Baritone Madness-Tony Dagradi and Roger Lewis- at Loyola University


This evening, March 4, 2010, from 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM two of city’s finest saxophonists will face off on baritones.  Loyola jazz professor and Astral Project founder Tony Dagradi (pictured) and Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tremé Brass Band) will be joined by Johnny Vidacovich on drums and Jesse Boyd on string bass.  The concert is in Satchmo’s Jazz Café, located on the lower level of Loyola’s Danna Student Center.  Tickets for “Baritone Madness” are $10 general admission and $5 for Loyola employees and non-Loyola students. Tickets are available online at or at the door Thursday night.  Loyola students are admitted free.

Jason Moran and Herlin Riley at Snug Harbor

One of the major bonuses associated with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz moving to New Orleans is the low-key presence of some of the most interesting players in the world of jazz.  They come to the institute’s home at Loyola University to teach master classes and otherwise impact the students in the program.  They also occasionally play gigs that are open to the public.  Since he burst on the New York scene as a college student at the Manhattan School of Music, the pianist Jason Moran has been turning heads with his singular approach.  Tonight, March 4, 2010, he appears with one of New Orleans’ masters, the drummer Herlin Riley at Snug Harbor.

Soul Project at Balcony Music Club

Cristian Duque plays lead and rhythm guitar in a style all his own.  But if you listen closely, you will occasionally hear hints at his long tenure working with Walter “Wolfman” Washington.  The affable musician spent many months understudying with the great blues and soul artist.  He played big gigs, like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and smaller stages including the Maple Leaf Bar.  Duque leads the Soul Project, a band that he founded before Hurricane Katrina displaced him.  He’s back in New Orleans now and the band plays tonight, March 2, 2010 at the Balcony Music Club on the corner of Esplanade and Decatur Streets in the French Quarter.

Ernest “Doc” Watson R.I.P.

On Saturday morning, February 27, 2010, the New Orleans traditional jazz community laid to rest one of the icons, the saxophonist Ernest “Doc” Watson.  The funeral was held at St. Katherine Drexel Catholic Church on Louisiana Avenue in uptown New Orleans.  Over 25 musicians came out to pay respect to the legendary musician who performed with the Young Tuxedo and Olympia Brass Bands as well as with the Preservation Hall band over the course of his long career.  Most of the musicians were inside the church when the service ended.  They paraded outside preceeding the casket of  the deceased.

The procession heads up the aisle led by two Grand Marshals


William Smith, trumpet and Roger Lewis, baritone saxophone, lead  the band out of the church.


Dr. Michael White, clarinet, and Julius “Jap” McKee, sousaphone, were among the many musicians paying respect to “Doc.”


As the up tempo second line portion of the jazz funeral got under way both musicians and mourners had their exuberance on display for a life well lived.


After several blocks of spirited blowing, drumming and dancing, the music slowed and the crowded paused for the ritual of “cutting loose the body.”  The musicians split in half as the funeral cortege passed between the assembled.


The final song of the funeral was the mournful, “Lead Me Savior,” as all in attendance contemplated our earthly bonds.  Here trumpeters Wendell Brunious and Greggory Stafford hit just the right notes.


All photos by Kim Welsh