Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra | Chicago Theatre | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Thu., Nov. 21, 8 p.m. 2013

Trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, a prolific bandleader and a veteran of Los Hombres Calientes, formed the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in 2002 to provide an institutional center of gravity for the city’s bustling jazz scene, and by and large he’s succeeded—the group is now a nonprofit affiliated with the University of New Orleans. Unlike the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra or the moribund Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the NOJO focuses less on classic repertoire and more on music written expressly for it, generally by Mayfield—this lack of historical mission, combined with the melting pot of Crescent City styles that flavor its sound, leaves it without a clear aesthetic. That’s not necessarily a liability: the group earned a Grammy for its diverse and ebullient 2009 debut, Book One (World Village), where it mixes up large-band hard bop, R&B, swing, trad jazz, and lush ballads with the help of several guest singers. Tonight’s concert features New Orleans dynamo and R&B great Allen Toussaint, Chicago favorite Kurt Elling, and, um, an American Idol also-ran from Wheeling named Haley Reinhart. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, especially when the NOJO itself—which includes saxophonist and former Chicagoan Ed Petersen, clarinetist Evan Christopher, and drummer Adonis Rose—is so strong. The group’s lineup will be augmented here by members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. —Peter Margasak

Price: $53.50-$153.50

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