ARCHIVES

Nickel A Dance: Spring 2017

 
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Wendell Brunious & The New Orleans All Stars

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March 5th

Born into a Louisiana Creole Family, Wendell Brunious began playing trumpet at age 11 following in a lineage of family jazz musicians. Wendell´s father, John Brunious, played trumpet and piano, and arranged for Billy Eckstein and Cab Calloway. Wendell´s uncle, Willie Santiago, was one of the first guitar players recorded, and at one time worked with the legendary Buddy Bolden.

 Trumpeter Wendell Brunious studied at Julliard before playing with Paul Barbarin and Danny Baker. In the 1960’s, Brunious sang in Chief John and the Mahogany Hall Stompers, a group in which his father was also a member. In 1976, Brunious substituted for his father in Albert "Papa" French's band for Mardi Gras, and by 1979 was playing regularly at Preservation Hall with Kid Thomas Valentine.  He has remained a regular performer at Preservation Hall into the 2000s and performs with the likes of Dr. Michael White, Chris Barber, Don Vappie and the Pfister Sisters.

Steve Pistorius & The Southern Syncopators

March 19th

Steve Pistorius has the distinction of being the only living New Orleanian who specializes in early Jazz piano. Whether playing solo or leading a band, he creates joyful and swinging renditions of oft-neglected rags, waltzes, marches, pop tunes, blues and stomps. Steve’s love of the music turned into a lifetime profession in 1973.  Steve’s career highlights include performing in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theatre, One Mo’ Time and the Pope’s Square in Belo Horizontes, Brazil. Steve has toured with his own band and with notable bandleaders such as Duke Heitger, John Gill, Michael White, Orange Kellin, Banu Gibson, Mark Braud, Wendell Brunious, Hal Smith, Chris Tyle and Leon Redbone. In addition to the aforementioned bandleaders, he’s recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Claude Luter, Bob Havens, and Bob Wilbur. Currently, Steve plays several days a week on the Steamer Natchez with Duke Heitger’s Steamboat Stompers and performs frequently at the Preservation Hall & Snug Harbor.

Kerry Lewis And The Light Brigade

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March 12th

Bassist Kerry Lewis musical palette covers everything from blues, country, rock and jazz. Kerry Lewis began his career touring with Banu Gibson and her New Orleans Hot Jazz Band.The thrilling Leroy Jones Quintet also kept Kerry very busy jamming to up-tempo jazz tunes into the late nineties. And in this decade, Dr. Michael White has utilized Kerry’s laid back style in his Traditional Liberty Jazz Band.  He also co-founded the musical group, Abstract with fellow members Gerald French Joel Hamilton, Paul Longstrength and Marc Adams.

Frank Oxley And The Joint Chiefs Of Jazz

March 26th

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, Oxleywas 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. 

 
 

Jazz @ the Sandbar: Spring 2017

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Trumpeter Wendell Brunious

March 8th

Born into a Louisiana Creole Family, Wendell Brunious began playing trumpet at age 11 following in a lineage of family jazz musicians. Wendell´s father, John Brunious, played trumpet and piano, and arranged for Billy Eckstein and Cab Calloway. Wendell´s uncle, Willie Santiago, was one of the first guitar players recorded, and at one time worked with the legendary Buddy Bolden.

 Trumpeter Wendell Brunious studied at Julliard before playing with Paul Barbarin and Danny Baker. In the 1960’s, Brunious sang in Chief John and the Mahogany Hall Stompers, a group in which his father was also a member. In 1976, Brunious substituted for his father in Albert "Papa" French's band for Mardi Gras, and by 1979 was playing regularly at Preservation Hall with Kid Thomas Valentine.  He has remained a regular performer at Preservation Hall into the 2000s and performs with the likes of Dr. Michael White, Chris Barber, Don Vappie and the Pfister Sisters.

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Drummer Johnny Vidacovich

March 22nd

Born and bred in New Orleans, Johnny Vidacovich has the city's unique, syncopated backbeat running in his veins. From French Quarter clubs to the big stages, he has shared his talents with greats like New Orleans' "Tan Canary" Johnny Adams, Professor Longhair, and Mose Allison, and as a member of Astral Project. The seminal New Orleans contemporary jazz group, Astral Project has been taking its audiences to higher planes of reality for several decades. Astral Project started out in the '70s, jamming at the venerable Absinthe House on Bourbon Street, with Bobby McFerrin often sitting in. Gigs at Snug Harbor and the New Orleans Jazz Fest won them a devoted local following, which has expanded to international acclaim. Vidacovich continued to gig and record with other musicians until he became the most sought after drummer in the city of New Orleans. It is in improvisation that his abilities show to greatest advantage. Always sensitive to the shifting sands of jazz, the drum maestro may mix it up with reggae, bebop, street beat, and blues rhythms in the course of one tune, as he follows the lead of one of his collaborators. He is the quintessential New Orleans jazz drummer, with all the exuberance and skill befitting one who grew up in the birthplace of jazz.

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Pianist Michael Pellera

April 5th

After studying at Berklee College of Music, Mr. Pellera has been a jazz educator serving New Orleans since 1989.  He taught jazz piano and improvisation for fifteen years at Loyola University before joining NOCCA’s faculty in 2002. In the last 25 years, he has lived in New Orleans and New York, giving his music a unique perspective that draws freely from the influences of the two cities.  As a composer he has created a body of work that encompasses modern jazz harmony, indigenous New Orleans rhythms, and elements of the classic American songbook of the 30’s & 40’s. He has released two critically acclaimed CD’s of his jazz compositions.  He has performed with a multitude of great jazz artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Buddy Rich, Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, and Harry Connick Jr.  Some of his former students include Brian Blade, Jon Cowherd, Jonathan Batiste, Troy Andrews, Rich Vogel and others who have created distinguished careers for themselves with artists like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Wynton Marsalis, Liz Wright, Joni Mitchell and Lenny Kravitz. Tonight he will be paying tribute to legendary pianist Thelonious Monk.

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Pianist Amina Figarova

March 15th

Amina Figarova is without doubt one of the most productive jazz composers and talented jazz piano players from Europe. Amina began playing piano as a child in Baku, Azerbaijan and has since travelled the world, studying as a classical concert pianist at the Baku Conservatory and jazz performance at the Rotterdam Conservatory. She has toured extensively, developing a tight-knit ensemble that has attained a distinctive and inimitable voice by concentrating on all-original repertoire for almost 18 years. The Amina Figarova Sextet has triumphed at the main stage of the Newport Jazz Festival, been invited repeatedly to New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, won critical and audience acclaim in Chicago, Detroit, Paris, Amsterdam — and of course New York, where she resides.  She has worked with the likes of James Moody, Larry Coryell, Winard Harper, Nathan Davis and New Orleans musicians vocalist Kim Prevost and guitarist Bill Solley. Amina's pieces strike a perfect tone, employing genuinely beautiful harmonizations, to capture fleeting thoughts that accompany those precious moments when the puzzling jostle of daily existence comes into unexpected but deeply satisfying sync. Her’s crisp, light finger-dancing across the piano keys effortlessly displays her dynamic range and technical skills all within one moment. Figarova’s style breathes new life into the knotty, post-bebop jazz developed in the 1960s.

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Guitarist Mahmoud Chouki 

March 29th

Mahmoud Chouki, otherwise known as Mood, is a master guitarist and composer. His performances and compositions consist of fusing oriental, flamenco, jazz and other electric styles of music from around the world. Mood began his studies at the Conservatory of Larache in northern Morocco from the age of eight and eventually completed at the national conservatory in Rabat. He continued with additional enrichment by taking master classes with musicians, such as Jorje Cardoso, Antonello Lexi, Tim Williams, Francisco Ortiz and Juan Fallo.

Mood began performing at the age of fourteen throughout Morocco and represented Morocco in the United Arab Emirates at the Young Arab Talent Festival. In 2002, Mood toured the south of Spain with the Guitar Ensemble of Morocco, winning first prize in the International Guitar Competition in St. Esteban del Puerto. This gave Mood the jump-start to make several collaborations with other musicians. His projects led him to travel and perform with key figures in the music world and with fusion groups, including at the Rencontre Orient Occident at Chateau Mercier in Switzerland and the Magic Lutes Concert with Hugh de Corson and his Symphonic Orchestra in Qatar and Bahrain. Mood has also worked in film, including “Lola” by Nebil Ayouch and been a featured artists on TEDtalks.