IRVIN MAYFIELD AND THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA RELEASE NEW CD, “BOOK ONE” DURING JAZZ FEST! Book One
will be available at the New Orleans Jazz Fest Music Tent, LA Music Factory and Peaches Records.
New Orleans -- Irvin Mayfield
and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) announced today that they are issuing a limited local release of their new CD, Book One
during The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell April 24 - May 3, 2009. The CD, which is on World Village, a world music label from Harmonia Mundi, features NOJO’s critically-acclaimed big band led by Mayfield, a Grammy Award- nominated and Billboard Award-winning trumpeter and NOJO’s founder and artistic director, as well as soloists such as saxophonist Ed “Sweetbread” Peterson and vocalists Leon “Chocolate” Brown, Johnaye Kendrick and John Boutte. Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will be performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Saturday May 2 at 4:00 p.m.-5:10 p.m. A CD release party will follow the performance on May 2 at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon Street in the French Quarter at 8 p.m.
“We titled this CD Book One
because it will be the first of many that tell the story of our beloved city, the birthplace of jazz,” said Mayfield, a versatile trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger and recording artist from New Orleans who also co-founded the Latin jazz group Los Hombres Calientes. “We hope that listeners enjoy the music and that it inspires them to assist in our recovery by visiting New Orleans soon.” All but one of the songs on the CD were composed and arranged by Mayfield, who was commissioned by the Episcopal Church to write a new piece for the fourth annual “All the Saints” jazz concert held on Nov. 21, 2008 at Christ Church Cathedral in New Orleans. The songs address key issues of the day such as post-Katrina stagnation, the price of gas and the ongoing financial crisis. Many of the songs from the concert are included on the CD,
According to Mayfield, “Everything in Jazz goes back to New Orleans” and “Book One” is an exploration of the city’s history, influence and jazz culture.
Featured songs include “7th Ward Blues” pays homage to the Creole neighborhood that gave birth to Jelly Roll Morton and Sidney Bechet. “Sweet Bread on the Levee,” on which Petersen, an instructor at the University of New Orleans (UNO) really steps out with an unbridled, free-movement style that is filled with intrigue, soul and gospel; “In Love All Over Again,” a lush, sexy musical interlude features Kendrick, a graduate student in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in New Orleans at the time of the recording and a winner of a Down Beat Award as an Outstanding Jazz Vocalist, was written by Mayfield as a tribute to an experience he had in 2008 that made him fall in love with music – and New Orleans – all over again; “Creole Thang” features Clarinetist Evan Christopher while the big band layers the sound. “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. The band is playing so hard that it makes the levees overflow, yet the band continues to swing. “Mistress” is a gritty and emotional tune that explores “that woman” who understands sex and adventure. “Richie Can Count,” features Leon “Chocolate” Brown who sings and scats 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 is inspired by today’s financial turbulence; “Beat” is inspired by the Cuban big bands; in the song the joy of dancing, laughing and rhythms illustrates the connection between Havana and New Orleans. “Move On Ahead,” a rhythmic foray with echoes of 1960s New Orleans features singer John Boutte. Mayfield composed “Move On Ahead” as a message to the citizens of New Orleans to keep moving on.
NOJO was founded in 2002 by the then-24-year-old Mayfield. A non-profit organization, it aims to fortify the jazz industry in a number of ways, including its performing configurations, its partners (Minnesota Orchestra, Royal Sonesta Hotel, University of New Orleans, Tulane University and Harmonia Mundi/World Village) and Mayfield’s artistic leadership.
Through its programs, NOJO engages people by infusing jazz into the ethosphere. Its featured performances in 2009 will include “New Orleans Live!” the first interactive, multi- media experience of its kind and a revolutionary way for audiences to experience jazz. In addition to their concerts at major performing arts centers throughout America, Mayfield and other NOJO members (as well as some rising stars and New Orleans legends) can be heard at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans (sonesta.com/RoyalNewOrleans), which opened its doors in March.
“All the Saints” is a living commission, meaning that Mayfield, the official cultural ambassador for the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana as well as the artistic director of jazz for the distinguished Minnesota Orchestra, writes a new piece each year. The Episcopal Church first commissioned him to write the music for “All the Saints” in the weeks after Hurricane Katrina. The concert, held on Nov. 17, 2005, told the story of the storm and its effects on the city and its people. The event marked the cultural reopening of New Orleans and attracted more than 1,000 people to the Christ Church Cathedral. It was also the public debut of the Elysian Trumpet (elysiantrumpet.com), the idea for which Mayfield conceived in tribute to his father Irvin Mayfield Sr., whose fate was not yet known at the time of the performance. His body was found weeks later on Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.
“The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s mission is to serve our community – both the global jazz community and the New Orleans community,” said Ronald Markham, NOJO’s president and CEO. “We are very grateful to have this opportunity to represent one of the oldest and most important cities in America, and certainly it’s most unique. It’s that uniqueness, the blending of European, Latin and African cultures and of European instruments and African rhythms, that made New Orleans the birthplace of jazz. “With this CD, as well as with our programs and all that we do, we are taking New Orleans global. Nothing could make us prouder than representing our city. This is New Orleans’ CD.”ABOUT THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) is a performing-arts organization whose goal is to strengthen the business of jazz through performances, touring, business development, recordings and media platforms. Founded in 2002 by trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, NOJO's mission is to inspire freedom and culture in the individual and the global community by creating authentic, engaging jazz experiences while celebrating the origins and transforming the future of jazz. A non-profit organization, NOJO is engaged in innovative partnerships with the University of New Orleans, where it established the New Orleans Jazz Institute in 2008, and Tulane University, where its office is located. NOJO performs in the form of a big band and other configurations, and is releasing its debut CD, Book One
, in spring 2009. For more information, please visit thenojo.com.