Jazz: It’s What to do in New Orleans
No baby boomer traveler’s trip to New Orleans can possibly be complete without a healthy dose of New Orleans Jazz.
New Orleans jazz, commonly called Dixieland, was born in the 1910s and very quickly spread to Chicago and New York with bands like The Original Dixieland Jazz Band , and Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars blazing the trail.
While street jazz musicians are readily found all throughout New Orleans’ famous French Quarter, we highly recommend that you make a reservation to explore the local jazz in a more formal setting as well.
During our visit, we enjoyed an evening of foot-tapping jazz at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the heart of Bourbon Street.
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At only 35 years old, Irvin Mayfield represents the continuity of the unfolding Jazz legacy of New Orleans. Winning both a Grammy Award and a Billboard Award, this versatile trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, professor, cultural ambassador and recording artist is on a path to position Jazz at the center of American culture. His virtuosity and devotion to the music has made Mayfield one of the most recorded and decorated Jazz musicians of his generation.
In 2002, Mayfield created the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), a performing arts institution dedicated to presenting engaging and transformative Jazz experiences. Under his artistic direction, NOJO won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for its critically acclaimed CD Book One on the World Village/Harmonia Mundi label. The 18-piece orchestra, which is one of the most sought after touring Jazz orchestras in the country, includes such respected musicians as Victor Atkins on piano, Ed “Sweetbread” Petersen on saxophone and Evan Christopher on clarinet, to name a few.
At the time of this writing, Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam play every Wednesday night with other renowned local performers filling out the rest of the weekly venue.