The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra

BandJazz

Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), is New Orleans' premiere 15-piece Jazz orchestra. Artistic Director, Irvin Mayfield presents original compositions and standards steeped in the jazz tradition. The Grammy nominated, NOJO performs to sold-out audiences at around the country.

Biography

THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ ORCHESTRA
ENHANCING EVERY DAY OF LIFE WITH JAZZ

The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, founded in 2002 by now-30-year-old trumpeter, composer and bandleader Irvin Mayfield, is more than just a group of exceptionally talented musicians playing America’s only indigenous music.

Although it features a critically-acclaimed big band that tours internationally and will soon record its debut album, NOJO is a non-profit organization whose mission – to inspire freedom and culture in the individual and the global community by creating authentic, engaging jazz experiences while celebrating the origins and transforming the future of jazz -- encompasses wide-ranging goals in a number of areas.

It performs in the form of the big band, an All-Stars quintet or sextet, or trumpet-piano duo. It commissions works and supports performances of small groups. It manages five programs in New Orleans, one of which is a Saturday music school that tours students who want to experience what it’s like to go on the road for the first time. It has a program at Tulane University, where its offices are located, and the University of New Orleans, where it oversees the New Orleans Jazz Institute.

In short, NOJO is a business for jazz.

In 2003, Mayfield was appointed official cultural ambassador of the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana by the U.S. Senate, Congress and other governmental agencies. He and the NOJO team are dedicated to the long-term development of an industry around jazz and the beginning of international, national and local discussions on where jazz was, is and will be.

NOJO’s performing element has consistently received glowing reviews. One journalist dubbed the orchestra “a savory dish of musical gumbo,” while another raved, “These guys are about playing New Orleans jazz with blistering Creole fire, a kind of unrestrained fun and virtuosity.”

The big band has played all of America’s major performing arts centers, including Lincoln Center. It will release its debut album on World Village, a subsidiary of the Harmonia Mundi label, next year.

Despite its musical success, NOJO was never meant to be a stand-alone performing entity. Rather, it was designed as a bridge to the greater cultural legacy of New Orleans and a vehicle for preserving and expanding it. The concept for the NOJO came to Mayfield at age 23, after he had already created the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans.

“It was a program where the entire university would have a jazz experience,” Mayfield, a Grammy-nominated and Billboard Award-winning trumpeter, said of the institute. “W would talk about jazz from a literary perspective. We would talk about the social effects of jazz, look at jazz and its representation of the American democratic experience, and talk about the authentic New Orleans experience. And when I looked around the city to see who I could partner with, there was no institution that was doing the business of jazz or performing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the city that created jazz.”

So Mayfield founded the NOJO with best friend Ronald Markham, its president and CEO. Together, they have made the NOJO the premier jazz institute in New Orleans and, in an institutional sense, created the first business for jazz in the city in which it was born.

It has become a vital cog in the revitalization of New Orleans jazz in the post-Katrina era. In fact, its performance in November 2005 of a newly-commissioned work, “All the Saints,” marked the first jazz performance in New Orleans after the storm and signified the cultural reopening of the city.

A distinguished nine-member Board of Directors sets policies for the NOJO, which also has a professional staff that includes a director of development, director of programming and chief of staff.

Discography

Irvin Mayfield & New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Discography

• “Book One” (Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Harmonia Mundi, 2009)
• “Love Songs, Ballads & Standards” (Irvin Mayfield and Ellis Marsalis, Basin Street Records, 2008)
• “Higher Ground” (Mayfield performs on compilation benefit CD, Blue Note Records,
2005)
* “Strange Fruit” (Irvin Mayfield, The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the Dillard University Choir, Basin Street Records, 2005)
* “Carnival: Volume 5” (Los Hombres Calientes, Basin Street Records, 2005)
* “Volume Four: Vodou Dance” (Los Hombres Calientes, Basin Street Records, 2003)
* “Half Past Autumn Suite” (Irvin Mayfield Quintet, Basin Street Records, 2003)
* “How Passion Falls” (Irvin Mayfield Quintet, Basin Street Records, 2001)
* “Volume Three: New Congo Square” (Los Hombres Calientes, Basin Street Records, 2001)
* “Jaz Sawyer/Irvin Mayfield 20/20: Live at the Blue Note” (Irvin Mayfield and Jaz Sawyer, Half Note, 2000)
* “The Irvin Mayfield Sextet: Live at the Blue Note” (Irvin Mayfield Sextet, Half Note, 1999)
* “Volume Two” (Los Hombres Calientes, Basin Street Records, 1999)
* “Irvin Mayfield: Irvin Mayfield” (Basin Street Records, 1999)
* “Los Hombres Calientes” (Basin Street Records, 1998)