Dynamic Jazz Ensemble Celebrates the Music of New Orleans Legend Allen Toussaint
NOJO 7 of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra performs the music of New Orleans’ legendary pianist and songwriter Allen Toussaint.
Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 7pm
Tickets: $38, $44, $50, $110
Irvine Barclay Theatre - 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA
www.thebarclay.org | 949.854.4646
Possessing an inimitable swinging style, the mighty NOJO 7 has performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of artists across all genres. Led by Grammy Award-winning drummer and Artistic Director Adonis Rose, this 7-piece ensemble, which honors the dynamic traditions of New Orleans brass & rhythm, is drawn from the full New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Ingrained with soulful grooves and energetic group interplay, NOJO 7 performs the music of New Orleans’ legendary pianist and songwriter Allen Toussaint, whose music influenced generations spanning more than fifty years.
REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
New Orleans is a musical melting pot that has been cooking up music royalty for nearly a century. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) was formed in 2002 and is dedicated to preserving the tradition of New Orleans music and culture while exploring the works of artists that would be considered outside of the realm of jazz. Led by Artistic Director Adonis Rose, this18-piece big band has an ever-increasing repertoire that exemplifies the influence of jazz as the grandfather of all modern American music. As such, the band and its members are true Ambassadors of American music.
The members of the orchestra span several generations and have over one hundred years of combined professional experience. They have performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of artists across all genres. The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra has headlined all of America’s major performing arts venues and clubs, and produced the first local, ticketed Jazz Concert Series in New Orleans ’history. NOJO’s album, BOOK ONE released on World Village (Harmonia Mundi) won the2010 Grammy Award for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble.” Their album, Dee Dee’s Feather’s, was released in 2015 and features Grammy and Tony award-winning vocalist DeeDee Bridgewater.
On their recent 2019 release, Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint, NOJO takes a look into the mind and music of New Orleans’ piano legend Allen Toussaint. Toussaint, who passed away in 2015, left his deepest footprints in R&B and rock 'n' roll. However, he was also a major figure in the development of New Orleans funk; resonated in country music (by way of Glen Campbell's smash hit cover of "Southern Nights"); and, of course, was steeped in jazz.
"[It] was in his blood," Rose says. "There's always some connection to jazz: When you're from New Orleans, there's no way around it."
Allen Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In its inimitable swinging style, the Orchestra performs original big band arrangements of Toussaint’ greatest hits, including “Southern Nights,” “With You In Mind,” “It’s Raining,” “Ruler of My Heart,” “Java,” and “Working in the Coal Mine.”
NOJO 7 is a dynamic, smaller ensemble drawn from the full New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. Playing within the New Orleans brass band style, the group has the versatility to perform within various musical idioms and has a broad repertoire that encompasses traditional New Orleans music, funk, R&B and original compositions. The band tours with Ledisi, and has collaborated with the rapper Slick Rick, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eric Benét, and several other major performing artists.
Adonis Rose was born in New Orleans in 1975. He began playing drums at three years of age, following in his father’s and grandfather's footsteps, and as a teenager became enamored with the music of fellow New Orleanians, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, with whose father, Ellis, Adonis studied at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
Rose won a prestigious presidential scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston; just afterward, however, Terence Blanchard called and invited him to tour. "So, two days after my high school graduation I went out on the road with Terence. That was my first gig," he recalls. He continued to get work with Betty Carter, Marlon Jordan, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, ultimately dropping out of Berklee to go on the road and make a home in New Orleans.
In 2002, Rose became the founding drummer for the nonprofit, Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), the only institution in jazz's birthplace that is committed solely to the music's development. He maintained that position even after moving to Fort Worth, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, where he taught at the University of Texas at Arlington and established the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra. Rose moved back to the Crescent City in 2015, by which time NOJO was his steadiest gig. In 2016, Rose became the artistic director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. In October 2017, Rose led the 18-piece orchestra to its first concert season in two years, bringing in world-renowned artists Sheila E, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ledisi, Slick Rick, and Eric Benet to perform with NOJO at the orchestra’s 380 seat venue, the New Orleans Jazz Market.
With over 50 recordings to his credit, five as a leader, Rose has performed and recorded with the biggest names in jazz for over two decades, including Terence Blanchard, Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Roberts, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Harry Connick, Jr, Wynton Marsalis, and six recordings with longtime friend Nicholas Payton. He still currently performs and tours with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nnenna Freelon, Ellis Marsalis and Kurt Elling.
Rose is instrumental in the organization’s success by developing programs, performances and partnerships year-round. Rose just finished NOJO’s newest recording project in three years, a tribute to the legendary Allen Toussaint. The CD, Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint (Storyville Records) was released in spring 2019. The album features six songs by Toussaint and one associated with him, as well as two original tribute pieces.
For all its uplift of Allen Toussaint and of New Orleans, Songs is also a personal triumph for Rose. Following the controversial departure of founder Irvin Mayfield from NOJO and its subsequent loss of institutional support, he set himself to the fearsome task of rebuilding the orchestra while keeping its sterling musical reputation intact. He succeeded.
"Almost all of our shows since we started back have sold out," he says. "All of the band members, every single last one of them, came back. The musicians who built this organization, put it on their backs night after night, those are the ones that are doing it again now, along with me." The latest CD, Songs, thus stands as a monument to Rose's accomplishment.
Irvine Barclay Theatre 2019-2020 Season sponsor: UCI Health
Irvine Barclay Theatre Jazz Series Sponsor: Ken and Helene Rohl
Media Sponsor: KJAZZ
About Irvine Barclay Theatre
Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit www.thebarclay.org to learn about our exciting new season!