TVD Recommends:
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at the Joy Theater, 6/21

The big band, which is led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield (pictured below), doesn’t play that often in New Orleans. Friday night is a chance to see them in the newly renovated theater on Canal Street.

The NOJO features many of the top players in New Orleans and it is intergenerational. Younger musicians like saxophonist Rex Gregory share the bandstand with veterans like pianist Victor “Red” Atkins.

I have only been to one show at the Joy Theater, but I can report that the room sounds great. It has been a landmark in downtown New Orleans since it opened decades ago, but then fell into disrepair.

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will be playing tunes that were written decades ago by three of our modern jazz masters—Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, and James Black. All three players were instrumental in developing a sound that is now easily identified by its groove and melody.

large_Irvin Mayfield New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

While the rest of America was pushing the envelope that is jazz, these three musicians, along with other players in their orbit like the late great sax man Nat Perrillat, were creating compelling music that was mostly overlooked at the time. Now their efforts are part of the curriculum of jazz studies programs especially here in New Orleans.

Some of the tunes are also covered by funk and groove musicians such as Stanton Moore of Galactic. Watch the video above for a great version of a tune by drummer James Black.

The show starts at 8 PM and tickets are available here.

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