Now that the Saints have won the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras is coming to a close, area residents soon will be able to experience an exciting slice of New Orleans. On Monday, March 1, 2010, the sounds of the Crescent City will fill the Johnson Theatre at UNH when Dr. Michael White and the Original Liberty Jazz Band perform as part of the UNH Traditional Jazz Series.

A renowned clarinetist and jazz scholar, White formed the Original Liberty Jazz Band in the early 1980’s to “preserve the heritage of New Orleans music…” The band has performed all over the world, spreading the good sounds and feelings of New Orleans. In addition to White, the ensemble includes: Gregory Stafford, trumpet/vocals; Lucien Barbarin, trombone; Detroit Brooks, banjo; Steve Pistorius, piano; Herman Lebeaux, drums; and Kerry Lewis, bass.

White holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at New Orleans’ Xavier University, where his teaching focuses on Afro-American music. He is renowned for his scholarly work and celebrations of the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, and George Lewis. All along, he is producing new music which unmistakably references traditional New Orleans sounds. In addition to work with his own ensemble, White has served as resident artist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and plays with the New Orleans-based Young Tuxedo Brass Band.  He has mentored scores of musicians, including Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison.

All proceeds from the concert will support the UNH-Alternative Break Challenge, the student-run organization that each year sponsors student service learning trips over Spring Break. More than 140 UNH students are scheduled to work with Habitat for Humanity and similar organizations at locations from South Florida to Kansas City, Missouri. And appropriately enough, this year’s trips include one to New Orleans and another to nearby Waveland, Mississippi; students will participate in post-Hurricane Katrina clean-up and rebuilding activities.

The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. at the Johnson Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center, UNH Campus, Durham, NH. General admission tickets are $8 each and $6 each for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the UNH Memorial Union Building Ticket Office and at the door one beginning one hour prior to the concert. You may also order tickets online at http://www.unhmub.com/ticket/ or call 603-862-2290 for more information.

The 2009-2010 Traditional Jazz season comes to a close on April 12th with the appearance of the critically acclaimed Steve Wilson Quartet. Wilson represents a new generation of historically informed jazz musicians dedicated to passing on and expanding the language of jazz.

The Traditional Jazz Concert Series is co-sponsored by the UNH Music Department and the New Hampshire Library of Traditional Jazz. The library, established in 1978 by Dorothy Prescott, comprises books, recordings, and memorabilia and is housed at the UNH Dimond Library.  Prescott’s generous endowment funds its activities including the Traditional Jazz Series concerts.

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