“He made us believe in the music,” says Wynton Marsalis. Jazz raconteur Danny Barker was born in New Orleans in 1909, but he spent most of his career here in New York, playing with Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, and countless others. When he finally returned home as a local legend, he gave the world a gift that you will see on stage tonight. Barker had made it his mission to remind New Orleanians that jazz was their sacred birthright, and he founded a youth group that turned reluctant children into the jazz leaders we know today.
An elite group of those musicians now reunites in The Appel Room for a soulful tribute to their mentor. Music director Dr. Michael White is a virtuoso on clarinet—an essential voice in New Orleans jazz. He’ll be leading a band featuring vocalist Catherine Russell, master trombonist Lucien Barbarin, trumpet legend Gregg Stafford, drummer Shannon Powell (AKA the “King of Treme”), original Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra drummer Herlin Riley, and trumpeter Leroy Jones, who Wynton says “was the best of all of us.” Guitarist and banjoist Don Vappie will play the role of “Mr. Barker,” as the musicians still call him.
The show also features pianist Sullivan Fortner and bassist/tuba player Philip Norris, two unbelievable young musicians who you might recognize from playing with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Join us in the House of Swing to enjoy authentic New Orleans jazz at its finest.