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Uptown Jazz Orchestra hosts Jazz at Congo Square, an Inaugural Celebration of Music & Culture

NEW ORLEANS – On Aug. 8, from 1-7 p.m. at Congo Square, Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra will host the Inaugural Jazz at Congo Square, a FREE celebration of New Orleans music, culture and traditions at Congo Square in Armstrong Park. The festival will feature a variety of artists who have contributed tremendously to our city’s local scene and the international music community at large. Jazz at Congo Square was created to promote and maintain the significance of Congo Square, while highlighting why the space is and should remain a historical landmark in New Orleans. The festival will also feature local art and merchandise vendors, food from local restaurants, chefs and purveyors, and will offer space to nonprofit organizations who share a similar mission of preserving New Orleans.

This year’s Jazz at Congo Square festivities will kick-off with a VIP Patron Party at Gallier Hall on Friday, Aug. 6, with a private and exclusive performance by Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra at the Ty Tracy Theater inside Gallier Hall. VIP guests can bid on the original artwork created for the official festival poster and other items. The Sunday festival lineup will begin at 1:00 PM with a call to the ancestors led by the Congo Square Preservation Society Drum Circle and master percussionist Luther Gray, and feature poetry by acclaimed activist Sunni Patterson, and music by the Vegas Cola Band, Kyle Roussel, Mykia Jovan, Tonya Boyd Cannon (from the hit TV show The Voice), Stooges Brass Band, and a performance by Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra featuring music from their Best of the Beat award-winning cd Jazz Party. The festival will open with a call to the ancestors led by the Congo Square Society Drum Circle and culminate with a jam session and second-line parade led by Stooges Brass Band. Learn more about the artists and the festival lineup at wefundraisenow.org/congolineup2021.

“In this past year and a half, musicians around the world have faced and conquered what seemed like insurmountable circumstances,” says founder Delfeayo Marsalis. “Now, we’re looking to the future, which means celebrating the past, embracing the present and focusing on building sustainable futures for New Orleans culture bearers. As we grow the festival and create new touch-points, we expect to create a movement that both honors Congo Square and supports the New Orleans talent pool.”

Proceeds from Jazz at Congo Square will benefit two other community-based organizations founded by Marsalis: the Uptown Music Theatre—an award-winning organization that empowers youth through musical theatre training; and Keep NOLA Music Alive (KNOMA)—founded in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic for the purpose of providing emergency relief to native New Orleans culture bearers.

UJO was formed in 2008 by trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis for the primary purpose of maintaining and creating jazz traditions such as blues expression, riff playing, spontaneous arrangements, and New Orleans polyphony (brass band 2nd line style). Specializing in the music of Basie, Ellington, the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth Brass Band, UJO has released two award-winning cd’s to critical acclaim. During the pandemic, they expanded their reach by presenting first-class livestreams and witty video shorts that showcased the band’s tributes to Jazz Fest, Christmas, Mardi Gras. UJO consists of New Orleans’ most celebrated musicians including Roger Lewis, Herlin Riley, Roderick Paulin, Andrew Baham and Dr. Brice Miller. Their repertoire ranges from the controversial Make America Great Again! to the laid-back easy-going Jazz Party.

Come enjoy the cool Jazz sounds of Uptown Jazz Orchestra and various New Orleans artists while supporting music education for Greater New Orleans kids and native New Orleans Musicians!

Vendor opportunities are available for local creators, artists, restaurants and retail stores, with 10×10 and 10×20 spaces available. Visit www.wefundraisenow.org/congovendors to inquire about vendor opportunities, or to sign up. To learn more about Jazz at the Market or how to become a vendor, visit wefundraisenow.org/congojazz.

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