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Jazz Concerts Link Past and Present

October 15, 2007

Nick Marinello

The trajectory of New Orleans jazz from past to present will be presented live and on stage in two campus concerts that will be free and open to the public. The concerts will be held in Dixon Hall on Tuesday (Oct. 16) and Wednesday (Oct. 17) and will highlight the connections between traditional and modern jazz, as well as brass band music.


Matt Sakakeeny, assistant professor of music, will play the role of master of ceremonies at two free jazz concerts that will take place in Dixon Hall. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Exposing the public to this music is “extremely important for the New Orleans community. This is what defines New Orleans — jazz,” says Barbara Jazwinski, chair of the Newcomb Department of Music, which is sponsoring the program.

The lineup will feature the traditional sounds of Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band and the New Orleans Serenaders on Oct. 16, with the Soul Rebels Brass Band and the Professors of Pleasure performing in contemporary genres on the following night. Shows begin at 7 p.m. each night.

“I think it is important to see how the music idiom changes over time and is redefined by everything that is happening around it,” says Jazwinski.

To that extent, the concerts are required listening for first-year students enrolled in Tulane InterDisciplinary Experience Seminars (TIDES) pertaining to music. Matt Sakakeeny, assistant professor of music, will be the master of ceremonies for the concerts and provide historical context for the performances. Bruce Raeburn, the curator of Tulane’s William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive, also will offer commentary on the music.

“The musicians in these four groups are also academics and serious students of music,” says Sakakeeny. “Bruce and I will set the stage and encourage the musicians to speak on the music.”

Both Tom Sancton, who leads the New Orleans Serenaders, and Michael White are likely to share their experiences about learning and performing traditional New Orleans jazz. Sancton is this year’s Mellon Professor at Tulane, and White holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University.

The Professors of Pleasure comprises professors and tutors in the music department and includes John Doheny, John Dobry, Jesse McBride, Kevin O’Day and Jim Markway. The Soul Rebels have continued their musical studies at Xavier and Southern universities and “extend the boundaries of brass band music by integrating funk, hip-hop and Caribbean styles,” says Sakakeeny.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000