New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
Clowes Memorial Hall
Friday, Feb. 2
What’s old was new with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra as they blew us away throughout a program of remembrance and rejuvenation. Three centuries ago, New Orleans jazz bubbled out of a cauldron fueled from ethers of a distinctive geology and geography, peopled by a blend unlike that of any other U.S. location.
New Orleans jazz is in the marrow and sinews of Irvin Mayfield’s being, and when he stirs in first one and then another melodic line, we in the seats move with players responding to the call of Mayfield’s horn. Hurricane Katrina devastated the place, took lives and displaced residents, yet the will to rebuild, restore and recreate continues to reach across this land as a recollection of other times when disasters failed to quash the spirit of people.
Surviving trauma was the message at Clowes last Friday, improvisation was the medium and testifying was the method. “It’s not just New Orleans’ job. It’s America’s job,” said Mayfield with an uplifting “Getting to Higher Ground.” NOJO’s 16 other magnificent players worked the music like one body, mind and soul, carrying us from Bolden, Armstrong, Ellington and Ray Charles into breathtaking expectation.