John Coltrane Tribute Kicks Off Annual Jazz Underground Series At Loyola


NEW ORLEANS — Leading an all-star group of New Orleans artists, Loyola Professor of Jazz Studies Tony Dagradi again directs Loyola’s annual tribute to saxophonist John Coltrane featuring Khari Allen Lee, Roderick Paulin, Tony Dagradi, Victor Atkins, Herlin Riley, and James Singleton. The  concert kicks off Loyola's acclaimed Jazz Underground series for the 2018-2019 season.

Loyola Presents: Coltrane Legacy will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 20 in Nunemaker Auditorium, Third Floor, Monroe Hall, Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $13 for seniors, $5 with student ID, and free for Loyola students, faculty, and staff. Free parking is available in the university’s West Road garage. Tickets may be purchased online at, by emailing, or by calling the Loyola Box Office at (504) 865-2074.

“Coltrane Legacy” is the first concert in the Jazz Underground Series’ 2018-19 campaign, organized by Dagradi. The series continues with “New Orleans Divas: Germaine Bazzle & Leah Chase” on October 18th, followed by “Monk’s Dream – Loyola Jazz Faculty” on November 9th. The popular series is part of Loyola Presents, formerly known as the Montage Fine and Performing Arts Series, which showcases some of the top arts events in the region, ranging from concerts to theatre and ballet performances.

John Coltrane was, after Charlie Parker, the most revolutionary and widely imitated saxophonist in jazz. After internships with Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Hodges, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, Coltrane began a prolific recording and performing career. His early work focused on the standard repertoire common to most jazz artists; however, he relentlessly moved the music forward artistically and technically. In the mid 1960s Coltrane turned to increasingly radical musical styles, and his search for new sounds resulted in frequent changes of personnel. In his final years and after his death, Coltrane acquired an almost saintly reputation among listeners and fellow musicians for his passionate religious convictions, peaceful demeanor and obsessive striving for a musical ideal.

Dagradi, an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author and educator, is most well known for his work with Astral Project, an adventurous quintet made up of top New Orleans players. For over three decades he has made his home in New Orleans, performing on tenor and soprano sax with many of the Crescent City's most celebrated artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint, James Booker, The Meters, Dr. John, James Black, Johnny Adams and Gatemouth Brown. His performing past also includes five years as a member of the internationally acclaimed Carla Bley band and appearances with Bobby McFerrin, Mose Allison and Nat Adderley.

Khari Allen Lee teaches at the New Orleans Center for Creative arts and with his beautiful tone and spirit is quickly making a name for himself as soulful modernist. In 2007 he earned his Masters of Music at the University of New Orleans and continues to work in the historic Crescent City as an active, versatile performer and passionate educator. He has performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, the Treme Brass Band, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. He now serves as a member of faculty at Tulane University and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.

Internationally-renowned saxophonist, Roderick Paulin is an accomplished composer, arranger, producer and educator. Roderick has collaborated with artists such as Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Aaron Neville, Allen Toussaint, Delfeayo Marsalis, Maceo Parker, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, making him a highly sought after artist of impeccable musical standards. In the summer of 2015, Roderick received the esteemed honor of being selected to serve as a faculty for the Louis Armstron Jazz Camp. Roderick also taught at the The Ellis Marsalis Music Center and currently serves as the Director of Bands at Martin Behman Charter of Arts and Sciences School in New Orleans.

Victor "Red" Atkins' style of piano has been described as "infectious, unconventional, tasteful, and powerful" all at the same time. Hailing from Selma, Alabama, he began playing with NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis in 1989 and was an integral part of the seminal, work "Pontius Pilate's Decision.” After receiving a B.A. from Berklee College of Music in Boston and an M.F.A. from the Manhattan School of Music, Victor has toured and performed with an impressive list of artists including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Aaron Neville, Nnenna Freelon, Brian Blade, Lalah Hathaway, and Nicholas Payton.

With his solid rhythmic conception and harmonic sense, James Singleton is a conduit of pure energy. He has performed in concert with such modern jazz musicians as John Abercrombie, John Scofield, Art Baron, Ellis Marsalis, Earl Turbinton and Eddie Harris. He has appeared with swing and traditional greats Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lionel Hampton, Arnette Cobb and Banu Gibson. His extensive recording credits include work with Chet Baker, Alvin "Red" Tyler, James Booker, Charlie Rich and Zachary Richard. James produced the Astral Project album "Elevado". He is also leader of the experimental group 3 Now 4, which has released a self-titled debut and the new "Book of Spells" (G.E.S.).

Since coming of age in the nurturing environment of a very musical family and a distinguished bloodline of drummers, New Orleans native Herlin Riley emerged from that most creative era of all things rhythmic in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, to enliven the ensembles of such influential and demanding improvisers as pianist Ahmad Jamal and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis through his commanding yet elegant rhythmic presence.! 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.

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