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.
Shannon Powell dazzles audiences with his natural showmanship and fever for the jazz flame. The New Orleans native grew up in the jazz threshold neighborhood of Treme, which percolates with the sounds of Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs, second line parades, Jazz funerals and church revivals. By the age of fourteen Powell was already a professional musician, playing gigs such as Jazz Fest as a member of the legendary Danny Barker’s Jazzhounds. Powell’s influences sprung from listening to his childhood neighbour, drummer James Black as well as pianist Ellis Marsalis and the players at Preservation Hall. “Everything I learned was being around the great musicians of New Orleans. Danny Barker was first and then I fell into the hands of David Lastie who is Herlin Riley’s uncle. They kind of raised me as a young musician and I started calling them my family” states Powell. If drumming is the essential beat of New Orleans, then Shannon Powell is a leader of the pack at the fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B.