Nickel a Dance

"Thank you to all our friends, fans, musicians and sponsors for making our 20th anniversary a wonderful success. We'll be seeing you again Sundays in March 2015. Same great place, more great classic jazz bands swinging out for you!"





Nickel Fall 2014 Series Announced!


October 26th 


 The Lionel Ferbos Tribute Palm Court Jazz Band honors the late Lionel Ferbos (1911-2014), trumpeter, vocalist, and leader of the band until his passing in July, 2014. This band has regularly performed on Saturday nights at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe as well as in a variety of events over the last 18 years, under the leadership of Lionel Ferbos. Having performed annually  at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, this band also performed for many of the final  concerts in each Nickel-A-Dance series. Mr. Ferbos' final performance was the Nickel-A-Dance concert in March/2014.

October 5th 



"Lucien Barbarin is recognized as one of the finest practitioners of traditional jazz trombone in the world today, and is highly regarded for both his audience-thrilling live performances and his recordings."

If "tradition" is defined by the sharing of values and ideas from one generation to the next, no one embodies the spirit of traditional jazz more than Lucien. Nephew of Paul Barbarin and second cousin to Danny Barker, Mr. Barbarin is part of a veritable jazz family that has shaped New Orleans jazz from its early roots. He represents the best of an ongoing musical tradition, a tradition that continues to thrive in the hands of his masterful musicianship. Mr. Barbarin’s powerful performances capture the subtle contrast of elegance and humor that is the very heart of Traditional New Orleans Jazz.

Lucien first performed at age six with his Uncle Paul Barbarin and the Onward Brass Band. Lucien expanded his on-the-job training during the sixties, taking the opportunity to master additional instruments including the tuba, baritone, and drums. In 1971, he joined his cousin Danny Barker as founding members of the now famous Fairview Baptist Christian Church Band. Aside from Lucien Barbarin, the Fairview Church boasted the burgeoning talents of Leroy Jones, Dr. Michael White, and Herlin Riley. 

 For almost a decade, he worked steadily at the Famous Door and the La Strada Club with June Gardner and the New Orleans Finest. The early 80’s saw Mr. Barbarin achieve international acclaim, as he toured Europe with the bands of Wallace Davenport, Lars Edegran, and The Young Tuxedo Brass Band. Recognized for his amazing contributions, in 1983, Lucien was awarded the title, Honorary Goodwill Ambassador of Amsterdam.
In 1988 Lucien embarked on a school tour funded by the Arts in Education program of the New Orleans public schools. As "Dr. Jazz," Lucien has given more than 60 performances for New Orleans public school children, depicting the history of jazz through music and storytelling.

In 1990, Lucien joined the big band of Harry Connick, Jr., and has maintained a steady musical collaboration with Mr. Connick since that time. In addition, he has recorded several critically acclaimed albums as a sideman with Connick, including the recent Grammy-award winning "Songs I Heard" in 2001.

October 12th



 An American revival orchestra, the New Leviathan Oriental Fox Trot Orchestra pays particular attention to the music of New Orleans, La., where it is based.  In addition to the well known compositions of jazz and ragtime composers like Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, and Eubie Blake, the orchestra's repertoire includes the work of less well remembered New Orleans Tin Pan Alley composers such as Larry Buck, Joe Verges, Paul Sarebresole and Nick Clesi.

Taking its name from the SSLeviathan, a transatlantic ocean liner with a well regarded dance band at the start of the 1920's, the orchestra was founded in 1972. Their first performance was at Tulane University.  The orchestra has appeared throughout the United States and Europe.  Recordings were featured in the soundtracks of Woody Allen's 1994 film, "Bullets over Broadway" and "Storyville" (1992).  New Leviathan performs frequently and makes a fondly anticipated yearly appearance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.  The exact personnel of the orchestra varies, but it frequently features 18 or more pieces.  The music director is Larry Jones and the managing director is John Craft.




Gregg Stafford is one of New Orleans' most talented, deeply-rooted and musically committed trumpeter and vocalists.  He is the kind of performer whose rich mix of passion, expertise, energy and sense of humor always makes for good listening and a happy audience.  

Stafford was one of the founders of The Black Men of Labor organization which is dedicated to keeping traditional brass band music on the streets of New Orleans. He was mentored by Danny Barker as well as in Barker's Young Fairview Christian Church Brass Band, which at the time musicians such as Leroy Jones , Anthony Lacen, Darryl Adams, Lucien and Charles Barbarin and Herlin Riley belonged. 

Stafford is a colleague of Dr. Michael White in the Original Liberty Jazz Band as well.  He has performed nationally and internationally in his own band and with Michael White's Original Liberty Jazz Band.  He has played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as leader of the Young Tuxedo Brass Band and also as leader of his own group, The Jazz Hounds. 

Nick-A-Dance thankfully acknowledges all past and present sponors who made it possible for Nickel-A-Dance to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of free, family-friendly concerts. 

From 1994-2014:
Claiborne Maison
Albert & Nell Davis & Family
Louisiana Jazz Federation 
P.Q. & Ellen Wall
Dorian Bennett, Inc.
Auld Tyme Piano
Cafe Brasil
Civil Sheriff Paul R. Valteau, Jr. 
French Quarter Realty 
Julian Mutter/ Doerr Furniture, Inc.
Marisol Restaurant 
Mona's Cafe & Deli
Palm Court Jazz Cafe
Old Dog New Trick 
Snug Harbor
Market Square of the Marigny 
Spotted Cat 
Celia & Jeff Collins
Cafe Rose Nicaud 
Lousiana Music Factory
Southern Hospitality Real Estate
Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association 
13 Monaghan Bar & Restaurant
Offbeat Magazine
Sam Poche Sells, Inc.
Gary Frankston
Miller Supply Company
New Orleans Musicians' Clinic
The Arts Council of New Orleans 
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation 
M.J. Wright, M.D.
Ray's Boom Boom Room
New Orleans Jazz Celebration 
Maison, 508 Frenchmen Street
Janie & Chris Botsford
Frank Valls & Barbara Katz
Kathryn Montgomery 
Frederic S. Sater 
Julie Fishelson (The First Anonymous Donor)
AND...a very special group of Anonymous Jazz Fans! 

Nickel a Dance Spring 2014 series

4:00pm to 7:00pm


International producer Mitch Player kicks off the 2014 Spring Series of Nickel-a-Dance!  A resident bass player at Preservation Hall since 2000, Player relishes his role in preserving Traditional New Orleans Music as well as connecting cities of Brazil to New Orleans through jazz through cultural exchange. “The cultures of Brazil and New Orleans are similar in that both are a "feeling" that can't be explained,” said Player. “It’s a vibe you just have to experience for yourself.” Player has worked extensively with the Leroy Jones Quintet, has been leading his own group, The Players New Orleans Jazz Band, and done countless gigs at Maison Bourbon, Donna's Bar and Grill, Snug Harbor, and other New Orleans venues. 





Swedish clarinetist Orange Kellin has worked the New Orleans jazz scene for the past thirty years starting with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and co-founding the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra. Kellin also served as the original musical director for the internationally acclaimed Broadway musical "One Mo' Time" which garnered a Grammy nomination. Orange has a unique and identifiable style, unlike that of any other early jazz clarinetist. He is today's standard-bearer of traditional jazz clarinet.







From a historic musical family, Detroit Brooks is one of the most in-demand guitarists on the New Orleans scene. A virtual chameleon of musical styles allows him to go from traditional jazz banjo with Dr. Michael White’s Liberty Jazz Band to improvisational jazz with Dr. Lonnie Smith to rhythm and funk with the Charmaine Neville Band. Often admired by banjoists and guitarists world-wide, Brooks’ laid-back demeanor masks one of the most heralded and sought-after performer, songwriter, and session men of our time. Brooks has studied intensely under the direction of Roy Montell and Gary Haulette, as well as ongoing training and studies in Improvisation and Theory with Hank Mackie to further hone his sound. His performance wrap sheet includes gospel greats like Clarence Fountain & the Five Blind Boys and Dorothy Norwood.



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.





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.

In 1994 the Louisiana Jazz Federation presented a traditional New Orleans Jazz band to perform during one Sunday afternoon in October at the legendary Café Brasil on Frenchmen Street.  The event was free and open to the public as part of the annual Jazz Town Awards ceremony in celebration of Jazz Awareness Month. The event was so well received that many people requested that the event be presented more often. 

The following year it was decided to make the event a weekly concert every Sunday in October to satisfy demand.  From a suggestion by jazz historian Dick Allen, the new series was given the name Nickel-A-Dance, a payment to dance partners at the dance hall shows that were held in neighborhoods all over New Orleans in the 1920s. 

The Nickel-A-Dance concert series has now evolved through increasing attendance and sponsorship to be held Sunday afternoons in October and March every year.  Currently the non profit New Orleans Jazz Celebration is the fiscal agent for Nickel-A-Dance, making it possible to receive grant awards and business contributions to perpetuate this historic series.  The Maison on Frenchmen Street has become the new adopted home of Nickel a Dance. To inquire about becoming a sponsor of Nickel-a-Dance, please contact Jason Patterson at or (504) 309-5299

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.

March 3

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.

March 10 

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.




March 17 

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. 

March 24

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
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!


Nickel-a-Dance at Maison


Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison

Nickel-a-Dance at Maison


New Orleans Classic Jazz Soiree

Free and Family Friendly since 1994

City of New Orleans   Arts Council of New Orleans   Offbeat Publications   New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation

Nickel@Maison  Nickel@Maison


Henry Butler at Nickel

Nickel in Algiers

New Orleans Classic Jazz Soiree

Free and Family Friendly since 1994

Sundays in October,  2010, 4-7 p.m.


(508 Frenchmen St.)


October 3:  Shannon Powell’s Jazz All-Stars

October 10: Porch Party Band

October 17: Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road

October 24: Don Vappie’s Creole Jazz Serenaders

October 31: Lionel Ferbos & The Palm Court Jazz Band


For more information, call 504-947-6155



New Orleans Jazz Celebration