POSTED Wed. Oct 2, 2013
Jazz at the Sandbar begins
Cathy Hughes

Jazz appreciation takes some work.

The study has rich rewards, producing active listeners who hear not just pleasant sounds but improvised artistic expression. But where to begin?

The first jazz record was released less than a century ago, but the experimentation and improvisation that are integral to jazz have produced a broad array of styles that can prove daunting to a new listener.

One great way to get started as a student of jazz is to listen to students of jazz. At the University of New Orleans, the Jazz at the Sandbar series provides a low-cost way to be entertained and exposed to fresh sounds while experiencing the development of technique along with the students.

The fall series of Jazz at the Sandbar begins today, with a guest appearance by UNO professor emeritus and jazz education icon Ellis Marsalis. The performance will take place from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Cove on Founders Road on the UNO Lakefront Campus. General admission is $5 at the door, with proceeds going to the George Brumat Memorial Scholarship Fund. Campus parking enforcement is suspended for the lot near The Cove during the event.

Marsalis established Jazz at the Sandbar in 1990 to provide UNO jazz studies students an opportunity to get real-life experience performing with respected professional musicians in front of a live audience. Concerts are presented on Wednesday nights during the fall and spring semesters and feature a different guest artist each week.

On Wednesday, Marsalis will join jazz studies students Amber Matthews, Jeronne Ansari, Albert Allenback, Glenn Hall, Jordan Baker, Tanarat Chaichana, and Peter Varnado, under the direction of assistant professor Victor Atkins.

Those who follow the New Orleans music scene closely will recognize the names of several of the UNO students, who are already familiar faces on the city’s bandstands. Still, repeat visitors to Jazz at the Sandbar will clearly hear the progression as these fine young musicians expand the depth and breadth of their craft. They can be counted on to give their best performances, because their friends and teachers are in the audience, and their heroes are playing along with them.

The Cove has garage-style walls that are opened to the nicely landscaped courtyard when the weather allows. Food and drink, including beer and wine, are served at a counter that stretches back away from the stage. Seating is ample.

Later this fall, the scheduled guest artists are:

  • Oct. 9, trumpeter Ashlin Parker, a UNO alumnus
  • Oct. 16, saxophonist Dmiry Mospan from Russia
  • Oct. 23, drummer Johnny Vidacovich
  • Oct. 30, UNO professors Steve Masakowski, Ed Petersen and Victor Atkins
  • Nov. 6, Don Vappie, playing guitar and banjo
  • Nov. 13, pianist Jeff Gardner from Brazil
  • Nov. 20, trumpeter Randy Brecker.

Above image: Ellis Marsalis performing with Emily Fredrickson and Tanarat Chaichana from Jazz at the Sandbar, Oct. 3, 2012. Cover image of Johnny Vidacovich.


    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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