NEW ORLEANS – Traditionally, this upcoming weekend would close out what should have been the final weekend of the 51st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Yet, for the second consecutive year, festival-goers are “festing in place” in their festival wear, streaming WWOZ’s weekend-long playlist and trying to recreate favorite Jazz Fest foods.
However, all is not lost! The Sheraton New Orleans — a long-time Jazz Fest headquarters hotel — will bring a new live jazz series to the famous Rodrigue Gallery on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 – 11 p.m. Kicking off this weekend, April 30 – May 1, Jazz @ the Blue Dog is a welcome addition to the downtown live music scene after a year of silenced venues and cancelled shows.
In celebration of International Jazz Day this Friday, Mark Morganelli & The Jazz Forum All Stars will kick off the weekly music program by bringing Rio to the Big Easy with samba, bossa nova and other Latin music. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Mark Morganelli, the band leader since the mid-80s, has recorded with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, James Moody, Clark Terry and Bucky Pizzarelli. Jazz great David Sanborn describes Morganelli’s tribute to Brazil as “both lyrical and joyful, and brings a smile to your face.” Additional band members include Eddie Monteiro, Nanny Assis and Daniel Assis. The music continues May 7 – 8 with the Grammy-nominated DUKES of Dixieland.
Even though the audience must remain seated — no samba or carimbo dancing — and socially distanced, the unique venue still provides jazz lovers with an enjoyable evening of music, drinks and art. Rodrigue Gallery, which was previously used as a meeting space, features a number of the late Louisiana artist George Rodrigue’s famous Blue Dog prints. A full bar is also available in the club.
Transforming a meeting space into a jazz club is one of several ways the Sheraton New Orleans has pivoted to adjust to post-pandemic business demands. Hotel management also recently re-purposed a number of guestrooms into office workspaces for day use and short-term leases.
Music continues from 8 – 11 p.m., and doors open at 7 p.m. Musical acts and admission prices vary from week to week. Admission for shows this weekend is $20 and includes complimentary valet parking at the hotel for one car for up to four hours.
For more information about Jazz @ the Blue Dog, visit http://deals.marriott.com/sheraton/usa/la/new-orleans/jazzatthebluedog. For more information about the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel or to make a reservation, visit https:// www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/msyis-sheraton-new-orleans-hotel/.