In September 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina, many “Big Easy” musicians are still on the road. Get-togethers are emotional. Hugs in the dressing rooms spill onto the stage, and grow into a full embrace of everyone in the auditorium, with a beat.
This JazzSet is the second of two “Big River” concerts, both organized by pianist Peter Martin. The first took place in December 2005 in St. Louis. The music flowed, and so did the money for flood relief. Ten months later, Peter organized the second Big River Concert at the Chicago Symphony Center, in the beautiful Orchestra Hall that the Chicago Symphony calls home.
The ensemble is made up of eight top New Orleans players. Peter and Ellis Marsalis are at the pianos, Jeremy Davenport and Nicholas Payton on trumpets, Victor Goines on tenor sax, Don Vappie on banjo and guitar, Reginald Veal on bass, and Herlin Riley on drums.
Funds from the sale of the CDs in the lobby at the Chicago Symphony Center go to Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit organization is building a Musicians Village in the Crescent City, and the performance center will bear Ellis Marsalis’ name.