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.

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October 1st Herlin Riley And The Flat Foot Five


New Orleans is a drummer’s town. But in this town full of first class drummers, Herlin Riley is “the” drummer. The Baron of the Boom Boom. The Pulse that keeps the life flowing through any body of work. Born into a musical family steeped in gospel, blues and jazz,  Wynton Marsalis asked him to join him in New York in 1988 where he stayed for almost two decades while still maintaining a home in New Orleans. He still is a regularly featured musician with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra but now is back in his home town when he’s not on tour with Ahmad Jamal, Dr. John, or Harry Connick, Jr. He lights up a stage with just his presence and always fires up the first class jazz artists who love to play with him. 

The First Nickel A Dance Was A Great Success! Here Are Some Photos From The Evening

Courtesy Of Felicia Khan:

October 15th Roderick Paulin & The Traditional All Stars

Internationally-renowned saxophonist Roderick Paulin is an accomplished composer, arranger, producer, and educator. Roderick has collaborated with artists such as Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Aaron Neville, Allen Toussaint, Delfeayo Marsalis, Maceo Parker, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, making him a highly sought after artist of impeccable musical standards for the last 25 years. Roderick, a New Orleans native, began studying the saxophone at eight-years old and while only in the 6th grade, he began performing with his father, legendary jazz musician Ernest “Doc” Paulin. Roderick and his five older brothers were the core of his father’s band, The Doc Paulin brass band, performing brass band music across the globe. Roderick readily acknowledges his father instilling the importance of preparation, musicianship, timeliness, flexibility, and fortitude to be successful in the entertainment industry and in everyday life. Those attributes are the center of Roderick’s character not only as a musician but also as a person, and it shines clear on his sophomore recording of classic jazz standards SLOW, BUT STEADY. The Slow, But Steady recording is celebrated tonight with an all-star band featuring jazz & gospel singer Jolyda Phillips.

Here Are Some Photos From The Evening

Courtesy Of Diane Danthony:

October 22nd

Gerald French & The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band

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From the birthplace of jazz and the city of family music traditions, Gerald French is from one of the pioneering families of New Orleans Traditional Jazz. For the past 15 years, he has been the drummer for Ms. Charmaine Neville, the Darlin of New Orleans, as well as, the drummer for the Dixie Cups for the past two years and counting. Known as "The Giant" for his own original style of drumming, Mr. French has traveled and performed with several musicians such as:  Leroy Jones, Harry Connick Jr., Dr. John, Dr. Michael White, Lillan Boutte, Jermy Davenport, Big Chief Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, Preservation Hall Jazz Band just to name a few.  He is currently working with The Joe Ashlar Organ Trio, Fritzel’s Jazz Band, his own original bands Abstract and Déjà vu.

 In December 2011 Gerald was passed the torch of band leader of the oldest jazz band The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. The Original Tuxedo Orchestra, named for the Tuxedo Dance Hall in the Storyville district, was founded in 1910 by cornetist Oscar “Papa” Celestin. Celestin, who led the group and eventually rechristened it the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, led the band for 44 years. After his death in 1954, trombonist Eddie Pierson stepped in for four years. Banjoist Albert “Papa” French, Bob’s father and Gerald’s grandfather, then logged two decades as leader. After 107 years of performances, Mr. Gerald French leads the historic group. 

October 29th Louis Ford & The New Orleans Flairs


Louis Ford descends from a line of musicians originating in New Orleans’ Storyville days. Louis is an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, dedicated to the preservation of traditional jazz. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louis studied under Professor Kidd Jordan at Southern University in Music Performance, which inspired him to create a unique sound all his own. He graduated from Loyola University with a degree in Music Education.

As a significant member of the traditional jazz community, Louis performs regularly with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and in other historical jazz venues. Louis Ford and all the members of his band teach young musicians in schools and privately, to keep New Orleans' cultural tradition alive.

November 5th Don Vappie Creole Jazz Sextet


Don Vappie is descended from a long line of New Orleans musicians that goes back to the nineteenth century. Once a featured performer in the Preservation Hall Band, Vappie now leads and tours with 'The Creole Jazz Serenaders' (CJS). After Hurricane Katrina, he co-founded with his wife Millie "Bring it on Home", an organized effort to help displaced New Orleans musicians find work and return to their hometown. His family's musical heritage was recently explored in "American Creole: New Orleans Reunion", a PBS documentary. As a result, he was honored with a LA Creole Society Award for his promotion of the Creole culture of New Orleans in music and film. Vappie, known for his original banjo style, also plays mandolin, guitar, string bass and is a vocalist as well. He has also transcribed many early jazz recordings of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and others. He was also chosen by the Historic New Orleans Collection to serve as Musical Director for the premier of their newly discovered Jelly Roll Morton compositions. Over the past ten years, Don has appeared as a regular guest with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz At Lincoln Center.