The Dukes of Dixieland will take audience members on a “trip” to the French Quarter as part of the Southeast Missouri State University 2018-2019 Bank of Missouri Touring Series at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus.
The Dukes of Dixieland are the oldest continuing jazz band in New Orleans, expressing the soul and heritage of the “Big Easy” with a distinctive blend of traditional Dixieland, blues and jazz. They play New Orleans music from Dr. John and Fats Domino, to Huey Smith and Louis Prima, and many of their own original tunes. With a repertoire of roughly 400 tunes, there is room for all of the above. The Dukes of Dixieland are still the pre-eminent New Orleans band as well as New Orleans ambassadors.
“This magical, musical group is a fantastic addition to this year’s Touring Series,” said Bob Cerchio, assistant director of Southeast’s Earl and Margie Holland College of Arts and Media. “They are ‘the it’ jazz band of New Orleans that will have audiences swinging, swaying and stomping to great music all night long.”
In 1974, producer John Shoup formed the Dukes of Dixieland and opened their jazz club atop the Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter, calling it “Duke’s Place” with the blessing of its previous owner, Louis Prima. Playing four sets a night, often stretching till dawn, “Duke’s Place” also became the home base for a number of jazz sessions produced by Shoup for PBS, including the early Marsalis family, Stephane Grappelli, Les McCann and Toots Thielemans.
The Dukes started accepting 30 dates a year with orchestras, festivals and performing arts centers in the United States and overseas, never straying long, before returning home first to Duke’s Place until 1986, then a new home on Bourbon Street called Mahogany Hall, and in 1992 to the Steamboat Natchez, where they have remained ever since.
The Dukes still perform only 30 concerts a year with eight different themes, including “Mardi Gras,” “Blues on the Bayou,” “Symphonic Jazz,” “Voodoo Revue,” “Celebrating Satchmo,” “New Orleans Jazz Legends” and “Back to Bourbon Street.” They also continue to work the dinner cruise circuit for 45 weeks a year, seven nights a week.
The Dukes have recorded 31 albums and produced three PBS television shows, including “New Orleans Pops,” “Salute to Jelly Roll Morton” and “Celebrating Satchmo.” They also stream one show a week on the Internet.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampus.org.
** The Dukes of Dixieland replace the previously scheduled “Turn It Up! The New Sound of New Orleans” **