New Orleans

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Versatility is one thing; possessing the aptitude to match a boundless musical curiosity is another. Leonard Bernstein had both; Terence Blanchard also has both.

Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis family, has died at the age of 85. His death was announced in tweets from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jazz at Lincoln Center, where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director.

He reportedly went into the hospital over the weekend with symptoms of pneumonia. The New York Times reports that his son Branford says the cause of death was complications from COVID-19.

March 16, 2020. While his better-known brothers, Branford and Wynton, are global phenomena, Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombonist, production whiz and fourth son born into jazz’s first family, has always preferred to keep things mostly about New Orleans.

January 20, 2020. The Pretenders’ front woman Chrissie Hynde has cut her first jazz album, Valve Bone Woe, which includes 14 songs and some that weren't originally composed as jazz tunes—interpretations of music first conceived by pop-rock icons Brian Wilson, Nick Drake, and The Kinks’ Ray Davies sit right alongside takes on Hoagy Carmichael, Mingus, and Coltrane.

In 2005, even as the flood waters that rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina subsumed his home along with countless others, Allen Toussaint was reluctant to leave his city. But the elegant architect of New Orleans rhythm and blues was left with no other option. Just a day after his evacuation, in an interview with Rolling Stone, he described the experience less in terms of what had been lost than what could yet be gained.

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January 21, 2019.  Charlie Dennard doesn’t waste much time on his new album, Deep Blue, before paying homage to his adopted home. The longtime New Orleans keyboardist immediately announces a Crescent City connection, opening the album with “St. Charles Strut,” with an unmistakably New Orleanian second-line drum beat.

"Let the good times roll" with WRTI's J. Michael Harrison starting at 9 pm on Mardi Gras to celebrate the city that gave birth to "America's Music" - jazz!  J. Michael will be the Grand Marshall of this Mardi Gras parade bringing you the best that New Orleans musicians have been offering throughout the years.  

Expect some early New Orleans jazz from Louis Armstrong and The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the"pop" side of New Orleans music with Louis Prima, and even New Orleans-style jazz played by artists who aren't natives, but inspired by that wonderful town.