The entire city of New Orleans becomes one big party during Mardi Gras, but Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra (UJO) know that there’s no place to be quite like Uptown on Mardi Gras Day. In this concert, featuring songs from their latest album, released in February 2023, the UJO provides the ultimate soundtrack for Carnival Time in the Crescent City with a spirited collection of Mardi Gras classics and buoyant new originals. A celebration like no other, this performance is a unique combination of big band swing feel, small group jazz spirit and brass band funkiness that would feel equally buoyant on the parade route or in the concert hall.
In addition to the close-knit ensemble of gifted New Orleans musicians that makes up the UJO, Uptown on Mardi Gras Day features guest appearances by Branford Marsalis on saxophone, drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and vocalists Glen-David Andrews, Dr. Brice Miller and Tonya Boyd-Cannon. All of the arrangements for the session were crafted by both Marsalis and UJO trumpeter Andrew Baham.
“We play with the feeling of an R&B group but add the rich harmonies and textures that you can only get from a larger band. It’s the only collection of modern big band versions of Mardi Gras music to date, so we want folks to feel like they’re in the streets with us catching beads and doubloons,” says Marsalis. “It is a celebration of the greatness of New Orleans music and culture.”