New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Announces First Annual Concert Series, Free To The Public

Zack Smith
James Rivers kicks off the first annual Jazz & Heritage Concert Series with a performance on Sept. 16.

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit that owns Jazz Fest, announced its first annual series of free monthly concerts at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., on Saturdays from September through July 2018.

         The 13 shows will feature hometown musicians performing in an eclectic mix of styles.

         The series begins on Saturday, Sept. 16, with a performance by the beloved New Orleans saxophonist James Rivers and his band, the James Rivers Movement, and concludes on Saturday, July 14, with the Kyle Roussel Organ Trio.

         The concerts span a range of styles, from straight-ahead modern jazz to soul, as well as traditional New Orleans jazz, Latin and a show or two that defy categories.

         All are free to the public.

         The 2017 – 2018 Jazz & Heritage Concert Series builds on a rich tradition of free concerts presented by the Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell, reps said.

         Starting in the early 1980s, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation sponsored a handful of concerts each year at various venues around New Orleans. These focused primarily on touring artists who are rarely heard in New Orleans and included such greats as Ahmad Jamal, Shirley Horn, Patti Austin, Slide Hampton, Gregory Porter, Chucho Valdes, the Heath Brothers, Kenny Garrett and many others.

         In 2015, shortly after the foundation opened its own education and performance venue – the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, which boasts an intimate concert hall with great acoustics – the foundation greatly expanded the number of free concerts it presents, to approximately one show per month, reps said. Prominent touring artists such as Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, Cyrus Chestnut and Marcus Roberts are among those who have performed at the Jazz & Heritage Center since it opened.

         Now, for the first time, the foundation is announcing a complete schedule of concerts as a series. The foundation also is recognizing the world-class caliber of local New Orleans musicians by making them the focus of each concert, reps said.

         “New Orleans musicians have a well-deserved reputation for being among the best in the world,” said Don Marshall, executive director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. “We want to showcase their talents in a beautiful setting with appreciative audiences.”

         No tickets or advance registration are required, and there is no reserved seating.

         The concerts will begin at 8:00 p.m. and will consist of two sets, with the second set starting at 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for all shows. The exceptions are the shows on April 28 and May 5, during Jazz Fest, which will have sets at 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

         Modern jazz will be the focus of several shows, such as those featuring the group Astral Project (Feb. 17), the saxophonist Donald Harrison (April 28, the first Saturday of Jazz Fest), the Jason Marsalis Vibraphone Quartet (March 10) and a trio of modern saxophone masters: Derek Douget, Ed Petersen and the only visiting artist featured in the series, the accomplished musician Stephen Riley (Nov. 4).

         Traditional New Orleans jazz takes the spotlight in two concerts, one by trumpeter Leroy Jones (Dec. 2) and the other by clarinetist Doreen Ketchens (April 7).

         Soulful vocalists Naydja CoJoe, Nayo Jones and Mykia Jovan will share a stage for a concert on May 5 (the second Saturday of Jazz Fest). Soul jazz is also the focus of our series-concluding concert on July 14, featuring the versatile pianist Kyle Roussel (known for his work in traditional jazz with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, plus modern jazz and R&B) performing in an unusual context:  a Jimmy Smith-style organ trio.

         On Dec. 9, two female cello players, Leyla McCalla and Helen Gillet, will perform both separately and as a duet.

         Two young New Orleans horn players will showcase their new bands in a double bill on June 9 featuring Troy Sawyer & the Elementz and Calvin Johnson & Native Son. And veteran pianist and music educator Jesse McBride will feature up-and-coming talent in a May 26 concert with his band, Next Generation.

         Latin music rounds out the series with a Sept. 30 concert featuring the bands OTRA and Rumba Buena.

         The full Jazz & Heritage Concert Series 2017 – 2018 schedule includes:


Saturday, Sept. 16          The James Rivers Movement

Saturday, Sept. 30          OTRA & Rumba Buena

Saturday, Nov. 4            Derek Douget, Stephen Riley and Ed Petersen

Saturday, Dec. 2             Leroy Jones

Saturday, Dec. 9             Helen Gillet and Leyla McCalla

Saturday, Feb. 17           Astral Project

Saturday, March 10        Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet

Saturday, April 7            Doreen Ketchens

Saturday, April 28          Donald Harrison

Saturday, May 5             Naydja CoJoe, Nayo Jones and Mykia Jovan

Saturday, May 26           Jesse McBride & Next Generation

Saturday, June 9             Troy Sawyer and the Elementz plus Calvin Johnson & Native Son

Saturday, July 14            Kyle Roussel Organ Trio


         The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment.

         For more information



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