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Jazz Market jumps with the return of NOJO and Jazz Night in America

23rd October 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer

The spotlight shines on the New Orleans Jazz Market this week with the return on Thursday, October 26 of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) led by its newly named artistic director, drummer Adonis Rose. This date marks NOJO’s first appearance following its over a year-and-a-half hiatus. The Grammy-winning ensemble is back at full capacity boasting 18 members including all of the fine musicians who were onboard at its last show, May 2016, before the break. “It’s the same configuration,” Rose explains, “and our core players like (saxophonists) Ed Petersen and Khari Allen Lee, (pianist)Victor Atkins, (trumpeters) Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown and Ashlin Parker are there.”

Rose is naturally excited about having NOJO working again and especially at this upcoming appearance at the band’s home base at the Jazz Market. Taking it up a notch, he’s invited the fantastic drummer, percussionist, vocalist and producer Sheila E as a (very) special guest. Besides her booming career as a solo artist, Sheila E is also renowned for her affiliation with Prince. Rose had never met Sheila E but, he says, once he “got on the path” of wanting her to play at NOJO’s comeback performance he picked up the phone. “She has family – on her mother’s side – from New Orleans,” Rose offers adding that she personally called him back to say she’d be happy to be there.



The plan for what appears to be a rhythm-filled night is that Rose will conduct NOJO with Gerald Watkins manning the drum set when the ensemble performs some of its hard-hitting numbers many of which NOJO’s fans will be familiar. Think “Sweetbread on the Levees” and material from its Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder tributes. When Sheila E steps up to do some of her own well-known hits, Rose will take over on drums while she sings and plays timbales. Sounds like a fantastic adventure especially as performed by the highly-skilled, very versatile members of NOJO.

Having a rather calm demeanor, Rose, who has been with NOJO since the beginning and played its first gig in 2002 at Tipitina’s, has rather quietly been a workhorse on the modern jazz scene. When he was 17, trumpeter Terence Blanchard asked Rose’s parents’ permission to take him on tour. The drummer, now 42, has been on the road ever since with artists including trumpeter Nicholas Payton, with whom he attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) and presently with vocalist Nnenna Freelon, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater and pianist Ellis Marsalis the latter two of whom are on NOJO’s artistic development committee.

The drummer’s big band experience is also solid having performed in an early edition of Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Harry Connick Jr.’s large ensemble. While in Texas, where he moved following Katrina and lived for 10 years, Rose established the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra that he conceptually based on NOJO.

Rose, a graduate of the prestigious Berklee School of Music who has been tapping drumsticks since he was four years old, was inspired by his father, drummer Vernon Severin. His grandfather, Wilfred “Crip” Severin was also a drummer and bassist Chris Severin is Rose’s uncle. His grandmother was a member of the musical Pichon family.

Thursday’s performance marks just the beginning of NOJO’s return. Plans are in the works for a Christmas show in early December and complete spring and fall concert seasons in 2018.

“The thing I love most about the band is being able to see the cats – it’s like a family,” Rose proclaims. “I love the music too. There’s no other band in the world like this one.”

Showtime at the New Orleans Jazz Market, 1435 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., is 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah Stretches Out at the Jazz Market

The New Orleans Jazz Market and National Public Radio (NPR) present Jazz Night in America featuring this city’s own, trumpeter/flugel hornist Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah at the Market Place on Tuesday, October 24. For the concert, Scott will be leading a sextet with many of the musicians heard on his latest releases that make up a trio of albums called “The Centennial Trilogy,” the latest of which,” Diaspora, hit this year. Flautist Elena Pinderhughes, who has been central to Scott’s explorations of what he describes as “stretch music,” will again be at his side. Others from the album include drummer Corey Fonville, percussionist Weedie Braimah and bassist Kris Funn with pianist/keyboardist Samora Pinderhughes, the brother of Elena, coming in for the show.



The program, it has been explained, will serve a variety of functions. For those attending the performance in the venue’s acoustically superior concert hall, it will be presented as a straight-up show and a video will be broadcast live online. It will also be aired as part of NPR’s popular and highly respected series “Jazz Night in America” that is hosted by bassist Christian McBride.

A documentary on Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah has also been in the works with camera crews trailing the trumpeter around his hometown. The concert at the Jazz Market will also be included in the documentary that will be aired next spring.

Scott, who is the nephew of the great saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr. and grandson of the late Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr., is a Grammy-nominated artist who has always been ambitious as a musician and in following his muse. Fans, microphones and cameras will long be there capturing his journey.

Showtime at the New Orleans Jazz Market is 7:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m.

This article originally published in the October 23, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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