Acclaimed jazz percussionist and former Loyola student Brian Blade will perform in two concerts Saturday, March 9 as part of the 44th Annual Jazz Festival at Loyola University New Orleans. Held in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall located in the Communications/Music Complex, the two-day festival is presented by Loyola's Jazz Studies Program. In addition to Saturday's concerts, the festival also includes a free performance by the Loyola Faculty Jazz Septet Friday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m. in Roussel Hall.
Saturday's festival kicks off with a concert at 4:30 p.m. debuting new, big band arrangements of Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band's music with a Loyola twist. The concert brings together the full cast of the Fellowship, the Loyola Jazz Band and pianist and fellow Loyola alumnus Jon Cowherd '90. The new arrangements are a special collaboration with Blade, Cowherd, Loyola's Coordinator of Jazz Studies John Mahoney and Loyola student Wayne Mitchell. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, faculty and staff.
At 7:30 p.m., Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band will take to the stage for a free concert, but a ticket is required to attend. To purchase or reserve tickets, visit montage.loyno.edu or call 504-865-2074. Free parking is available in the West Road Garage, accessible from St. Charles Avenue.
A native of Shreveport, La., Blade is a multi-talented young veteran of the jazz world who is widely respected in for his work with The Fellowship Band. While attending Loyola, he befriended fellow student Cowherd, and in 1998 they began recording with The Fellowship Band, featuring band members Chris Thomas, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Together, they have released three albums: "Fellowship," "Perceptual" and "Season of Changes."
Blade has also drummed for many other acclaimed musicians, including Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Seal and Bill Frisell. Since 2000, he has been a member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet with Danilo Perez and John Patitucci.
Free masterclasses will also be held on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 at 12:30 p.m. in the Communications/Music Complex. The concert and masterclasses are open to the public and are made possible through support from the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
The Loyola Jazz Festival is open to large or small instrumental jazz groups from the elementary through junior college level. More information is available online, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 22.