NICKEL A DANCE is a free series of Sunday afternoon jazz concerts each spring and fall, that is a hit with children, families, seniors, and the general dancing public that don’t tend to go to night clubs. It attracts a diverse group of fans that meet on Frenchmen Street to celebrate jazz as America’s original dance music while listening to the best of today’s classic jazz bands.
The New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra is an American revival orchestra, that performs authentic orchestrations of vintage American popular music from the 1890s through the early 1930s. The orchestra plays particular attention to the music of New Orleans, Louisiana, where it is based. In addition to the well known compositions of jazz and ragtime composers like Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, and Eubie Blake, the orchestra’s repertory includes the work of less well remembered New Orleans Tin Pan Alley composers such as Larry Buck, Joe Verges, Paul Sarebresole and Nick Clesi.
The New Leviathan on the Economy Hall Stage, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Taking its name from the SS Leviathan, a transatlantic ocean liner with a well regarded dance band at the start of the 1920s, the orchestra was founded in 1972. Their first performance was at Tulane University, presenting a rather tongue-in-cheek concert of “best loved Oriental Foxtrots” (a then largely forgotten early 20th century dance music genre), partially satirizing the then current revival of scholarly interest in classic ragtime.
The orchestra has appeared in Europe and throughout the United States. Recordings were featured in the soundtracks of Woody Allen’s 1994 film Bullets over Broadway and Storyville (1992), directed by Mark Frost. New Leviathan performs frequently, and makes a fondly anticipated yearly appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The exact personnel of the orchestra varies, but it frequently features 18 or more pieces. In 2007, the musical director is Greg Merritt, associate music director is Larry Jones and managing director is John Craft.