Leroy Jones, Wendell Brunious and Jamil Sharif are steeped in the tradition of New Orleans music and are part of the legacy of trumpet that extends back to Buddy Bolden, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong. But that is not the extent of their talent. For all three are experience in and can reference the entire history of the trumpet in jazz.
Born in New Orleans, Wendell Brunious is a member of a prominent local musical family. His father, John Brunious, played trumpet and piano, and arranged for Billy Eckstein and Cab Calloway, among others. Wendell´s uncle, Willie Santiago, was one of the first guitar players recorded, and at one time worked with the legendary Buddy Bolden. Brunious grew up in New Orleans playing trumpet and singing, and did his first recording when he was only 9 years old. Since then, he has performed with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (a stint that lasted more than 23 years), the Olympia Brass Band, the Tuxedo Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band; Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Bob Haggard, Harry Connick, Jr.
Los Angeles Times: Speaking about the traditions in New Orleans, Brunious says the coming together of the generations is the way the music has always been perpetuated.
"You learn the music from older people, you know? You've got to respect those years. That's basically the way the whole New Orleans music flow has gone through history. There's been a passing of the torch."
The musical heritage of New Orleans is a family affair, he asserts. "My dad was a trumpet player, my mother was from a musical family. New Orleans has a thing of its own, man, it really does. You have to come out of the culture, the New Orleans flow of life, to do that thing. People like me, Bob French, Michael White--we came from the real New Orleans families. People from those families three and four generations back were playing that music in society bands before Louis Armstrong was born.
"Now there are young people behind me coming up playing this music. And that's great. That's what preservation is all about.”
The legendary jazz trumpeter Leroy Jones is known to music lovers as the "keeper of the flame" for traditional New Orleans jazz and to critics as one of the top musicians ever produced by the Crescent City. One of Jones’ missions in life is to expose audiences everywhere to the authentic music of New Orleans, the music of Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Danny Barker and all the other greats who have helped create the rich gumbo that is the sound of New Orleans," he says, "while putting our own more modern stamp on it.
Jones himself, a native of New Orleans, whose playing has been described as a blend of Louis Armstrong and bebop virtuoso Clifford Brown, has been a critical figure in the history of New Orleans music. A regular at Preservation Hall in New Orleans and a featured performer in the Harry Connick Orchestra, where his playing and singing have made him a crowd favorite, Leroy has performed on every continent and in every major U.S. city at prestigious theaters, festivals and jazz clubs like the Village Vanguard in New York City.
Performing “sums up all those great experiences and influences," says Leroy, "and gives me a chance each night to make sure that the great music of New Orleans is performed authentically and with great respect for the artists who came before me. Not in an old-fashioned way, but with a modern swing that comes from my love of bebop and other forms of modern jazz.”
A typical set list for Jones includes traditional numbers like "Bourbon Street Parade," "Sleepy Time Down South," "Basin Street Blues," "Do You Know What it Means (to Miss New Orleans)," "Dinah" and "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" along with his own compositions like "Soft Shoe" that are played and sung impeccably by Jones with the kind of swing that only a musician with his pedigree can deliver consistently night after night.
Jamil Sharif began playing at the age of 14 under the tutelage of his Father, the late world renowned trumpeter Emery Humphrey Thompson (Umar Sharif). He also studied with George Jansen of the New Orleans Symphony and later with Ellis Marsalis at NOCCA and Alvin Batiste, Roger Dickerson and Edward “Kidd” Jordan at Southern University.
He has been a featured soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and has numerous credits as musical director for movies and other musical productions including “Reading Rainbow”, “Aaron Neville’s Christmas Special”, “Salty Dog”, “Hard Target”, “Undercover Blues”, “The Big Easy”, “Sonny”, and the award winning “Ray”.
Jamil has travelled extensively to various countries such as Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, England, Scotland, Finland, and France, entertainig a variety of audiences He’s performed at the Newport Rhythm and Blues Festival, Essence Music Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, Stockholm Jazz and Blues Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Wynton Marsalis.
The rhythm section for this eveing will include Meghan Swartz on piano, Jason Stewart on bass and Barnaby Gold on drums.