shannon powell (on drums)

Shannon Powell

*New Orleans – Food, arts and crafts and New Orleans music and dance were all part of the festivities that people enjoyed on Thursday, April 25th. People United for Armstrong Park, presented “Jazz in the Park” and Marketplace in Louis Armstrong Park,801 N. Rampart Street.

This fun and popular cultural event featured musical performances and dances of New Skool Brass Band along with Undefeated Divas and Gents Secondline Dancers, Shannon Powell’s All Star Band and Glen David Andrews.

Jazz in the Park began in Spring 2012,this is the third season of the family friendly cultural celebration. Organizers are hoping to expand the series to include movies in the park,and extend the series for twenty six weeks between French Quarter Festival and Halloween. Jazz in the Park continue to grow in size and is gaining a loyal following of locals as well as visitors in town for business or leisure.

The program got under way with the New Skool Brass Band with an eclectic mix of music that had people dancing throughout the park.I arrived at the park just in time to catch the New Skool Brass Band parade around the Park along with the Undefeated Divas and Gents Secondline Dancers in their matching vibrant outfits.

glen david andrews & aunt

Debra Anne Jewel (Glen’s aunt), Glen David Andrews

Shannon Powell “The Heartbeat of Treme” and his All Star band consist of talented, in-demand musicians featuring David Torkanowsky-keyboards, Roland Guerin-bass, Roger Porter-sax and Shannon Powell keeping the beat on drums. The band opened their lively set with “Grazin’ in the Grass” featuring Shannon on the cowbell. This was a fitting tune for the occasion as people were “Relaxin’ in the Grass” for the concert. Their set continued with the tunes “You are my Sunshine” in a funk mode coupled with some straight-ahead jazz grooves.”Isn’t She Lovely,” “Mardi Gras” by Professor Longhair, “Li’l Liza Jane,” “Do What You Wanna” and closed their set with a trip to the Caribbean on “St. Thomas.”

Glen David Andrews performed a high octane set,with his high octane band for an energetic, engaged crowd for a rousing finale. Archie Sampier served as Master of Ceremonies. The New Skool Brass Band led the crowd in a secondline from Louis Armstrong Park to Candlelight Lounge-925 N. Robertson Street for the after party.

If you or someone you know is planning on visiting New Orleans within the next couple of weeks, please inform them to check out www.pufap.org for more information about People United for Armstrong Park “Jazz in the Park” concert series and Marketplace. This is one of many highlights during my visits to New Orleans in the Spring.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]