Band. By the close of the Great Depression he found steadier work with legendary band leaders Oscar "Papa" Celestin, Albert "Papa" French, George Lewis and Albert "Don Albert" Dominique.
While in the Navy, Wendell traveled throughout the U.S. performing with the Navy Concert Band and had the honor of playing with Louis Armstrong for a USO show. In 1946 he toured with Lucky Millinder's Orchestra and the Buddy Johnson Orchestra. He returned home in 1947 and rejoined Papa Celestin. Wendell began working for the U.S. Postal Service as a letter carrier. But he never stopped playing, often moonlighting to play local dates, and sometimes using leave time to travel internationally. He frequently played and traveled with the Olympia, Tuxedo, and Onward Brass Bands. He remained popular as a sit-in with several renowned groups including Lionel Hampton and the Temptations, as well as recording with Paul Simon in 1979 on "Take Me to the Mardi Gras". He performed at the first New Orleans Super Bowl in 1970 with the Onward Brass Band. Mr. Eugene has been the subject of several documentaries on the history of New Orleans Jazz from Denmark, England, Japan, and Australia.
Wendell now performs frequently at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, Preservation Hall, and other venues with a variety of bands led by Lionel Ferbos, Lars Edegran, Greg Stafford and his own band. In August, Wendell Eugene's New Orleans Jazz Band played at the U.S. Mint to celebrate Wendell's 90th birthday and the release of his new CD.
Shannon Powell's Traditional All-Stars
Shannon Powell dazzles audiences with his natural showmanship and fever for the jazz flame. The New Orleans native grew up in the jazz threshold neighborhood of Treme, which percolates with the sounds of Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, second line parades, Jazz funerals and church revivals. By the age of fourteen Powell was already a professional musician, playing gigs such as Jazz Fest as a member of the legendary Danny Barker’s Jazzhounds. Powell’s influences sprung from listening to his childhood neighbour, drummer James Black as well as pianist Ellis Marsalis and the players at Preservation Hall. "Everything I learned was being around the great musicians of New Orleans. Danny Barker was first and then I fell into the hands of David Lastie who is Herlin Riley's uncle. They kind of raised me as a young musician and I started calling them my family" states Powell. If drumming is the essential beat of New Orleans, then Shannon Powell is a leader of the pack at the fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B.
Frank Oxley & the Joint Chiefs of Jazz
Frank Oxley has followed in the drumming lineage of his father, Preservation Hall’s Dave Oxley, since the early sixties. Oxley picked up his first drumsticks by age ten and successfully started his first jazz group, the “Royal Knights”, in his formative years. By junior high, Oxley was honing his technique under the direction of Donald Richardson at Andrew J. Bell Jr. High. By high school, Oxley went on to form the “Invaders” which lead him on his first tour across the Southern states backing blues singer ZZ Hill. Following a three year stint in the U.S. Army, Frank returned to New Orleans and began playing with Louis Cottrell, Albert “Papa” French and King Floyd. In 1976 Frank joined Thomas Jefferson’s Jazz Band at the Maison Bourbon club and stayed for twenty-one years. Oxley has since been playing gigs for Preservation Hall, Palm Court Jazz Café, and working with many notable band leaders such as Wendell Brunious, Louis Nelson, Danny Barker, Pud Brown and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers brass band. He has toured Europe a number of times. Information on behalf of Tom Stagg.
Ernie Elly and the Ponchatoula Strawberries
The first time Ernie Elly saw the St. Augustine Marching Band he was five years old and he’s been hooked on drumming ever since. By age fifteen he was learning to play drums on the back of a chair under the direction of legendary music teacher Yvonne Busch. After giging at every hole in the wall bar in New Orleans, Ernie joined the Ray Charles Orchestra in 1969. His later collaborations include work with Wallace Davenport, George French’s Storyville Jazz Band, the Dukes of Dixieland, Ellis Marsalis, Germaine Bazzle, Louis Cottrell’s Heritage Jazz Band and many more. Ernie was a member of the Palm Court Jazz Band in past years and currently enjoys traveling with the Preservation Hall Band. Ernie can play all kinds of music and prefers not to be classed as jazz or R&B, but instead likes the word “flexible” to describe his style.
Davell Crawford & the Creole Jazz Men
Davell Crawford is an all-around musical sensation as a pianist and as a singer. Raised in the church, Davell is the grandson of the rhythm & blues star James "Sugar Boy" Crawford, who wrote the New Orleans hit song “Jockomo”, later known as “Iko Iko”. Davell has been playing piano since he was seven and although he didn't know his grandfather was a musician, the elder Crawford gave him a keyboard when he was 11. He first toured Europe in his early teens. Like so many New Orleans musicians, Crawford brings a synthesis of styles to his playing, i.e. funk, gospel, and R&B to his piano playing, songwriting and singing. Bill Taylor from Blues Access proclaims that “Plain and simple, Davell Crawford is one of the most talented musicians alive.” On this occasion, Davell will showcase his traditional jazz chops with an all-star band featuring Leon “Kid” Chocolate.
508 Frenchmen Street
Supported By: New Orleans Jazz Celebration Maison New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival & Foundation Louisiana Division of the Arts with support in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans. The grant is administered through the Arts Council of New Orleans. Barbara Katz & Frank Valls. Chris & Janie Botsford, French Quarter Realty, Louisiana Music Factory, Palm Court Jazz Café, Sam Poche Sells Inc, and a group of anonymous Jazz Fans.
Questions? call 947-6155
Check out these shots from Nickel-a-Dance Spring and Fall 2010 at Maison!
New Orleans Classic Jazz Soiree
Free and Family Friendly since 1994