Nola Diary #7 – A NoLa Secret – Old U.S. Mint free Jazz concerts

Would you like to know about a well kept secret spot on the edge of the French Quarter? Well, I found one: the Old U.S. Mint building near the French Quarter Flea Market is holding regular jazz concerts for free in their new beautiful state of the art performance space on the 3rd floor.

This building’s upkeep is sponsored by the state of Louisiana in conjunction with the National Park Service. Yes, you read that right – the building is a part of our national treasures in the U.S. National Park system. The park is called the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, and it might just be the only national park in the country dedicated to a uniquely American musical art form – and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have stumbled upon it.

Today I saw a one hour jazz piano presentation along with a ragtime and jazz history talk by Steve Pistorius which was a lot of fun. They have other concerts planned with Jim Hession, Phillip Manuel and the park rangers themselves who also play jazz. You can pick up a schedule of performances either at the U.S. Mint building, or at the Jean Lafitte National Park location at 419 Decatur Street.

 

Steve Pistorious tells us about Ragtime beside the new Baby Grand piano in the beautiful perfomance space on the 3rd floor

 

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4 Responses

  1. A national park dedicated to music – I love that!

    • I know, right? It’s amazing to me too.

      But Jazz is an American invention, born from African slave rhythms mixed with Ragtime melodies and Latin American influences too… it’s great to know there’s a place that is preserving this history.

  2. all these names are unknown to me. However it is soimportant for New Orleans to keep the jazz alive as it is for the Vienna or Berlin Opera to keep the Opera and Symphony alive in their cities. N.O. without jazz would be a totally souless and colorless city even if he had a million museums and art galleries.

    • The presentations I attended at the Old U.S. Mint building were focused on the development of jazz in its infancy. The emphasis in both cases was the transition from ragtime to the more improvisational styles of jazz. I really enjoyed hearing tunes by Jelly Roll Morton, Eubie Blake and others. Both of the piano players were quite good, and I also liked that both presentations were during the day – since you usually have to go out at night to hear live music.

      I think there is no danger of New Orleans losing its musical history. There is now a National Park devoted to jazz in the French Quarter and plenty of live music spots all over the Quarter and Frenchman Street.

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