Uptown Jazz Orchestra
Wed Feb 7 | 8PM
A member of The First Family of Jazz, the middle Marsalis brother leads the vibrant Uptown Jazz Orchestra from his seat in the trombone section, in a performance that features the signature sound of his native New Orleans. Committed to the jazz heritage of NOLA, these performers transport the audience to Preservation Hall and the revelry spilling out from every doorway into the streets. Their February appearance at The Soraya brings to life the groove of Mardi Gras and the joy of Carnival.
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Special Themed Concessions
Indulge in the vibrant spirit of Mardi Gras as we present a special themed concessions on the night of Delfeayo Marsalis and The Uptown Jazz Orchestra. Join us for an unforgettable celebration – full of surprises!
Uptown Jazz Orchestra’s mission is to promote the rich cultural legacy of American music through both entertaining and educational performances. Our educational shows are designed to give young people a greater awareness of important historical figures and musical traditions. All other shows are designed specifically with the intent of folks having a good time … hands clapping, toes tapping and rump shaking!
In 2007, NEA Jazz Master and Grammy Award winning trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra (UJO) for the purpose of keeping important jazz music traditions alive; such as riff-playing, spontaneous group improvisations, and collective New Orleans instrumental polyphony. At the time, Marsalis realized that the New Orleans music community was lacking the infusion of young homegrown talent outside of the great brass band tradition, and chose to form an orchestra that could present traditional, classic, and modern compositions with authenticity. Since that time, UJO has grown into one of the premier large ensembles in the world, releasing three CDs to critical acclaim, and touring locally, nationally, and internationally.
In 2008, Marsalis founded the educational program, “Swinging with the Cool School” (a soft introduction to jazz for hip tots and adults), which was used as an experimental form of music therapy at the New Orleans Children Hospital. The Cool School has since expanded to introduce live instrumental jazz to students around the country, with the intent of helping young people develop a relationship with music that has gradually disappeared from mainstream radio and media at large. Through these performances, UJO is able to introduce students (and adults) to the wide emotional range of instrumental music.
Since 2021, UJO has produced the annual Jazz at Congo Square Festival (JACS) to celebrate New Orleans culture by presenting live performances of musicians, poets, dancers, and Black Masking Indians to local and visiting audiences. JACS Festival also features local food, arts & craft vendors. Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra plan to continue using the great legacy of American music to engage and hopefully inspire the younger generations for many years.
Shaena Ryan Martin
Tonya Boyd Cannon (vocals)
Darrell Lavigne (piano)
Marvin “Smitty” Smith (drums/percussion)
Edwin Livingston (bass)
Delfeayo Marsalis, Artistic Director/Band Leader
Acclaimed trombonist, producer and educator Delfeayo Marsalis has been praised for his “technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor,” and heralded and hailed as one of “the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation.” In addition to leading his own small groups and the dynamic Uptown Jazz Orchestra over the years, Marsalis has performed with music legends such as Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones. He has released 9 recordings as leader to critical acclaim and has steadily gained a reputation for being “a merchant of joy!”
Since producing his first album at the age of 17, Marsalis has produced over 125 recordings, yielding 1 Grammy and 7 nominations. He is the founder of three non-profits designed to help strengthen the New Orleans arts community: the Uptown Music Theatre, Uptown Jazz Orchestra, and Keep New Orleans Music Alive! Marsalis’ ground-breaking educational program, Swinging with the Cool School, a soft introduction to jazz for hip tots and adults, was implemented in the local Children’s Hospital as an experimental form of music therapy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Marsalis has reached over 6,000 students nationally through Cool School programming.
Terrance Taplin is a native New Orleanian who grew up surrounded by music. He is currently a long-standing member of the historic Treme Brass Band under the direction of Benny Jones, Sr., he is also a long-time staple in the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and assists as the musical director for Delfeayo Marsalis’ Uptown Jazz Orchestra. Terrance lends his musical attributes in all genres to bands in and out of New Orleans, often on the international stage. Terrance has worked with Raphael Saadiq, of Tony Toni Tone and Lucy Pearl fame, and has performed with a variety of artists including: Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Eddie Levert, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, and Aaron Neville, to name a few. Terrance has performed at the Grammys, the Espy’s, the Soul Train Music Awards, and the BET Experience.Terrance lends his talents to many award-winning artist projects and is sought after for his versatility in music.
John Gray is a musician and educator born and raised in Baton Rouge. He is a longstanding member of The Michael Foster Project and The Uptown Jazz Orchestra and performs with various jazz and R&B groups in the South Louisiana region. John is also a veteran music educator and recipient of the Baton Rouge Symphony’s Teacher of the Year Award, The Liz Peters Master Teacher Award, and Louisiana Life Magazine’s Louisianian of the Year Award. In addition to his performing and teaching career, John is a member of several music and educational organizations, and serves on the boards of the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, The Debose Music Foundation, and the Academic Distinction Fund. He currently works as an adjunct instructor at Southern University.
Andrew Baham has a number of accomplished performances, being a member of The Ellis Marsalis Quintet, Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Stooges Brass Band, Soul Rebels Brass Band, and more. He has produced albums for The Stooges Brass Band (It’s About Time, Thursday Night House Party), Big Sam’s Funky Nation’ (King Of The Party, Evolution), Tonya Boyd-Cannon (of The Voice Season 8, Muzic Is Life), and arranging/ production credits with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra (Uptown In A Mardi Gras Day). Baham has recorded 3 solo albums (Introducing Andrew Baham, From Whence We Came, …And They Called It Love), and just released his single, ‘Let ‘Em Smell The Roses’. He has recorded with Gavin Degraw (Gavin DeGraw), Pretty Lights (A Color Map Of The Sun),The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, the Soul Rebels Brass Band, The Stooges Brass Band, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation. He has also written and recorded soundtracks for NCIS:New Orleans, ESPN, Rockstar Games, and more.
Scott Frock has for 30 years, played lead trumpet for nearly all musical genres, working with internationally touring acts Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Delfeayo Marsalis’ Uptown Jazz Orchestra, The O’Jays, The Temptations, Gladys Knight, and a range of regional acts. Scott has appeared on The Grammy Awards, Saturday Night Live, Fallon, Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Colbert, Top of the Pops, and many more. He has performed at the Apollo, Red Rocks, The Grand Ole’ Opry, the Ryman, at Stadiums and festivals across the world, including New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, Farm Aid, Newport Folk, Monterey Pop, Japan’s Fuji Rock, Austin City Limits, Belgium’s Rock Werchter, Mexico’s Corona Capital, Johannesburg’s Joy of Jazz, and others. His work also includes support on the film Bolden, and performing in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Jazzman’s Blues for Netflix, and NCIS: New Orleans’ 100th episode.
Ethan Santos is a Filipino-American multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, arranger and educator from Fresno, CA. Ethan has lived in New Orleans for about two and a half years and has quickly became established in the scene, performing with the likes of Tank & the Bangas, Dumpstaphunk, Nicholas Payton, Leroy Jones, Trumpet Mafia, Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Tidal Wave Brass Band and Young Fellaz Brass Band. Notable performance venues include the Kennedy Center, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, DC Jazz Festival, Tahiti Soul Jazz Festival, JazzAscona, Tokyo TUC and Boston Calling. Beyond the stage, Ethan serves as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and teaches at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and privately.
Lynn Grisett is a truly dedicated musician and though his genre of preference and first love is jazz, Lynn studies, writes and performs all genres of music. In addition to the trumpet, Lynn proficiently plays saxophone. His dedication to his craft has propelled him into the company of many reputable professional musicians and recording artists. Some of these artists include: Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Maceo Parker, Larry Graham, Nile Rodgers, Trombone Shorty, Marcus Anderson, Max Wienberg, the late Dewey Redman, Winard Harper, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Ledisi, Judith Hill, Cyrus Chestnut, Ocie Davis, Kobie Watkins, Terri Lynne Carrington, Liv Warfield, and Andy Allo. Most recently, Lynn has the distinct privilege of being a member of New Power Generation Hornz; the horn section of the band New Power Generation (NPG) led by Prince.
Amari Ansari brings a fresh voice to the saxophone. The son of a gospel pianist credits his earliest interest in music to southern gospel, soul, and 90’s R&B. He was the recipient of the University of New Orleans’ Ellis Marsalis Jazz Scholarship where he would go on to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Music. He’s a member of the Alabama soul rock band St. Paul & the Broken Bones who performed with the Rolling Stones for their highly-anticipated North American Chicago comeback in 2019. Amari has appeared on several late-night television shows and American television series including HBO’s Treme. Over the last decade he has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Solange Knowles, The Temptations and many more.
Scott Johnson is a New Orleans based saxophonist, bandleader, and music educator. In addition to his teaching duties, Scott has given masterclasses on common practices for successful band directing, as well as serving on several boards aimed at bridging the gap from college to careers in music education. He remains an active clinician and music educator in Mississippi, Texas, and the New Orleans area. In 2018, Scott headlined the P-Town Jazz Festival in Plano, TX, and in 2021, he headlined part one of the Alcorn Jazz Festival. He also has an Artist/Educator endorsement with Cannonball Saxophones.
Shaena Ryan Martin is a saxophonist, educator, composer, and arranger born and raised in Richmond, VA. She knew from a very young age that she loved music; one of her earliest memories is asking for a piano for Christmas at age four. One of her favorite childhood hobbies was learning her parents’ favorite music by ear on her keyboard. Shaena lives in Durham, NC, where she is a professor of music at her alma maters, Duke and NC Central Universities. In addition to performing with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, she has performed with artists such as Harry Connick Jr., Nnenna Freelon, and The Count Basie Orchestra. Most recently, Shaena took part in a tribute to legendary pianist Yusuf Salim, performing in a big band with Gary Bartz and Chip Crawford. Shaena is currently working on original compositions and arrangements as well as writing a Woodwind Methods textbook.
Anthony Ware is a highly accomplished saxophonist and composer known for his dynamic contributions to a variety of musical genres. He has collaborated with acclaimed artists such as J Cole and Jazzmeia Horn, earning critical acclaim for his versatile and soulful playing. With an impressive range spanning jazz, hip-hop, and more, Ware’s music resonates with audiences worldwide. His dedication to his craft and passion for musical expression continue to shape his remarkable career, making him a respected figure in the contemporary music landscape.
Jean-Paul “JP” Balmat is an accomplished educator, performer, composer and arranger. As a professional saxophonist, he performs regularly in San Diego. He is artistic director of the Euphoria Brass Band. His recordings and compositions have been nominated for San Diego Music Awards the past six years. In 2019 and 2020 Euphoria Brass Band won the San Diego Music Award for “Best Jazz.” Most recently he has performed with GRAMMY award winning and nominated musicians Jon Faddis, Oscar Hernandez, Francisco Torres (Poncho Sanchez, Gordon Goodwin) and Javier Cabanillas (Pacific Mambo Orchestra). Through his career he has had the honor of opening for Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cowboy Mouth, Rebirth Brass Band, Funky Meters, Soul Rebels Brass Band among others.
Tonya Boyd-Cannon falls into the latter category as a vocal musician – a Mississippi-born, Louisiana-raised singer-songwriter who radiates an unmistakable confidence and passion, and
an individual who has truly dedicated her essence to the art form. Her sound puts vibe front and center instead of confining herself to genre limitations. It’s a distinctive style that draws from her desire to give and heal others through music – ebbing and flowing from the most heart-wrenching ballads, to jazz, funk, rock, gospel, and everything in between! Tonya’s illustrious career has seen her release many singles, EPs, full-length albums, and collaborations, all of which have received significant praise from media and critics alike. From performing the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to Colombia’s Mompox Jazz Festival; Tonya Boyd-Cannon’s voice leaves a musical presence on your heart, mind and soul.
Darrell Lavigne – Indigenous New Orleans Pianist/Composer/Producer, Darrell Lavigne has been performing on stages worldwide. After switching from trumpet to piano, Darrell was later mentored by pianist Ellis Marsalis and Composer, Roger Dickerson. In addition to Delfeayo Marsalis, he has performed and recorded with flutist and CBS Jazz artists, Kent Jordan on three releases, and trumpeter, Marlon Jordan. Other performances include, Kirk Whalum, Everette Harp, Marion Meadows, Sir Edward Kidd Jordan, Ronnie Laws, Oudist Naseer Shamma, Gregory Porter, Kevin Mahogany, The B.B. King Experience with Tito Jackson and Claudette King, Willie Nelson.
Marvin “Smitty” Smith, born the son of a drummer, Marvin, Sr., was always surrounded by music in the house. Marvin is a young musician extraordinaire whose work has been described as a “comment on invention, firm and adventurous time and technical sufficiency.” He has traveled extensively and toured with varied musical artists such as Sonny Rollins, Frank Foster and Frank Wess, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Sting, David Holland. MBASE, Kevin Eubanks, Norman Brown and Dean Brown. Featured on more than 350 albums, additional performances and recordings augmented with Terance Blanchard and Donald Harrison, Ray Brown and Phineas Newborn, George Shearing, Bobby Watson, Hamiet Bluiett and many others. Smitty conducts seminars and clinics for students in jazz workshops, both in the United States and Europe, and was on staff of the jazz program at the Banff Centre of Fine Arts, Canada, and Drummers Collective, New York City. Smitty is a formidable composer and arranger, and his success has earned him two albums as band leader, “Keeper of the Drums” (1987) and, “The Road Less Traveled” (1989).
Edwin Livingston (Bassist/Composer/Educator) has performed and/or recorded with: Elvin Jones, Ellis, Delfeayo, and Jason Marsalis, The Headhunters, Los Hombres Calientes (Grammy nominated Latin Jazz album), Munyungo Jackson, Donald Harrison, Jr., Alvin Batiste, Ronnie Laws, D.J. Logic, John Beasley, The MONK’estra, Mike Garson, James Clay, Barbara Morrison, Queen Latifah, The Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra, The Benjamin Wright Orchestra (Raphael Saadiq, Justin Timberlake, Will.I.Am, Brian McKnight, Mary J Blige, Aretha Franklin), Vince Mendoza, Bob Mintzer (Grammy nominated large ensemble album), Yellowjackets, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jovanotti, Keiko Matsui, Melody Gardot, Natalie Cole, and many others. He is on faculty at The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) & The University of Southern California (USC).