Amid the tragedy and devastation of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, many of us found an even deeper appreciation for New Orleans musical contributions – past, present and future. Quite simply, there is no other city like it. And it is important that seven years after Katrina, New Orleans survived, continues to rebuild its infrastructure and remains such a music incubator.
There is a lot of focus on that tradition this fall, as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, founded and led by trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Mayfield, who lost his father to Katrina, is a modernist with a bright, swinging sound. He is also a busy fellow. Besides running the big band, he co-leads Los Hombres Calientes, runs two jazz clubs bearing his name, is an educator and New Orleans’ cultural ambassador.