The Summer Music Experience at Stax Music Academy took 25 students on a trip through the Mississippi Delta, performing at some of the region’s top blues venues and culminating with two concerts in New Orleans.
First stop was Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. While in Clarksdale, the students also toured the Delta Blues Museum. From there, the Summer Soul Tour moved on to Indianola, Mississippi, where the students performed the same evening at Club Ebony.
Fulfilling a last-minute request for Saturday night, the students were the featured entertainment in New Orleans for the Texas Southern University’s National Alumni Conference. Between sets, the students were treated to dinner at the famed Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club in New Orleans 9th Ward, where they witnessed both the remaining destruction and new revitalization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“Nouveau Swing” is a style of jazz that merges popular dance music and Afro-New Orleans tradition music with swing, and Donald Harrison is its creator. Be sure to listen to some of Donald Harrison’s “Nouveau Swing” on our Jazz Appreciation Month playlist.
Donald Harrison was born in 1960 in New Orleans, and was influenced by The Crescent City’s musical traditions and diverse styles. His father was also a large influence, as he was a Big Chief in the African and Native American influenced culture of New Orleans’ Black Mardi Gras Indians. Donald also became a Big Chief in 1999, and created the term “Afro-New Orleans” to describe the culture surrounding it. Check this album cover to see him in one of his costumes.
Donald is a Berklee College of Music alumni and has performed with many of greats including Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Miles Davis, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, and Dr. John among others.
He is also the co-founder and the artistic director of the Tipitina’s Intern Program at Tipitina’s Foundation, a Berklee City Music Network member, where he teaches music, theory and history to students.
He will be performing at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Friday, April 26 at 3:40pm on the Congo Square Stage. Click here for Friday’s schedule.