November 30, 2012 - Times Picayune
New Orleans trad-jazz ensemble the Dukes of Dixieland recorded a live performance Friday, Nov. 30, for the PBS film “Celebrating Satchmo,” scheduled to air in 2013. The taping took place between 1-4 p.m. at the Louisiana State Museum’s new, state-of-the-art performance space on the third floor of the Old U.S. Mint, on Esplanade Ave. The Dukes, naturally, performed renditions of tunes Pops made famous, including “Hello Dolly,” “A Kiss To Build A Dream On,” and others.
The current lineup playing under that name dates its own origins back to 1974, when the last of the original leaders passed away. Since then, many players have passed through the band’s ranks.
The 2012 version of the Dukes can be seen most often, these days, during nightly jazz cruises on the Steamboat Natchez. The band’s most recent album is When Country Meets Dixie, released in early 2012, which features four tracks recorded with the Oak Ridge Boys -– including a reimagining of the Oaks’ 1981 #1 country single “Elvira.”
Times Picayune Article
May 18, 2011 - Boston Globe
If one extrapolated theBoston Popsseason to a full year, it might well be just about time for Mardi Gras, the theme of this week’s concerts from the Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart. Mardi Gras normally marksthe last day before the onset of Lent; whereChristians dread the privations of that penitentialseason, adaptations can be found. The concertsampled such international variants, a demonstration that last-chance partying knows no borders.
The home base, notsurprisingly, was New Orleans. Lockhart and the evening’sfeatured guests, the Dukes of Dixieland, led a pre-concert, homage-to-Bourbon-Street parade, pulling up to Symphony Hall in a newly christened duck boat. Following a frisky reading of Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture,’’the concertshifted into gear with the “Mardi Gras’’finale of Ferde Grofé’s “Mississippi Suite,’’ cakewalking strut given production-number polish.
The young pianistCharlieAlbright, already the successful veteran ofseveral competitions, dished out handfuls of impressive, brawny sparkle for New Orleans-born Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “Grande Tarentelle,’’ the 19th-century pianist-composer indulging an Italian accent(Martedí Grasso, perhaps). There was a fullset devoted to the LatinAmerican tradition ofCarnival, arrangementsin the glossy Popsstyle; LuizBonfá’ssultry “Manhã deCarneval’’ and Quincy Jones’s playful “SoulBossa Nova’’ were especially fine performances, lush, luxurioussway oversolid grooves.
It made for a rather refined carouse, more pearlsthan beads, but there were sly referencesto the party’s pre-Lenten desperation.When a sextet ofBostonConservatory musical theaterstudents unleashed proficientrazzmatazz on a food-themed medley, it was a reminder, as Lockhart noted, ofCarnival’s etymologicalroots as a farewell to meat.And the ancestry of Gottschalk’starentella, after all, is a dance to stave off death.
The Dukes of Dixieland played a set touching on both tendencies,full of New Orleansfavorites: “When the Saints Go Marching In,’’ “SouthRampart Street Parade,’’Allen Toussaint’s chinoiserie-garnished “Java,’’made famous byAl Hirt. The orchestral arrangements dressed the stylized nostalgia in its Sunday best, asit were, but there were improvisation-fueled moments— led by pianist Scott Obenschain, Meade “Lux’’Lewis’s “Honky Tonk TrainBlues’’was especially raucous—thatreached for more frantic joy, asthough the clock could be turned back with sheer rhythmic energy. Keith Lockhart led the Dukes of Dixieland and theBoston Pops during last night’s Mardi Gras-themed concert, with music byAllen Toussaint and Meade “Lux’’Lewis. (StuRosner) Such spirited railing against the calendar is at the heart of Mardi Gras.At least traditionally, the next day brings ashes.
By Matthew Guerrieri
May 18, 2011
Boston Globe Article
The DUKES performed at the Third Regional Meeting of Jazz in West Central Aguasclientes on September 4, 2010.
Quote from newspaper: "Listening to the DUKES with your eyes closed, you will imagine you are traveling on a riverboat down in New Orleans"
Central Fla. Community College
The Dukes of DIXIELAND
Lecanto – Sun., Jan. 9
Ocala – Mon., Jan. 10
For three decades, The Dukes of Dixieland have proudly kept alive the tradition of their New Orleans jazz heritage. As the oldest continuing jazz band in New Orleans, The Dukes express the very heart and soul of their home through their music, a distinctive blend of traditional Dixieland, blues, and jazz.
This Grammy-nominated ensemble displays remarkable versatility, performing a variety of tunes that range from mellow and blue to bright and brassy. The Dukes continue to delight audiences with Dixieland favorites such as "Bourbon Street Parade" and rollicking ragtime classics such as "The Entertainer."
The Dukes of Dixieland have toured with numerous headliners and jazz greats, including Ella Fitzgerald and Woody Herman. They have also appeared in two national PBS specials and performed with The New York Pops and The National Symphony.
Let yourself be carried away by this rolling river of music, swept up into the currents of true New Orleans sound!
DUKES OF DIXIELAND AT SOUTHERN VERMONT ARTS
By Christopher A. Faris
"THE DUKES OF DIXIELAND AT SOUTHERN VERMONT ARTS CENTER"
New Orleans, or at least a piece of the soul of that city, which is Dixieland jazz, came to Manchester on Saturday, July 31, when the Dukes of Dixieland rocked the Arkell Pavilion of the Southern Vermont Arts Center here. A perennial favorite at the Arts Center’s Green Mountain Jazz Festival, the Dukes delighted a packed house with their classy renditions of classic songs, keeping young, fresh and vibrant a tradition that dates back nearly to the beginning of the last century.
With no more ado than a brief drum intro, they launched into a rousing instrumental chorus on “Bourbon Street Parade,” followed by a couple verses of vocal trio by the horn players, and then a scintillating clarinet solo by Earl Bonie. Trumpeter Mike Fulton and trombonist Ben Smith then joined Bonie for a few choruses of joyful collective improvisation, and by the end of the tune, everyone in the hall was twenty years younger.
There followed a set of equally great performances of great songs by great composers of days which, as long as these men are on the job, will never have gone by. Fats Waller’s “Latch On,” arranged for the group by their young, virtuoso pianist, Scott Obenschain, had an intriguing, somewhat spooky, “mysterioso” feel, heightened by trumpet and trombone solos using plunger mutes. “Petit Fleur” by Sydney Bechet highlighted Bonie’s brilliant clarinet again, pianist Obenschain was featured on his own composition, “Back Door Stomp,” and then trumpeter Fulton shone on “I’m Confessin’.”
Not to be outdone, Ben Smith demonstrated his skills on both trombone and vocals in a sprightly, spirited performance of King Oliver’s “Hello Central, Give Me Doctor Jazz,” and then the entire band really got the joint jumping with more impressively precise ensemble arrangements and fantastically free collective improvisation on “Bogaloosa Strut.” This latter also included a delicious, melodic solo by bassist Everett Link, whose tasty and tasteful use of fast runs, harmonics, and sensual, growling bent notes demonstrated him to be no mere accompanist.
To the audience’s delight, pianist Obenschain’s talents were next showcased again on “Black Bottom Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton, and the band closed the set with “High Society,” composed of various traditional French marches and quadrilles. Drummer Richard Taylor, the backbone, emcee, and senior member of the band, soloed beautifully on this number, hopefully giving any young drummers who might have been listening a lesson in how much music one can get out of only a snare drum!
After a short intermission, during which the band members mingled and chatted casually and amiably with the audience outside, they retook the stage and performed a set of audience requests that each of the musicians had received during the break. “That’s a Plenty” featured everyone, singly and together, Ben Smith got once again to display his mastery of the plunger mute technique on “Wabash Blues,” and Mike Fulton shot high, clear notes into the stratosphere on “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue.”
Earl Bonie next wowed the crowd once again with his fantastic facility and lovely, clear clarinet tone on “Yellow Dog Blues,” a train song by W.C. Handy, which was also embellished by a boogie-style piano solo by Obenschain and another, this time almost gutbucket bass solo by Link.
The torch was passed again to trombonist Smith for a tour de force rendition of Kid Ory’s “Muskrat Ramble,” then back to clarinetist Bonie for a sweet, soul-stirring, sensitive treatment of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Apparently not content with mere torchlight, pianist Obenschain then fanned it into a bonfire on a Mead Lux Lewis tune called “Train Blues,” what had the entire audience clapping their hands and stomping their feet to the driving rhythm he laid down with the support of the rest of the band.
Rounding out a truly inspired and inspiring evening, drummer Taylor and bassist Link gave each other a workout, challenging and goading one another to higher and higher flights of technical brilliance, tempered by a good-natured, earthy humor and wit, on the classic “Big Noise from Winnetka,” and then the entire band closed out the show with the anthem of Dixieland jazz, “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
The Dukes work every night, when not on the road, playing for a dinner cruise on a steamboat that leaves from Toulouse St. in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and anyone who ever visits the Big Easy would be doing themselves a disservice not to go catch these fine musicians and stalwart guardians of a magnificent musical tradition in their own milieu.
Failing that, be sure not to miss them when they return, as they are virtually sure to do, to the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester next summer.