JAZZ AT THE SANDBAR

Fall 2022 Series will be back in October!

 

Jazz at the Sandbar has been a popular performance series at the University of New Orleans since 1990. The program is designed to provide UNO Jazz Studies students an opportunity to get real life experience performing with respected professional musicians in front of a live audience. The series is presented on Wednesday nights during the Spring and Fall semesters and features a different respected jazz artist each week. It also provides a medium in which students exercise their improvisational skills and gives them the rare opportunity to work with jazz masters in the classroom the week of the collaborative guest performances, during master workshops in the music department. “Jazz at the Sandbar” was established by Ellis Marsalis Jr, the first Chairman of the Jazz Studies Program at UNO.  Downbeat Magazine calls it "One of the best things going in America."

 

“Jazz @ the Sandbar” is presented by the UNO Jazz Studies Program with support from the UNO Student Government Association, the New Orleans Jazz Celebration, Inc (NOJC), Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, Nate & Priscilla Gordon, WWNO FM, and OffBeat Magazine. 

MAP TO THE COVE

The Sandbar is located inside The Cove complex at 100 Founders Road on the campus of the University of New Orleans (UNO):

Enter from 2000 Lakeshore Dr, New Orleans, LA 70148

SPRING 
2022 
LINEUP

Jazz at the Sandbar is once again Live!

The show is free to students, faculty, & staff; the shows are open to the public with a $10 entrance fee that will go directly to the George Brumat Scholarship fund. This fund goes to Jazz Studies students as assistance for their tuition. We cannot wait to see you all once again!

FALL 2021 LINEUP

October 13th: Drummer Herlin Riley's Tribute to Ellis Marsalis 
October 20th: Pianist Kris Tokarski Celebrates Jelly Roll Morton
October 27th: Saxophonist Ed Petersen Big Band
November 3rd: Bassist Amina Scott
November 10th: Reedist Rex Gregory
November 17th: TBA

Jazz at the Sandbar is once again Live!

The show is free to students, faculty, & staff; the shows are open to the public with a $10 entrance fee that will go directly to the George Brumat Scholarship fund. This fund goes to Jazz Studies students as assistance for their tuition. We cannot wait to see you all once again!

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DRUMMER HERLIN RILEY
OCTOBER 13TH

His authoritative style of melodic percussion is deeply imbued in the fertile creative soil of the Crescent City, encompassing as it does the entire length and breadth of America’s ongoing musical journey. 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 hometown 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. 
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SAXOPHONIST ED PETERSEN
OCTOBER 27TH

Gentle giant of the Saxophone Ed Petersen first played in his native Chicago jazz scene, where he lead the house band at the legendary Green Mill, a band that included Patricia Barber and Kurt Elling, before moving to New Orleans in the 1990s. Recently retired from being the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, Ed was also a featured soloist with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, a group that won the 2010 Grammy Award for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording.” He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and many other major concert halls and festivals throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil. He was recently named the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra “Musician of the Year". His playing and compositions are featured on over fifty albums and many television, radio, and motion picture soundtracks. 
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PIANIST KRIS TOKARSKI
OCTOBER 20TH

Jazz pianist Kristofer Tokarski moved to New Orleans to complete a master's degree at the University of New Orleans. Shortly after moving to the "Cradle of Jazz" he embraced the early piano traditions of the city as well as those of the northeast where he grew up. A keen interest in the music of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, and Teddy Wilson; combined with his bebop roots allowed Tokarski to develop an all encompassing voice of his own, deeply rooted in the jazz piano tradition. 
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BASSIST AMINA SCOTT
NOVEMBER 3RD

Amina Michele Scott, born and raised in Oakland, CA, is an upright and electric bassist, composer, and arranger. She relocated to New Orleans, LA to study at Loyola University and got her Masters  at Florida State University. A 2017 Ravinia Fellow, she has performed with various artists including Steve Turre, Don Vappie, Wessell “Warm Daddy” Anderson, Nicholas Payton, Jamison Ross, Christian Scott Atunde Adjuah, Kermit Ruffins, and singer-songwriter Kristin Diable. She currently plays with The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra led by Adonis Rose as well as co-leading her band, Noruz . 
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REEDIST REX GREGORY 
NOVEMBER 10TH

A Seattle-based saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, Rex Gregory has performed and/or recorded with a diverse array of luminaries such as Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Rickie Lee Jones, Jason Marsalis, Dr. John, Derek Smith aka Pretty Lights, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Stanton Moore, Herlin Riley, and many others.

SPRING 2021 LINEUP

April 7th: Carl LeBlanc
April 14th: Mahmoud Chouki
April 21st: NOLATET w/ Aurora Nealand
April 28th: Amina Figerova
May 5th: Student Combo Showcase

This year's Jazz at the Sandbar will a bit different from series' in the past . All shows will be livestreamed from the Cove without an audience through SOTA's Facebook page with limited student participation. Since the series will be free to the public, we would like ask viewers who are able to consider donating to the George Brumat Scholarship Fund. Within NOJC's donate button at the top of the page, you can select the program listed in the drop down box. All donations will go to the scholarship fund for Jazz Studies students. 

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CARL LEBLANC
APRIL 7TH

LeBlanc is most striking for his work in both avant-garde jazz and traditional jazz—being the only musician to work with famed afrofuturist keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra and Preservation Hall. Blending the varying styles of traditional jazz, avant-garde jazz, bebop, and New Orleans tradition, namely Mardi Gras Indian and Second-line style, LeBlanc has recorded seven solo albums during his career.[1] He has also served as banjo player at Preservation Hall, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Narvin Kimball, and directed the Preservation Hall Junior Jazz and Heritage Band. LeBlanc received a scholarship to Columbia University where he studied Music Education. He would later graduate from Southern University of New Orleans, studying under the tutelage of Kidd Jordan, and move to Philadelphia to play with renowned jazz musician Sun Ra. LeBlanc continues preserving the legacy of New Orleans music tradition through education and performing.
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NOLATET

with Aurora Nealand
APRIL 21ST

 NOLAtet features some of the city's key jazz musicians. Pianist Brian Haas is one of the founding members of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey who's modern music has blended of jazz, rock, and funk for the past 20 years. Mike Dillon is a percussionist known for his work in Garage-A-Trois, Les Claypool's Fancy Band and Critters Buggin. Composer, bassist, band leader, multi-instrumentalist James Singleton presents true modern experimental jazz which also draws from rock and orchestral roots.  A real powerhouse of improvisers, each a respected player in their own right.
An established bandleader, composer, performer and improviser, Aurora Nealand has become a prominent force in the New Orleans music scene since she first arrived in 2004. Combining the “formal education” – a music composition degree from Oberlin Conservatory and training at the Jacques Lecoq School of  Physical Theatre in Paris –  with the “informal”  experience of playing music in the streets and clubs of New Orleans and throughout the northern Hemisphere, Nealand has emerged as an innovative, sensitive and daring music creator and performer. She is most recognized for her performance on saxophones, clarinet and vocals and has been at the forefront of the revival of New Orleans Traditional Jazz amongst the younger generation of the city’s musicians.
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MAHMOUD CHOUKI
APRIL 14TH

Music Teacher at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans. Mahmoud Chouki is a master guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer living and working in New Orleans. His art draws together music from many different international contexts to consider how music can speak across cultural divides. His own compositions incorporate musical influences from across the globe, ranging from European classical, Andalusian from Southern Spain, Levantine music from the Middle East, Maghrebian music from North Africa, Latin American music, and jazz from the Southern United States. As artistic director of Rencontre Orient-Occident at Chateau Mercier in Sierre, Switzerland, Chouki organizes annual artist residencies, bringing together master musicians from east and west. For one week they share and explore each other’s styles and cultures through music and experience, culminating in a final concert. He also currently teaches music at the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, and is Music Curator for monthly music programs at the New Orleans Museum of Art.
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AMINA FIGAROVA
APRIL28TH

Amina Figarova is without doubt one of the most productive jazz composers and talented jazz piano players from Europe. Figarova’s crisp, light finger-dancing across the piano keys displays her dynamic range and technical skills all in a moment. Amina Figarova was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as a child studied to be a classical concert pianist. Graduated from the Baku Conservatory as classical concert pianist. In 1990, she entered Rotterdam Conservatory to pursue jazz, coming to the United States in 1992 to complete her formal education at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. In 1998 she was invited to the Thelonious Monk Institute’s summer jazz colony in Aspen, and after more than a decade of bookings in major U.S. jazz clubs, concert halls and festivals, she gained legal immigrant status in 2013. The Amina Figarova Sextet has been a hit at major festivals such 
as the Newport Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The Amina Figarova Sextet PLUS is a grantee of the 2019 Chamber Music America ‘s New Jazz Works.
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Jazz Studies Program 

STUDENT COMBO SHOWCASE
MAY 5TH

Brian Seeger and the Graduate Student Ensemble will share musical highlights from their very productive semester. The group has created and recorded more than twenty original works this semester ranging from intimate and understated duos to full blown production pieces. Enjoy these fresh sounds from this incredibly talented group while getting to meet them, hear about their creative processes and even ask them some questions live!


From the Frenchmen St. scene to cutting-edge festivals, New Orleans is a vibrant, creative musical laboratory with performance opportunities on-and off-campus. UNO's Jazz Studies students become masters by working with masters in the birthplace of Jazz. UNO Jazz Ensembles (combos) allow students to focus on a particular instrument, style, or composer; standard groups include the Guitar Ensemble, New Orleans Music Combo, the Composers’ Forum, and the World Beat Ensemble. Each semester, each combo rehearses and performs a public show with a visiting artist on the bandstand at the Sandbar. Recent artists include Dave Liebman, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Charles Neville, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Ellis Marsalis.

FALL 2020 LINEUP

October 7th: Ellis Marsalis Quintet
October 14th:Jamison Ross Quartet
October 21st: Peter Harris Trio
November 4th: Jason Marsalis
November 11th: Student Combo Showcase

November 18th: The Hot Club of New Orleans (rescheduled)

This year's Jazz at the Sandbar will a bit different from series' in the past . All shows will be livestreamed from the Cove without an audience through SOTA's Facebook page with limited student participation. Since the series will be free to the public, we would like ask viewers who are able to consider donating to the George Brumat Scholarship Fund. Within NOJC's donate button at the top of the page, you can select the program listed in the drop down box. All donations will go to the scholarship fund for Jazz Studies students. 

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ELLIS MARSALIS 
Quintet
October 7TH
Ellis Marsalis, the first Chairman of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of New Orleans, established “Jazz at the Sandbar” in 1990.  Ellis passed away on April 1st, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. In honor of Ellis, his band will be starting off this season on that first Wednesday of October as Ellis always had for the past 16 years. The band will be the last members of his regular band including Shea Pierre on piano, Jason Stewart on bass , Derek Douget on sax , Ashlin Parker on trumpet and finally, Ellis' youngest son, Jason Marsalis on drums.
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Peter Harris Trio
October 21ST​

Peter Harris, a New Orleans native, has been playing bass professionally since 1996. He has performed around the world with a wide array of artists, including the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Herlin Riley, Theresa Andersson, the Jordan family (Kent, Marlon, Stephanie, Rachel), Don Vappie, Branford Marsalis, Astral Project, Stanton Moore, Henry Butler, Papa Grows Funk, Germaine Bazzle, John Boutte, and the Hot Club of New Orleans.

In 2013 Harris released his first CD under his own name, "The Jackal," featuring Derek Douget, Jason Marsalis, Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Rex Gregory, and other established young stars. Harris has also recorded with Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Irma Thomas, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Theresa Andersson, the Hot Club of New Orleans, and John Boutte, among others. He currently performs regularly with Germaine Bazzle, Shannon Powell, Jason Marsalis, and Irvin Mayfield.

Harris received both his Bachelor's of Music (2000) and Masters of Music (2005) from the University of New Orleans, where he was a Louis Armstrong Scholarship recipient in 2003. He has served as a clinician at Loyola University (New Orleans), Tulane University, Baton Rouge Community College, International JAZZ Workshop (Innsbruck, Austria), and several high schools throughout south Louisiana. In addition to teaching applied bass at UNO, Harris is currently on faculty at the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music.

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Jazz Studies Program 

Student Combo Showcase
November 11TH

Brian Seeger and the Graduate Student Ensemble will share musical highlights from their very productive semester. The group has created and recorded more than twenty original works this semester ranging from intimate and understated duos to full blown production pieces. Enjoy these fresh sounds from this incredibly talented group while getting to meet them, hear about their creative processes and even ask them some questions live!


From the Frenchmen St. scene to cutting-edge festivals, New Orleans is a vibrant, creative musical laboratory with performance opportunities on-and off-campus. UNO's Jazz Studies students become masters by working with masters in the birthplace of Jazz. UNO Jazz Ensembles (combos) allow students to focus on a particular instrument, style, or composer; standard groups include the Guitar Ensemble, New Orleans Music Combo, the Composers’ Forum, and the World Beat Ensemble. Each semester, each combo rehearses and performs a public show with a visiting artist on the bandstand at the Sandbar. Recent artists include Dave Liebman, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Charles Neville, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Ellis Marsalis.

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Jamison Ross
October 14TH

Jamison Ross is a vocalist and drummer that delivers messages of humanity through the medium of jazz.  
A native of Jacksonville, FL, Jamison began his study of jazz as a high school student and gained worldwide acclaim as a featured musician in the Tribeca Film Festival winning documentary CHOPS. 
Ross continued his studies at Florida State University, where he met his current band members, and at UNO, in the city where he currently resides.  In 2012, Ross’ career began to take shape after winning the Thelonious Monk Jr. International Jazz Competition for his drumming.  This achievement afforded him a recording contract with Concord Jazz.  His 2015 debut release, Jamison, introduced the world to his concept of rhythm and melody and also garnered a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. 
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Drummer Jason Marsalis
November 4TH

From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, and the youngest sibling of Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and their patriarch Ellis, comprise New Orleans venerable first family of jazz. By age six, not only had Jason gotten his first real drum set, but he was also taking lessons from the legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. By age seven he was sitting in with his father’s jazz group, as well as playing with his trombonist brother Delfeayo. Shortly after high school graduation, Marsalis ascended to the drum throne of a new group lead by virtuoso pianist Marcus Roberts. In 2000 Marsalis evolved and began to play the vibraphone on gigs and so began another chapter in Marsalis’ career. Jason continues to revolutionize jazz music and in 2013 Marsalis released another recording as a leader on vibes which went to #1 on the CMJ Radio Charts and also won an Offbeat Magazine award for best Contemporary Jazz Album. 

Photos courtesy of Don Keller
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The Hot Club

of New Orleans
(rescheduled) November 18TH

The Hot Club of New Orleans have challenged themselves with an awesome task: take the swing era music of Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, and Stephan Grappelli (among others), retain the classic groove, avoid sounding like a museum piece and then infuse it with their own modern sensibilities. Well, the first thing is these guys can all swing like mad. And they're not a bunch of stuffy old "moldy figs." But they do love this music-you can tell in their passionately delivered solos and the sly vocal readings. And, with two guitar players and an upright bass, they deliver the goods you'd expect from one of the swingingest drummers in New Orleans-but in keeping with the classic format of this music, there is actually no drummer… 

The Hot Club of New Orleans excels at generating that warm, swinging drive that Django Reinhardt was famous for and at the same time transcends the idiom by eschewing blind obedience to stylistic conventions; 
in other words the solos are modern, kids. They play a somewhat laid-back yet exuberant groove, typical of New Orleans; yet they are so tight and swinging, their solos so driving, at times they seem almost superhu- 
man.

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ELLIS MARSALIS 
Quintet
October 7TH
Ellis Marsalis, the first Chairman of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of New Orleans, established “Jazz at the Sandbar” in 1990.  Ellis passed away on April 1st, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. In honor of Ellis, his band will be starting off this season on that first Wednesday of October as Ellis always had for the past 16 years. The band will be the last members of his regular band including Shea Pierre on piano, Jason Stewart on bass , Derek Douget on sax , Ashlin Parker on trumpet and finally, Ellis' youngest son, Jason Marsalis on drums.
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Peter Harris Trio
October 21ST​

Peter Harris, a New Orleans native, has been playing bass professionally since 1996. He has performed around the world with a wide array of artists, including the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Herlin Riley, Theresa Andersson, the Jordan family (Kent, Marlon, Stephanie, Rachel), Don Vappie, Branford Marsalis, Astral Project, Stanton Moore, Henry Butler, Papa Grows Funk, Germaine Bazzle, John Boutte, and the Hot Club of New Orleans.

In 2013 Harris released his first CD under his own name, "The Jackal," featuring Derek Douget, Jason Marsalis, Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Rex Gregory, and other established young stars. Harris has also recorded with Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Irma Thomas, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Theresa Andersson, the Hot Club of New Orleans, and John Boutte, among others. He currently performs regularly with Germaine Bazzle, Shannon Powell, Jason Marsalis, and Irvin Mayfield.

Harris received both his Bachelor's of Music (2000) and Masters of Music (2005) from the University of New Orleans, where he was a Louis Armstrong Scholarship recipient in 2003. He has served as a clinician at Loyola University (New Orleans), Tulane University, Baton Rouge Community College, International JAZZ Workshop (Innsbruck, Austria), and several high schools throughout south Louisiana. In addition to teaching applied bass at UNO, Harris is currently on faculty at the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music.

Jamison Ross_0782.jpg

Jazz Studies Program 

Student Combo Showcase
November 11TH

Brian Seeger and the Graduate Student Ensemble will share musical highlights from their very productive semester. The group has created and recorded more than twenty original works this semester ranging from intimate and understated duos to full blown production pieces. Enjoy these fresh sounds from this incredibly talented group while getting to meet them, hear about their creative processes and even ask them some questions live!


From the Frenchmen St. scene to cutting-edge festivals, New Orleans is a vibrant, creative musical laboratory with performance opportunities on-and off-campus. UNO's Jazz Studies students become masters by working with masters in the birthplace of Jazz. UNO Jazz Ensembles (combos) allow students to focus on a particular instrument, style, or composer; standard groups include the Guitar Ensemble, New Orleans Music Combo, the Composers’ Forum, and the World Beat Ensemble. Each semester, each combo rehearses and performs a public show with a visiting artist on the bandstand at the Sandbar. Recent artists include Dave Liebman, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Charles Neville, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Ellis Marsalis.

Jamison-Ross-064.jpg

Jamison Ross
October 14TH

Jamison Ross is a vocalist and drummer that delivers messages of humanity through the medium of jazz.  
A native of Jacksonville, FL, Jamison began his study of jazz as a high school student and gained worldwide acclaim as a featured musician in the Tribeca Film Festival winning documentary CHOPS. 
Ross continued his studies at Florida State University, where he met his current band members, and at UNO, in the city where he currently resides.  In 2012, Ross’ career began to take shape after winning the Thelonious Monk Jr. International Jazz Competition for his drumming.  This achievement afforded him a recording contract with Concord Jazz.  His 2015 debut release, Jamison, introduced the world to his concept of rhythm and melody and also garnered a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. 
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Drummer Jason Marsalis
November 4TH

From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, and the youngest sibling of Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and their patriarch Ellis, comprise New Orleans venerable first family of jazz. By age six, not only had Jason gotten his first real drum set, but he was also taking lessons from the legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. By age seven he was sitting in with his father’s jazz group, as well as playing with his trombonist brother Delfeayo. Shortly after high school graduation, Marsalis ascended to the drum throne of a new group lead by virtuoso pianist Marcus Roberts. In 2000 Marsalis evolved and began to play the vibraphone on gigs and so began another chapter in Marsalis’ career. Jason continues to revolutionize jazz music and in 2013 Marsalis released another recording as a leader on vibes which went to #1 on the CMJ Radio Charts and also won an Offbeat Magazine award for best Contemporary Jazz Album. 

Photos courtesy of Don Keller
hotclub.jpg

The Hot Club

of New Orleans
(rescheduled) November 18TH

The Hot Club of New Orleans have challenged themselves with an awesome task: take the swing era music of Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, and Stephan Grappelli (among others), retain the classic groove, avoid sounding like a museum piece and then infuse it with their own modern sensibilities. Well, the first thing is these guys can all swing like mad. And they're not a bunch of stuffy old "moldy figs." But they do love this music-you can tell in their passionately delivered solos and the sly vocal readings. And, with two guitar players and an upright bass, they deliver the goods you'd expect from one of the swingingest drummers in New Orleans-but in keeping with the classic format of this music, there is actually no drummer… 

The Hot Club of New Orleans excels at generating that warm, swinging drive that Django Reinhardt was famous for and at the same time transcends the idiom by eschewing blind obedience to stylistic conventions; 
in other words the solos are modern, kids. They play a somewhat laid-back yet exuberant groove, typical of New Orleans; yet they are so tight and swinging, their solos so driving, at times they seem almost superhu- 
man.

IN MEMORIUM: ELLIS MARSALIS 
1934 - 2020 

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Artwork by Chuck Silar

We are truly saddened by the news of the passing of master pianist, cherished educator and NOJC ally, Ellis Marsalis.  

 

Ellis was the first Chairman of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of New Orleans and established “Jazz at the Sandbar” in 1990. He was always the first performer of the season for the Fall series. Thanks to him, Jazz at the Sandbar still runs today.   

 

Ellis now joins his beloved wife Dolores (Ferdinand) Marsalis, and is survived by their six sons; Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, Mboya, and Jason. He will forever stand as a foundation pillar of the Snug Harbor musical legacy and NOJC, his reach as a teacher is endless among generations of students who will continue to play the stages he played.  

 

Our hearts go out to the Marsalis family and the musicians in our community. We pledge to keep his spirit alive, our piano patriarch 

SPRING 2020 LINEUP

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Singer  RENE MARIE
MARCH 11TH

In a span of two decades, 11 recordings and countless stage performances, vocalist René Marie has cemented her reputation as not only a singer but also a composer, arranger, theatrical performer and teacher. Guided and tempered by powerful life lessons and rooted in jazz traditions laid down by Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and other leading ladies of past generations, she borrows various elements of folk, R&B and even classical and country to create a captivating hybrid style. Her body of work is musical, but it’s more than just music. It’s an exploration of the bright and dark corners of the human experience, and an affirmation of the power of the human spirit.  Rene had just one year of formal piano training at age nine, then another year of lessons at age 13 after her parents divorced and she  moved with her mother to Roanoke, Virginia.  During her teenage years, she sang in a few R&B bands at musical functions in her community. She composed and sang her first piece with a band when she was 15.  But René put her musical aspirations aside to make room for the obligations and responsibilities of adulthood. She married a former bandmate when she was 18, and by the mid-1990s, she was the mother of two and working in a bank. When she was 41, her older son convinced her to start singing again, and she took a few tenuous steps into her local music scene, singing for tips one night a week in a hotel bar. She left the bank job, moved to Richmond, Virginia, divorced her husband of 23 years, produced her first CD, signed onto the MaxJazz label and took the title role in the world premiere production of Ella and Her Fella, Frank at the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond.  René’s self-produced CD, Renaissance, was released in 1999. In 2000, she signed onto the MaxJazz label and recorded four more over the next four years. She parted ways with the label in 2005 as part of a strategy to take more control of her own career track. Part of René’s musical philosophy has been focused on giving back. In 2010, she launched a series of vocal therapy group sessions called SLAM. Her  2013 album, I Wanna Be Evil: With Love To Eartha Kitt, earned a Grammy nomination in the Best Jazz Vocals category. Perhaps more than most artists, René understands music’s capacity to heal and inspire. Not only has she herself been the beneficiary of it, but she has made every effort along the way to extend those same benefits to others. 

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Saxophonist VICTOR GOINES & BELOIT SCHOOL HIGH BAND
APRIL 1ST

Clarinetist, saxophonist, and educator Victor Goines is one of the most respected and multi-faceted musicians in the jazz world today. He is a member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra since 1993 and as well as a leader of his quartet. As a leader, Goines has ten recordings to his credit. A gifted composer as well, he has more than 100 original compositions and 50 arrangements for jazz orchestra and small ensembles to his credit and a number of commissions to his credit. Adept at a bevy of instruments, Goines has also collaborated, recorded, and performed with many noted jazz and R&B artists such as Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, B.B. King, Lenny Kravitz, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Willie Nelson, Marcus Roberts, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Benny Golson, Natalie Cole, Paul Simon, and a host of other renowned musicians and ensembles. Goines has been deeply committed to the field of music education. In November 2007, he was named Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Music at Northwestern University. Before that appointment, he was Artistic Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the Juilliard School and a faculty member in jazz clarinet and saxophone. During his tenure at Juilliard, the department expanded from a collaborative program with Jazz at Lincoln Center to include bachelor’s and master’s degrees and artist diplomas. Goines has also served on the faculties of Florida A & M University, the University of New Orleans, and Loyola University in New Orleans and acts as an education consultant to Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has conducted clinics and workshops for numerous performing arts centers worldwide.

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Saxophonist REX GREGORY 
APRIL 15TH

A Seattle-based saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, Rex Gregory has performed and/or recorded with a diverse array of luminaries such as Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Rickie Lee Jones, Jason Marsalis, Dr. John, Derek Smith aka Pretty Lights, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Stanton Moore, Herlin Riley, and many others.

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Trumpeter MAURICE BROWN 
APRIL 22ND

Maurice “Mobetta” Brown’s talent orbits him simultaneously through three worlds: contemporary jazz, blues-rock and cutting edge hip hop. He’s a mastermind as a trumpeter, composer, arranger, and producer. When Maurice picks up his horn, his soulful melodies soar into a rarefied space that uniquely marries be-bop to hip-hop and rock, producing his own distinctive sound.  Brown displayed an affinity for the trumpet at a young age as he won the national Miles Davis Trumpet Competition and studied under legendary clarinetist Alvin Batiste. His critically acclaimed debut album “HIP TO BOP”, recorded in New Orleans, foreshadowed Brown’s unique talent for creating fresh bop-inflected jazz. Yet, Hurricane Katrina’s devastation didn’t spare Maurice and he took his talent to Brooklyn.  Maurice reformed his own quintet, resurrected his underground hip-hop/funk combo, Soul'd U Out and recorded with Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, De La Soul, Macy Gray, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lettuce and The Roots.  Brown further embraced his be-bop roots with hip-hop hooks; it also lays raw his dogged insistence on charting his own musical course, bred by the rare success of his debut album and a life uprooted post-Katrina.  Maurice was invited to join the newly formed Tedeschi-Trucks Band. He created the horn arrangements on TTB’s debut album, “Revelator” which won a 2012 Grammy for Best Blues Album. Constant evolution drives him. His intuitive vision lights a fire under traditional jazz, adds sonic brass to rock n' roll and pushes the production tip in hip-hop.

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Saxophonist JEFF COFFIN
MARCH 18TH

JEFF COFFIN is a globally recognized saxophonist, composer, educator, and is a member of the legendary U.S. rock group, Dave Matthews Band. You may also know him from his 14 years, and 3 Grammy Awards, with the genre-defying Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Jeff fronts his own numerous groups when not touring with DMB and has released 15+ solo CD's on Ear Up Records. Coffin is known for his passionate and fiery soloing, his melodically driven compositions, his deep involvement with music education, and his continued dedication to the improvisational musical art form some call Jazz. He is one of the top, in demand, saxophonists in the world as well as a first call studio musician in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived since 1991. Jeff is both a Yamaha & D'Addario Performing Artist and Clinician, teaches improvisation at the prestigious Vanderbilt University, authored The Saxophone Book, co-authored The Articulate Jazz Musician, and runs his own awesome record label, Ear Up Records.  "Jaws drop, eyes pop open and crowds roar...Coffin has solidified himself as respected songwriter, eclectic musician, and contemporary pioneer of the saxophone."  - Glide Magazine 

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Drummer Jason Marsalis
MARCH 25TH

From a tender young age it was clear that Jason Marsalis had what it took to be great. Jason is the son of pianist and music educator Ellis Marsalis and his wife Dolores, and the youngest sibling of Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. Together, the four brothers and their patriarch Ellis, comprise New Orleans venerable first family of jazz. By age six, not only had Jason gotten his first real drum set, but he was also taking lessons from the legendary New Orleans drummer James Black. By age seven he was sitting in with his father’s jazz group, as well as playing with his trombonist brother Delfeayo. Shortly after high school graduation, Marsalis ascended to the drum throne of a new group lead by virtuoso pianist Marcus Roberts. In 2000 Marsalis evolved and began to play the vibraphone on gigs and so began another chapter in Marsalis’ career. Jason continues to revolutionize jazz music and in 2013 Marsalis released another recording as a leader on vibes which went to #1 on the CMJ Radio Charts and also won an Offbeat Magazine award for best Contemporary Jazz Album. 

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Guitarist JONATHAN KREISBERG
APRIL 8TH

Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has been steadily building his name as one of the most compelling composer/performers in Jazz.  Combining timeless melodicism with forward thinking lines and textures, His style and approach has created a strong following of fans around the world.  He frequently tours worldwide and records with his own groups as well artists such as Dr. Lonnie Smith. Born in New York City, guitarist and composer Jonathan Kreisberg has fond memories of a childhood steeped in music. Intensely dedicated to the instrument, he was featured in Guitar Player and DownBeat while still in his teens. Upon graduation, Jonathan began playing straight ahead jazz gigs as well as a myriad of other projects. He also began giving clinics at music schools and universities.  While still in his early 20's, he returned to his birthplace in NYC with his focus on cutting edge acoustic jazz.  Since returning to New York City, Jonathan has worked in the bands of many jazz greats including Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Stefano Dibatista, Ari Hoenig, Joel Frahm,  Don Friedman, Greg Tardy, Donald Edwards, Jane Monheit, and Yosvany Terry.  He has also led groups of various instrumentations featuring artists such as Bill Stewart, Larry Grenadier, Gary Versace, Mark Ferber, Kevin Hays and Scott Wendholt among others.  Jonathan has now recorded Ten CDs as a leader, including his latest two albums, “CAPTURING SPIRITS - JKQ LIVE!” and “KREISBERG MEETS VERAS”. Although currently based in New York City, Jonathan can be seen on tour worldwide. Entering the major Jazz Festival circuit with their electrifying show at Jazz Baltica, JKQ has subsequently performed many of the major European and American festivals. Jonathan is also a respected educator with over 25 years of experience.  In 2017 he released his first book of compositions and transcriptions, OFFERINGS OF NOTE, as well as a series of instructional videos called POLYRTHYTHMIC GUITAR.  While on tour, he is always making time for masterclasses and residencies as well as his own “NEW FOR NOW music intensive” held every summer for the past 4 years in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY.  

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Pianist JON COWHERD & MERCY PROJECT
APRIL 29TH

Although Mercy is Jon Cowherd's first album under his own name, the esteemed pianist/composer/arranger/producer is already firmly established as one of the jazz world's most accomplished, expressive and in-demand young musicians.  The Kentucky-raised, New Orleans-schooled, New York-based Cowherd is best known for his long-running partnership with drummer/bandleader Brian Blade, with whom he co-founded the Brian Blade Fellowship, whose acclaimed, influential albums showcase Cowherd's stellar keyboard work and singular compositional skills. A wide range of projects has lead him to collaborate and tour with Cassandra Wilson, Rosanne Cash, The John Patitucci trio, Claudia Acuña, The Grahams, Myron Walden, Scott Colley, and Mike Moreno, to name a few. The Mercy Project encompasses a suite of compositions by Cowherd. On the project, the multi-talented young veteran, Brian Blade is already widely respected in the jazz world as drummer/composer/leader of Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band, with whom he has released three albums. He is also known as the drummer for many heroes of the music world, including Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Wayne Shorter, Seal, Bill Frisell and Emmylou Harris. Blade is always searching for the balance that gives a song a personal story with an outward reaching resonance. One such song of memories is entitled, "Second Home," a tribute to his teacher, John Vidacovich, and the city of New Orleans where Brian met Fellowship band mates Jon Cowherd and Chris Thomas.