This is the fourth in a series spotlighting some of the best places to hear live music around the city.
The place: The Sandbar
Location: University of New Orleans
Crowd: UNO professors, hip students, jazz junkies
Ambiance: Laid back, appreciative
The University of New Orleans’ jazz program has been a breeding ground for some of the best players in the city for the past 25 years, thanks to the direction of Ellis Marsalis, the program’s patriarch. The celebrated Jazz at the Sandbar series pairs students with seasoned jazz players for shows that are exhilarating for both the students and the crowd. This series has a lot to do with the enormous talent coming out of the college by giving students the opportunity to cut their teeth playing with highly accomplished musicians in front of a live crowd. Admission to these gigs is a steal (only $5 for the general public, free for UNO faculty and students) and the supportive atmosphere of the room clearly makes a big impact on the young musicians onstage.
Each show features two different bands of students playing original and classic tunes with a veteran musician sitting in. Ellis Marsalis kicks off every fall season, and the special guests at each show are well worth the price of admission. This past week the students got the chance to trade licks with Jason Mingledorff, the local sax man best known for his work with Papa Grows Funk and whose music career in New Orleans began in UNO’s jazz program. In addition to working on their chops, the students get a chance to learn the ropes of putting on a good live show through these gigs. These shows give the students a chance to work on the skills that can’t be taught in any class, from stage banter to feeding off the crowd’s energy.
The series continues every Wednesday this fall until November 19. Check the series’ site for the schedule and see below for some of our top picks.