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.
Nickel a Dance is being planned for Sundays in May 2021, please check for updates as the dates get closer. sign up for NOJC mailing list to get notices on all upcoming events.
SPRING 2020 LINEUP
DON VAPPIE & THE CREOLE JAZZ SERENADERS
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 explored in the early 2000s 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.
CRAIG KLEIN & THE NEW ORLEANS ALL STARS’ TRIBUTE TO LUCIEN BARBARIN
Craig Klein, one of the most in demand trombonists in the Crescent City, makes a rare appearance as band leader tonight. Klein is best known as a member of Bonerama, the funky brass rock band that has been gigging around town since 1998. But he has been playing in many bands for even longer, having been a founding member of the Storyville Stompers and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. This show will be dedicated to the late trombonist, Lucien Barbarin, who New Orleans had lost earlier this year. Lucien was a beloved New Orleans jazz trombonist who had captivated audiences around the world with his work in the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Harry Connick, Jr., and many other New Orleans jazz luminaries. Lucien had a command of the trombone and love for performing which established him as one of the city's premier musical ambassadors.
TOM FISCHER & THE WEST END RHYTHM KINGS
Thomas Fischer was born and raised in the Chicago area and moved to New Orleans in 1989 to join the Band of Banu Gibson. One of the City’s most sought-after clarinetists, he has performed everywhere from Preservation Hall to Carnegie Hall, in France, Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the UK, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Australia, and has toured Japan on a regular basis since 1998. Tom continues to be a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summer Fest, and many jazz festivals throughout the world. He often performs or has recorded with such artists as Lionel Batiste, Mark Braud, John Brunious, Wendell Brunious, Lars Edegran, Wendell Eugene, Gerald French, Duke Heitger, Kermit Ruffins, Al Hirt, and Don Vappie, to name but a few. Dubbed “one of the best” by Times Magazine, he teaches Jazz clarinet at the University of New Orleans. Having received his formal training with classical clarinetist Bernard Portnoy at Indiana University – and his informal training on the clarinet and Saxophone in the Jazz clubs of Chicago and New Orleans, Tom Fischer’s playing reflects his love for the great New Orleans clarinet tradition. In 1990, he was featured soloist for Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra. Main tours since 2007 have included New York City with Henry Butler’s Steamin’ Syncopators (Metropolitan Museum of Art) as well as Don Vappie (Zankel Hall at Carnegie), Moscow with Konstantin Gevondian and again the Ascona Jazz Festival (2012) as a regular member of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band with it’s present leader Gerald French. Actually the oldest Jazz band in the world, it was founded by Papa Célestin as early as 1910. Nowadays in New Orleans, Tom frequently performs in all major venues including Snug Harbor, Preservation Hall, Irving Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, the New Orleans Jazz NHP at the Mint, the Bombay Club or the 21st Amendment, among others.
ERNIE ELLY’S NEW ORLEANS HERITAGE BAND
Ernest Anthony “Fat Daddy” Elly, Sr. is a rhythm & blues, soul, and modern and traditional jazz drummer from New Orleans. With a musical sound heavily influenced by the street parade culture of New Orleans, Elly has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theater, toured with Ray Charles, and Doc Cheatham, and continues to feature as one of Preservation Hall’s countless musical stars. Ernest Elly was born on June 16, 1942 in New Orleans’s Sixth Ward, a neighborhood located in the city’s famed “backatown” area. As he grew, Ernie began to be deeply influenced by the burgeoning rhythm & blues scene in New Orleans and beyond, listening closely to the work of Fats Domino, Little Richard and James Brown. On Saturdays, Ernie remembers his eldest brother, Frank Jr., turning on the radio program This Is Jazz, hosted by Al Gourier. It would be here that Elly would first hear Art Blakey, Max Roach, Art Taylor and an early Miles Davis. By 9th grade, he had begun to receive formal training from instructor Yvonne Busch, who taught the young musician how to read music. At 19, Elly auditioned for the Air Force band, and soon afterwards enlisted and joined the band. Elly had always been largely left-handed, setting up the drum set from the left side. But much of the formal training he’d received was focused on right-handed playing, including his Air Force sergeant’s instruction. After that, Ernie says, he was uncomfortable playing either way, so he developed a style that worked for both. New Orleans drummers were among Elly’s greatest musical influences including, Vernel Fournier, Mickey Conway, James Black and Joseph “Smokey” Johnson.
JOE GOLDBERG & THE FUNCTION
Albert Murray Defined The Saturday-Night Function as "a purification ritual where you get rid of the blues," Joe Goldberg and the Function does just that. Joe Goldberg , band leader, started the band in 2016 as band to showcase the talented musicians in his community while always keeping the music 'for the dancers'. With danceability paramount The Function delivers classics and original music with heat. The Function will transform any room into a party drawing inspiration from greats from the past and today including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, Thelonious Monk, Wessell Anderson III, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis, and more.
FALL 2019 LINEUP
THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR SUPPORTERS AND JAZZ FANS FOR ANOTHER GREAT SEASON!
MARK BRAUD’S JAZZ GIANTS TRIBUTE TO PERCY & WILLIE HUMPHREY
Trumpeter and vocalist Mark Braud is the quintessence of the New Orleans spirit. His energetic interpretations of melody craft a freshly unpredictable spin on the tradition of jazz and the down-home, honest grooves of New Orleans. Born in New Orleans, Braud comes from a family of world-renowned musicians. Traditional jazz, R&B and the great American songbook inspire his engaging music.
Braud has been a member of Harry Connick Jr.'s band since 2001 and was in the band on Connick’s syndicated television show, Harry. He served as the leader of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band from 2008 to 2016. He has played with a who's who of the music industry, ranging from the Treme Brass Band, the Marsalis family, and the Blind Boys of Alabama, all the way to the Foo Fighters, John Oates, Tom Waits, My Morning Jacket, Mos Def and Erykah Badu.
Braud’s work as a composer and performer can be seen in several episodes of Treme, American Horror Story, Sonic Highways and NCIS: New Orleans.
ORANGE KELLIN’S DELUXE ORCHESTRA: BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO JELLY ROLL MORTON
Originally from Sweden, Kellin began playing clarinet at the age of 15. Two years later, Orange formed his first band in partnership with pianist Lars Edegran. The band played music in the New Orleans manner. In 1966, he moved to New Orleans where he became a regular performer at several leading jazz venues including Preservation Hall. In 1968 he was a founder member of the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra. He also led his own bands in the city including, in 1970, a band which held a residency at the Maison Bourbon Club. Two years later he formed the New Orleans Joymakers. Kellin recorded with several veteran New Orleans musicians including Josiah ‘Cié’ Frazier, Preston Jackson, Jim Robinson, Jabbo Smith, Zutty Singleton and Kid Thomas Valentine. In 1978, Kellin played with the NORO for the soundtrack of the movie Pretty Baby. The following year he appeared in New York with the stage musical One Mo’ Time for which he was musical director and co-arranger in addition to playing in the onstage band. In the early 80s he appeared with the same show during its long and successful run in London’s West End.
Kellin has toured extensively with his own bands and with bands formed largely from New Orleans veterans. In 1992 he made his first solo tour of the UK. A gifted and highly musical clarinetist, Kellin’s dedication to the music of New Orleans has contributed greatly to the preservation of the style. He has an excellent technique and solos with flair and eloquence. As an admirable ensemble player, he lends authority to any group of which he is a member.
NORBERT SUSEMIHL & NEW ORLEANS DANCE HALL BAND
The New Orleans Dance Hall Band got together as a quartet in 2018 and recorded an album that year as a tribute to the legendary New Orleans musicians, like Billie and De De Pierce, Sweet Emma Barrett, Kid Thomas Valentine, George Lewis, Josiah "Cie" Frazier and many more. These legendary musicians played their very special music in the local Crescent City dance halls in the 30s, 40s and 50s of the last century. Luthjen’s, Speck’s Moulin Rouge, Economy Hall, Kohlman’s Tavern and San Jacinto Hall were some of them.
These places were simple neighborhood bars with a small stage and dance floor, where the locals would meet, socialize and dance, or halls available for rent, to host many kinds of social events. The music was pure New Orleans Jazz of the era, and the repertoire consisted of popular songs of the time.
Now for this occasion augmented to the New Orleans Dance Hall Sextet, the band is greatly inspired by this music and its players and strives to capture the feeling and sound of this art form.
Norbert Susemihl has been a part-time resident of New Orleans now for 41 years. When out of town he leads his European Band, "Norbert Susemihl's Joyful Gumbo" and he tours as soloist.
MARK BROOKS & JAZZ FRIENDS
Mark Brooks is one of New Orleans most talented, versatile, and sought after bassist. He is also a protégée of the great Jazz Master, Alvin Batiste. Mark attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he pursued a music degree along with one of his close friends, Branford Marsalis, who later as well as Mark moved on to further his professional career. Mark has toured with an array of artist ranging from Jazz, Blues, R&B, to Gospel. Just to name a few, Mark has worked with Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Henry Butler, Charles and Aaron Neville, Lou Rawls, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and with Fats Domino Band. Mark has to his credit numerous recordings and appearances on local television shows, but his most highlighted musical moments were the opportunities to appear on screen and sound track of Clint Eastwood Film the Bridges of Madison County, The Regis and Kathy Lee show and his appearance in the movie Ray Charles life story “Ray”. Mark has recently finished two episodes in the HBO Special “Treme”, also the trailer and several episodes in the TNT special “Memphis Beats and an episode in the “American Horror Story”. Mark exemplify both team and leadership skills which keep him in demand. You can be sure they’re more exciting musical credits to come. Mark also proudly use and endorse GHS Bass Strings, Fender Instruments and David Eden Line of Bass Amplifiers for all his professional endeavors.
THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO DONATED TO THIS SPRING'S NICKEL-A-DANCE. ALL SHOWS WERE AN EXTREME SUCCESS. YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS MADE IT POSSIBLE FOR NOJC TO PRESENT THIS UNIQUE JAZZ EXPERIENCE!
It all began when three anonymous individuals combined their personal donations to pay for a traditional New Orleans Jazz band to perform for three hours during one Sunday afternoon in October at Café Brasil on Frenchmen Street. The event was free and open to the public, advertised by word of mouth to local traditional jazz fans. It was so well received that many people requested that the event be presented again.
The following year it was decided to contact Jason Patterson, then representing the Louisiana Jazz Federation, to see it the LJF would include another concert in their October calendar of activities as a Jazz Awareness Month event. The event was listed on the LJF calendar as Nickel-A-Dance, the name chosen for the event because it encompassed the concept of the old-time dance hall events that years ago were held in the neighborhoods of New Orleans.
The Nickel-A-Dance concert series has evolved through increasing attendance and sponsorship so that now, the events are held every Sunday afternoon in October and (when funding permits) every Sunday afternoon in March. The New Orleans Jazz Celebration, a non-profit organization directed by Mr. Patterson, has graciously acted as the fiscal agent for Nickel-A-Dance, making it possible to receive grant awards, individual and business contributions toward presentation of the series. The Maison on Frenchmen Street has become the new adopted home of Nickel-A-Dance, and opens their doors to the public every Sunday in October and in March to audiences and dancers who increasingly attend the concerts.
Get on your dancin' shoes darlin' and come out and enjoy the music!
For more information on the history of the New Orleans jazz dance hall and the history we are continually working preserve, please visit our history page.
OUR NICKEL SPONSORS:
This event is supported by the Threadhead Cultural Foundation, the New Orleans Theatre Association and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. We would like to wish them a special thanks for their support.