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The History of Play-A-Long (and More)

Thinking back to his early days as a curious young musician, Eddie Palmieri remembers hours of close listening to records. The Cuban bands of the ’50s held a particular fascination for the percussionist-turned-pianist; he’d dissect every detail of the music to learn how the various parts worked together and, ideally, how to play with them. … Read More “The History of Play-A-Long (and More)”

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Nolatet: Raising a Bigger Dust Cloud

Dusk was giving way to a cool spring Jazz Fest night at the Music Box Village, an outdoor hamlet of musical shanties and sound-making structures by New Orleans’ Industrial Canal, when Mike Dillon of Nolatet delivered a solo-ending “thwap” to his vibes. He paused and smiled, his mallets uncharacteristically still for more than a few … Read More “Nolatet: Raising a Bigger Dust Cloud”

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New Orleans Celebrates Itself at Jazz Fest

At an event before the 49th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, producer Quint Davis announced that Jazz Fest would not be focusing on a particular country as part of its booking theme this year. In honor of the city’s tricentennial, he said, “New Orleans is the country we’re celebrating.” Given the obsessively self-referential culture … Read More “New Orleans Celebrates Itself at Jazz Fest”

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Jazz & #MeToo

In late December, when I first spoke to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s new president and CEO, Sarah Bell, about gender bias and sexual harassment in jazz, she told me that overall her personal experience has been positive. A few days passed, then she reached out again. Since taking over her current role at NOJO … Read More “Jazz & #MeToo”

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NOJO: A Second Chance to Swing

On Oct. 26, a year and a half after its last public performance, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) returned to the New Orleans Jazz Market to kick off a new season—this time, without its founder and former artistic director, Irvin Mayfield. The trumpeter resigned in July 2016 amid an ongoing scandal: Mayfield was accused … Read More “NOJO: A Second Chance to Swing”

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Teaching Traditional Jazz: The Roots Must Remain

When Aron Lambert was 9 or 10, his afternoons often consisted of the same ritual: After school, he’d wander a few blocks through the French Quarter to where his parents worked with his aunt and uncle Jaffe at Preservation Hall. If Speedy the maintenance man was still sweeping up from the previous night’s show, Lambert … Read More “Teaching Traditional Jazz: The Roots Must Remain”

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Eight Great Moments from the 2017 New Orleans Jazz Fest

The culture sprawl that is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival came to a close May 7, putting a lid on seven full days of music programming spread across genres including (but hardly limited to) jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco, rock, pop, bounce and hip-hop. A handful of this year’s headliners returned to, as Stevie … Read More “Eight Great Moments from the 2017 New Orleans Jazz Fest”

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