Feb 4, 2010
Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Win First Grammy Award!
Debut CD of original compositions recognized as Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2010
(NEW ORLEANS, LA) FEBRUARY 4, 2010: The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) won a Grammy Award for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album for their debut CD Book One at the 2010 Grammy Awards. Composed and arranged by Irvin Mayfield, the 31-year old Artistic director and founder of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Book One explores post-Katrina stagnation, the ongoing financial crisis, and falling in love. Mayfield and Ronald Markham, CEO and president of the 20-piece orchestra accepted the award and thanked the City of New Orleans, members of the orchestra and pass jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton and Danny Barker. “This Grammy award demonstrates that jazz is alive and resides in New Orleans,” said Mayfield”. Adding “The musicians in the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra took my original compositions and created timeless music.”
Book One boast some of the cities finest jazz musicians including clarinetist Evan Christopher, trumpeter Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, saxophonist Ed “Sweetbread” Peterson, pianist Victor Atkins and vocalists Johnaye Kendrick and John Boutte. “This is a defining moment for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra”, said Markham who guides the operations of the nationally touring non-profit organization. “We dedicate the Grammy Award to the resilient people of New Orleans and the musicians that make the city unique,” added Markham.
NOJO founded the New Orleans Jazz Institute at the University of New Orleans (UNO) where it operates a Saturday Music School for elementary school students. Mayfield is currently composing the Elysian Fields Jazz Commission, an orchestral piece that will premiere at UNO’s commencement in the spring of 2010. Mayfield will also address to the graduates. The Elysian Fields Jazz Commission will serve as the musical platform for the upcoming Road To Carnegie Hall Tour, which includes the Playboy Jazz Festival and the Champs Elysees in France. Mayfield also serves as the artistic director of jazz for the Minnesota Orchestra where he creates and presents original compositions and curates jazz performances. As a professor at UNO’s College of Liberal Arts, Mayfield teaches the New Orleans As Discourse class where students interview professionals and icons in the New Orleans cultural, business and political community. For more information on the class, visit http://cola.uno.edu/mayfield/.
NOJO also partners with the Royal Sonesta Hotel where it launched the Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, a branded entertainment venue that employs over 50 Jazz musicians weekly. For more information on the Playhouse, visit http://royalsonestano.com. Every Wednesday, NOJO presents Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam Session, the longest running jazz jam session in the city where orchestra members perform and aspiring musicians join in. Other NOJO partners include Tulane University and the World Village label, a subsidiary of Harmonia Mundi.
Compositions on Book One include: 7th Ward Blues, a tune that pays homage to the Creole neighborhood that gave birth to Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet. Sweet Bread on the Levee, a soulful tune filled with intrigue and unbridled movement by saxophonist Ed Petersen. In Love All Over Again is a lush, sexy musical interlude that features vocalist Johnaye Kendrick, a recent graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Written by Mayfield, the song reflects an experience that led him to fall in love with music – and New Orleans – all over again. Creole Thang features beautiful melodies by rising clarinetist Evan Christopher. Somebody Forgot to Turn the Faucet Off (probably Steve) features the slide Trombone of Ron Westray, whose urgent sounds are a metaphor on the failed levees in New Orleans. Mistress is a gritty and emotional tune that explores “that woman” who understands sex and adventure. Richie Can Count, spotlights Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown singing and scatting in an amusing exploration of numbers and bailouts. The tune takes its name from Mayfield’s 4-year-old son’s ability to string together numbers and echoes today’s financial turbulence. Beat is inspired by the Cuban big bands and illustrates the connection between Havana and New Orleans. Move On Ahead, is a rhythmic foray into the sound of New Orleans with vocals provided by John Boutte. Members of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s include: Evan Christopher,Clarinet, Aaron Fletcher, Alto Saxophone, Norbert Stachel, Baritone Saxophone, Flute, Ed “Sweetbread” Petersen, Tenor Saxophone, Derek Douget, Tenor, Soprano Saxophone, Ronald Westray, Trombone, Mitch Butler, Trombone, Terrance Taplin, Trombone, Barney Floyd, Trumpet, Eric Lucero, Trumpet, Leon “Chocolate” Brown, Trumpet, Ashlin Parker, Trumpet, David Pulphus, Bass, Adonis Rose, Drums, Victor “Red” Atkins, Piano.
Laura B. Tennyson, NOJO Communications