When people check out New Orleans, they’ll inevitably hear music at clubs like Conservation Hall, Snug Harbor and the Palm Court, or they’ll experience it being played outdoors in historic Jackson Square or swingin’ down a street throughout a 2nd line parade. Often, they’ll exclaim, “Oh, this is jazz? I didn’t believe I liked jazz, however I like this.” That change of mind is the result of audiences experiencing jazz played by New Orleans artists gladly sharing their love of the music and its heritage.
History of Jazz Music
New Orleans is the birth place of jazz. The conversation quieted after the publication of In Search of Pal Bolden: First Man of Jazz.
Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) would certainly have contested the book’s title, as the New Orleans pianist typically proclaimed he invented jazz. Morton, understood almost as much for his big-headed behavior as his excellent body of work, was certainly critical in jazz’s production, especially as an author and arranger. While Bolden acquired his track record in the Crescent City, Morton rose from playing ragtime piano in whorehouses in New Orleans’ Storyville District (closed down in 1917 and demolished in the 1930s) to attaining international fame.
Numerous jazz artists, consisting of now luminary figures such as cornetist Joe “King” Oliver (1885-1938), took the music north in search of more rewarding environs. New Orleans’ most popular musician, the renowned trumpeter and vocalist Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, took it an action even more and made jazz popular around the world. Just a block from the park, the Backstreet Cultural Museum commemorates the Mardi Gras Indians, jazz funerals and brass band-led social help and pleasure club parades.
Present Day Jazz Scene in New Orleans
The splendor of jazz in New Orleans is that timeless jazz and its purveyors stay influential to those who play music today. Artists such as Michael White, who can be heard at the jazz breakfast at the InterContinental Hotel, seriously studied jazz’s early players such as fellow clarinetist George Lewis. Trumpeter and singer Kermit Ruffins, one-time member of the Renewal Brass Band, invested his formative musical years enjoying limitless videos of his idol, Louis Armstrong.
Jazz, being an improvised, freedom-loving music, naturally continued to evolve. Modern jazz took hold in New Orleans in the 1950s, when local artists were exposed to trailblazers such as the terrific trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, when excellent gamers such as he showed up in the city to perform. Most artists excited to explore the brand-new music played their routine jobs and then gatheringed to woodshed afterward. Pianist Ellis Marsalis was amongst those to seriously delve into the modern-day sounds. The patriarch of the musical Marsalis household– saxophonist Branford, trumpeter Wynton, trombonist Delfeayo and drummer/vibraphonist Jason– Ellis Marsalis continues his pursuit of modern-day jazz leading a band every Friday night at Snug Harbor.
While residing in New York in the early 1980s, Ellis’ son Wynton Marsalis put New Orleans modern-day jazz on the map. The trumpeter’s achievements, in addition to those of his brother Branford, unlocked for a number of this city’s up-and-coming gamers. Those who took advantage of the brothers’ success consist of the similarity trumpeters Nicholas Payton and Irvin Mayfield. Mayfield can be heard frequently at his Bourbon Street club, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Play house, located in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. He’s also at the head of two Grammy-winning ensembles, leading the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and co-leading Los Hombres Calientes.
Both Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis are very active on the New Orleans contemporary jazz scene. The trombonist directs his Uptown Jazz Orchestra on Wednesday nights at Snug and Jason gets the call whenever a solid, expressive drummer is required. New Orleans boasts a wealth of musical families– Marsalis, Jordan, French, Neville, Andrews, Brunious, Johnson, Frazier, Brooks, Boutté– makes sure the continuum of jazz in the city where the music was born.