On Saturday, December 6, look out for this new ensemble that Don Vappie and I have formed: The Storyville Centennial Project. Our debut in October celebrated Jelly Roll Morton’s birth anniversary who figures prominently in our narrative, but the group extends the legacy of other jazz masters who were integral to traditional New Orleans music. Combining Vappie’s brand of “Creole Jazz” and my agenda of finding new ways to treat classic New Orleans music, we also showcase some bright talent on the New Orleans scene.
Trumpeter Kevin Louis and trombonist Michael Watson round out the front line. Kris Tokarski, David Pulphus and Benji Bohannon help Papa Don in the rhythm section. Watching these enthusiastic players grow and find their own voice while staying anchored in the style-specific vocabulary of New Orleans is very exciting.
We will also be recording the group “LIVE” that night, so come be a part of this singular event. It’s the usual drill at Snug: Two shows, 8pm & 10pm, reservations by calling the club during business hours. (504) 949-0696
Place: Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, 626 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Date & Time: December 6, 2014, 8pm & 10pm
Line-Up: Evan Christopher, Don Vappie, Kris Tokarski, Benji Bohannon, Kevin Louis, David Pulphus
This event hosted by Pearl Wine Co. has been years in the making, since I attended a 2011 Beni di Batasiolo event in Southern California. Finally, Certified Italian Wine Specialist, Stefano Poggi, has found time in his schedule to bring Batasiolo’s select Northern Italian wines to New Orleans. The five wines including their 2010 Barolo will be accompanied by a gourmet tasting menu and musical interludes by my group, Clarinet Road. A short concert will follow the wine dinner, while Poggi remains on hand to answer questions about the wines and share the Dogliani family’s history.(They’re the world’s leading family producer of Barolo!)
Seating is very limited, and reservations will be required. Phone: (504) 483-6314
Special Appearance w/ Kris Tokarski Trio for “Carolina Shout” Tribute to James P. Johnson
[NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana. November 15, 2014]
To commemorate the centennial of stride-piano master James P. Johnson’s show-piece, the Carolina Shout, young lion Kris Tokarski leads a program of hot classic jazz. Tokarski is a relative newcomer to the scene, but I’m very impressed by his dedication to the technical stride piano style and his enthusiasm for New Orleans music. For this special tribute to James P. Johnson, I will join him for two shows (7pm & 9pm) at the stylish Little Gem Saloon located in the historic 400 block of S. Rampart Street. Tokarski’s trio will also feature drummer Benji Bohannon and bassist David Pulphus.
My buddy, Duke Heitger, who leads the daytime excursions on the Steamboat Natchez, has organized the 2nd annual “Steamboat Stomp” for the weekend of November 14-16. On Friday the 14th, at 7pm, the Yerba Buena Stompers, Banu Gibson, and my group with Don Vappie will present an evening of New Orleans music. Closing the evening, our showcase will be seasoned liberally with French patois and Spanish tinge.
We will feature NYC-based trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso and trombonist Michael Watson. Kellso’s early jazz trumpet expertise is the reason he gets the first call from musicians such as Wynton Marsalis or Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks. His work with the latter can be heard on the Grammy winning soundtrack of Boardwalk Empire and at regular appearances in New York hotspots.
Michael Watson is a relative newcomer to the New Orleans scene, but has a Grammy credit for his work on the 2009 release by the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Bassist Kerry Lewis rounds out the line-up.
Starting at 7pm, two other bands perform before us in the intimate Fleur-de-Lis room at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Also, at the Historic New Orleans Collection from 5:00-6:00pm there will be a talk by the legendary Capt. “Doc” Hawley. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the HNOC. The ticket for the talk and music at the Sonesta is $65 or one can attend just the concert for $55.
Place: Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon St.
Date & Time: November 14, 2014, 7pm-10pm
Line-Up: Evan Christopher, Don Vappie, Jon-Erik Kellso, Michael Watson & Kerry Lewis
Django à la Créole @ Duc des Lombards
Monday, Tuesday 3-4 November 2014
This quartet finished our 6th season with small victories at the Snape Proms and Oslo Jazz Festival. There’s no fall tour this year, but we will return to Paris for two nights in a program we’re calling “Django’s Blues.” Denny Ilett is in the solo guitar chair to facilitate a deeper exploration blues vocabulary with our Creole theme.
It’s the usual drill at the Duc des Lombards with two shows each night at 8pm & 10pm.