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Underground Jazz: “Celebrating Coltrane" at Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola press release - September 24, 2015

All-star group of New Orleans artists pays homage to saxophonist John Coltrane on his birthday

Loyola University New Orleans kicks off the 2015-2016 “Jazz Underground” series “Celebrating Coltrane,” tonight with an all-star group of New Orleans artists. The concert, slated on the artist’s birthday, runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Nunemaker Hall at Loyola, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Admission is $10 at the door, $5 with student ID, Loyola students get in free.

Tenor saxophonist and Loyola University professor Tony Dagradi will again direct an annual tribute to saxophonist, John Coltrane. The evening’s focus will be a wide cross-section of music Coltrane’s many ground breaking recordings. Also performing will be saxophonists, Khari Allen Lee and Derek Douget, pianist, Michael Pellera, Chris Severin on bass and Geoff Clapp on drums.

Dagradi, an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author and educator, is most well known for his work with Astral Project, an adventurous quintet made up of top New Orleans players. For over three decades he has made his home in New Orleans, performing on tenor and soprano sax with many of the Crescent City's most celebrated artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Allen Toussaint, James Booker, The Meters, Dr. John, James Black, Johnny Adams and Gatemouth Brown. His performing past also includes five years as a member of the internationally acclaimed Carla Bley band and appearances with Bobby McFerrin, Mose Allison and Nat Adderley.

Khari Allen Lee Lee teaches at the New Orleans Center for Creative arts and with his beautiful tone and spirit is quickly making a name for himself as soulful modernist. In 2007 he earned his Masters of Music at the University of New Orleans and continues to work in the historic Crescent City as an active, versatile performer and passionate educator. He has performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, the Treme Brass Band, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. He now serves as a member of faculty at Tulane University and the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. ! !

Derek Douget finely mixes his Louisiana upbringing with his strong individualism and idiosyncratic voice. He received a full scholarship to The University of New Orleans where he studied under Ed Petersen and was mentored by Ellis Marsalis and Harold Battiste. After recording his debut CD, “Perpetual Motion,” released in 2002, he made the shift to playing primarily the tenor saxophone. Derek Douget has performed with: Roberts, Peter Martin, Billy Drummond, Branford Marsalis, and many others.

In the last 25 years, Michael Pellera has lived in New Orleans and New York, giving his music a unique perspective that draws freely from the influences of the two cities. As a composer he has created a body of work that encompasses modern jazz harmony, indigenous New Orleans rhythms, and elements of the classic American songbook of the 30’s & 40’s. He has released two critically acclaimed CD’s of his jazz compositions.

Pellera is presently the director of the jazz program at NOCCA. He has performed with Dave Liebman, Bobby McFerrin, Chet Baker, Wynton Marsalis and many others.

Renowned for his amazing technique on the electric and acoustic basses, Chris Severin has appeared with the Neville Brother, Diane Reeves, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Nicholas Payton, Henry Butler and a host of others.

Geoff Clapp has had the honor of performing and teaching as a United States Artistic Diplomat in North Africa and Eastern Europe. He has performed with such musicians as Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison Jr., Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, Eric Reed, Christian McBride, Peter Martin, Charlie Hunter Trio & Quintet, Delfaeyo Marsalis, Robert Glasper, Jamil Sharif, Wessell "Warm Daddy" Anderson, Aaron Goldberg, Jason Marsalis Trio, Jeremy Davenport, Benny Green, Ron Blake and Norah Jones. In 2008, he was voted best Modern Jazz Drummer by New Orleans Magazine.