Our Performers

 Julie Jules presents the Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band at the Xerox Rochester Jazz Festival, June 2013.

Julie Jules presents the Louis Armstrong Society Jazz Band at the Xerox Rochester Jazz Festival, June 2013.

"Louis Armstrong is the master of the jazz solo. He became the beacon, the light in the tower, that helped the rest of us navigate the tricky waters of jazz improvisation."  -Ellis Marsalis

Dwayne Burns, Trumpet

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  ….plays with a spirited blend of traditional New Orleans jazz and is often found at the Mason Bourbon Jazz club in the French Quarter. A native New Orleanian who prides himself on blowing the horn in the style of Louis, Dwayne has toured Europe with Freddie Lonzo, Evan Christopher and JMO.

 

 

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Mark Braud, Trumpet

…has been described by his peers and predecessors as one of New Orleans most versatile young trumpeters. Born in New Orleans, Mark is inspired by his grandfather, the legendary trumpeter John “Picket” Bruinous, Sr. It’s only natural for Mark to have a passion for music and to pursue a career as a jazz trumpeter.Mark attended the University of New Orleans where he majored in jazz performance under the guidance of Ellis Marsalis, Jr.

 

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Mervin “Kid Merv” Campbell, Trumpet

….was founding member of the Young Olympians Brass band which plays traditional music at jazz funerals and concerts by day and jazz/funk music by night with regular performances at Cafe’ Brazil.Campbell joined Danny Barker’s Fairview Baptist Church band at the age of 12 and recalls, “Danny saying, ‘If you want to emulate someone, let it be Louis Armstrong.’  And he said, ‘Always wear a smile; maybe joke around, show some life in you; nobody wants to pay money to see someone dead on on stage. But most of all, be beautiful on that horn”.  Those words from Danny Barker, who played for many years with Louis Armstrong, have been a guiding light in Mervin’s career.

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Leo Ursini, Sax & Clarinet 

…has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis, James Brown, Donna Summer, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Jack Jones, Rich Little, Vic Damone, Diahann Carroll, Tom Jones, The Supremes, Johnny Mathis and many others. His film credits include “When Harry Met Sally” with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, “Working Girl” with Harrison Ford and Sigorny Weaver, and “Bullets Over Broadway” directed by Woody Allen.

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Louis Ford, Sax & Clarinet

…considered an integral part of the second New Orleans revival, Louis is a second-generation musician. His father, Clarence Ford, was a phenomenal musician whose career span three decades and performed with many great entertainers such as Fats Domino. Louis yields from an impressive legacy of musicians that can be traced back to the Storyville days. Like his father, Louis is an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist and truly dedicated to the preservation of jazz.

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Roderick Paulin, Sax & Clarinet 

 …the son of the New Orleans Jazz Legend “Doc Paulin” learned about performing traditional New Orleans music when he joined the Doc Paulin Brass band at the age of nine years old. Paulin was drawn to music that would challenge him to perform, compose and arrange music gets the crowd up off their feet. He attended Southern University in New Orleans studying under Edward “Kidd” Jordan. With his unique style, Paulin was sought out to play and arrange for the likes of Davell Crawford, Russell Batitste, Maceo Parker, The O’Jays, Wanda Rouzan, and India Davenport. Paulin also recently toured Europe with the ReBirth Brass Band.

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William Smith, Trumpet

…was introduced at an early age to New Orleans jazz by his older sister, long time Jazz Fest staff member, Dodie Smith-Simmons and brother in law, trumpeter, John “Kidd” Simmons who would take him nightly to Preservation hall, where Dodie was also employed.  Inspired by the likes of Percy Humphery, Ernie Cagnoletti, Kit Thomas Valentine DeDe Pierce and others, He developed a love for the trumpet. In 1975, William joined the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band, founded by legendary jazzman and author, Danny barker.  This band has made yearly appearances at the Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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Ronell Williams, Trombone

…born and raised in New Orleans, Will developed his love for the music as a young child. Crafting his style after the great trombonist Kid Ory, he was taught to perform all types of traditional New Orleans jazz including small ensembles, duos, and of course the famous ‘brass bands” of the crescent city. Ronell has recently completed his General Studies degree at Southern University in New Orleans.  Over the years, he has served as music minister for the Christian Faith Ministries, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and the Greater Zion Field Baptist Church. He is also accomplished organist, pianist, saxophonist, and drummer. As Ronell is known to say, “you’ve got to prepared to do it all!”

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Al Barthlow, Trombone

…born in western Kentucky more than 70 years ago, Al was educated in Evansville, Indiana. While in high School, he was introduced to jazz, and left college to go on the road with Art Kassel’s “Castles In The Air” Orchestra, later joining Clyde McCoy’s “Sugar Blues Orchestra” and has appeared with the orchestras of Billy Vaughn, Jan Garber, and Les Elgart.Moving to New Orleans in 1979 provided the opportunity to work with Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, The Dukes of Dixieland and Connie Jones’ “Crescent City Jazz Band”. Venues have ranged from local saloons and riverboats to The Smithsonian Institute and Carnegie Hall.  Al has performed through all the Americas, Asia and Europe.

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Fred Lonzo, Trombone

…is one of the most highly regarded practitioners of "tailgate" style traditional jazz trombone. His style is distinctly his own, but such influences as Kid Ory and Frog Joseph can be heard. He has played with such brass bands as Doc Paulin's, the Imperial, Olympia, and Young Tuxedo. Lonzo has played and recorded with such notables as Alvin Alcorn, Doc Cheatham, Evan Christopher, Lars Edegran, Bob French, Wynton Marsalis, Teddy Riley, Dr. Michael White, Wendell Brunious and Sammy Rimington.In New Orleans, he regularly plays at such venues as Donna's, the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, and Preservation Hall. He plays trombone, flugelbone, euphonium, tuba and has been known to belt out a tune or two vocally, all in good fun!

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Jimmy Maxwell, Pianist

 ….is a native New Orleanian who grew up with the music, musicians and traditions of the city. Accompanying his musician father, Edward Maxwell, to parties, concerts and Mardi Gras functions, he experienced the music and feelings that make New Orleans special. Dubbed the “King of Mardi Gras Swing!” Maxwell’s orchestra is the music of choice for the most prestigious Mardi Gras balls for over two decades.  He has received rave reviews across America and Europe, even entertaining Britain’s Royal Family. A second cousin to Al Hirt, he has acted as musical conductor for Harry Connick, Sr., Charmaine Neville and The Drifters.

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Ed Maxwell, Drums 

 …started playing drums in High School and has been playing professionally now for over 50 years.  He has performed for numerous carnival organizations in New Orleans as well as Presidents Carter, Bush, and Ronald Regan.  He has toured Europe, South America and of course, throughout the United Sates.

 

 

 

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Gerald French - “The Giant”, Drums

started playing drums at the age of five. He is the son of one of the most famous families in New Orleans music, George French.  Fot the past three years he has been the drummer for the famous Charmaine Neville, the “Darlin’ of New Orleans”.Mr. French has traveled and performed with New Orleans jazz masters such as Harry Connick, Jr, Dr. John, Leroy Jones and Dr. Michael White.  He has also appeared on several recordings, movies and television shows such as “Leroy Jones: Props for Pops”, “Undercover Blues with Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid” and  with Charmiane Neville and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  For the past eleven years he has traveled to Japan each August with “The New Orleans Allstars”.

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Mark Brooks, Bass

…is one of New Orleans ‘ most talented, versatile, and sought-after bassist. Books attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, where he pursued a music degree together with his close friend, Branford Marsalis. Brooks, who has worked with Dr. John, the Neville Brothers, and Henry Butler, is know for his diversity of styles: Rhythm & Blues, Contemporary and Traditional jazz, Blues, and Gospel. He has numerous recording and television credits but a musical highlight was appearing in the film and on the sound track of Clint Eastwood’s Bridges of Madison County.

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Charmaine Neville, Vocalist

Were Charmaine Neville a baseball player, "triple threat" would be the phrase most bandied about. In this instance, multi-talented is an understatement. This brilliant singer, dancer, actress and comedienne is as sure to blaze a path to glory in the world of  entertainment as the immortal Babe Ruth was to do in baseball.From her cameo appearance in Taylor Hackford's Warner Brothers motion picture Everybody's All- American to Time Magazine's accolade as "best pair of lungs in New Orleans," to the PBS Lonesome Pine Special which featured her for the show's entire one hour duration, to a splashy photo layout in Vogue, to appearances in TV commercials ranging from Levi's 501 jeans to the crusty old New Orleans Times-Picayune, Charmaine is running all of the media bases.

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Thais Clark, Vocalist

Vernel Bagneris said he created and cast "One Mo Time" with singers and dancers he knew from the city, including Thais Clark, with whom he loved to dance at clubs around town; Thais, who was working a jewelry store on Royal Street was approached by Mr. Bagneris and … "I said to her, "didn't you say you sing?' " The rest as they say, was history!

 

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Julie Jules, Vocalist

…was born to a musical family in New Orleans and started her singing career doing Broadway style revues in The Big Easy.  She  graduated from Loyola Music School in New Orleans (1979) earning her Masters Degree in music theory and composition. During the 1980’s Julie performed and recorded with the Dukes of Dixieland and has shared the stage with such notable entertainers as Henry Questa, Jack Immel, Big Tiny Little and Dick Dale from the Lawrence Welk Show as well as Tommy Newsome (The Tonight Show Orchestra) and New Orleans own Sam Butera.