Jazz. Lindy Hop. Leadership.
Wes Anderson and Sweet Gumbo
Grammy Award Winning Wes Anderson is New Orleans Trombonist and Sousaphonist that has been influenced and performed with many of the city's greats such as Allen Toussaint, Kermit Ruffins, and Magnetic Ear. Along with the band, Sweet Gumbo, Wes brings pure joy with the jumping sounds of traditional New Orleans music.
Ryan Hitchin is an award winning swing dancer and band leader. Born and Raised by the Los Angeles swing dance community. Ryan started dancing at the age of 13. In 2007, Ryan swept the competition circuit winning first place titles from the International Lindy Hop Championships in the Jack and Jill, the US Open Team division, and the American Lindy Hop Championships team division. He was also featured in the LeAnn Rimes music video "Swingin". Learning trumpet in New Orleans, Ryan and his Band 'The Jelly Roll Stompers' have be preforming at and have had residences at prestige New Orleans music Clubs such as the Spotted Cat Music Club, 21st Amendment, May Bailey's, Maison Dupuy hotel, and Bourbon Orleans hotel. The Jellyroll Stompers are known for playing happy music for happy people. They spread joy, happiness, and positivity through traditional jazz music.
Photo by Chase This Light Photography
New Orleans Jazz Vipers
Heading up the band is Joe Braun (alto sax/vocals), who learned New Orleans music playing in Jackson Square with the likes of Tuba Fats, Uncle Lionel Batiste, and many young members of the Andrews/Hill family. In 2001 The Jazz Vipers became the first jazz band to play at the now world-renowned Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street. In that same year they won Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Award for "Best Emerging Traditional Jazz Band". The following year they recorded their first album, "The New Orleans Jazz Vipers". As their momentum kept building, so did their regular crowd of local swing dancers. “We’ve always been a dance band,” says Joe Braun. In 2004 they recorded their sophomore album, Live on Frenchmen Street, and received Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album. The next year they won The Gambit’s Big Easy Award for Best Traditional Jazz Group. After Hurricane Katrina the Jazz Vipers were one of the first bands to return to New Orleans. They played in Jackson Square and at The Spotted Cat, even when there was no electricity. In 2006 they recorded their third album, "Hope You’re Coming Back", which won Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album. Joe’s original tune from the album, “I Hope You’re Coming Back to New Orleans”, was later featured in the first season of HBO’s show "Treme" in 2010. The song was included in the soundtrack compilation, which was later nominated for a Grammy. The band’s calendar includes their regular “Monday date” at Royal Frenchman Hotel as part of the festival this year. As trombonist Craig Klein put it best, “You have to be there to feel the vibe. It’s like a dream. Young people dancing, smiling, having a good time- and it’s the music that gets them high. That’s why the fans are there. That’s why we, the musicians, are there. It’s our drug. The interaction of music, musicians, and the people loving it is magical.”
“Its just another day in Paradise”
Darold "D" Alexander is the New Orleans born leader of Paradise Swing Team. Paradise for short. Starting out as a dancer he has become a indomitable force in the New Orleans dance sphere. He has been a member of the Frankie Manning ambassador program and has traveled far for dance. Always up to swingout at a moments notice he's competed around the USA (and that one time in Sweden). He also performs around New Orleans and has had multiple appearances as a dancer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Eventually he started to MC for swing nights. With that it led to him fronting for what is known today as Sunnyside jazz band. This developed into him starting Paradise. Mixing early New Orleans jazz with the r&b of the era. Taking influences from Fats Waller , Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino, and Sam Cooke. Don't worry they also bring New Orleans traditional brass tunes and of course some Louis Armstrong thrown in to make it full circle.
Usually 7 pieces make up the band. Besides D the band is comprised of trumpet, sax, bass, guitar, and drums. Everyone on the bandstand sings and 65 percent of the band members are able dancers. You can find them playing music at your favorite venues in New Orleans almost any day of the week. No matter the date or time it's always a good time with this cast of characters.
The Secret Six are a New Orleans based traditional jazz band, reviving and refreshing the music of the 1920s and 30s for today's listeners, swing dancers and jazz fans.
They get inspired playing for New Orleans swing dancers, they were told by their friend Chance Busman that swing dancers are what jazz looks like. They're sticking with that!
Giselle Anguizola has been an unmissable voice in the swing dance community, for over twenty years, as a successful: performer, instructor, competitor, event organizer, social dancer, judge, DJ, and singer/band leader. One of the top proponents of syncopated footwork, personal style, improvisation and communication - she will breathe rhythmic life into any dance, class, or stage appearance. She moved to New Orleans in 2010 to be closer to the source of the dance, the music. The relationship between live music and dance creates a communal vibration that allows swing to thrive. New Orleans swinging is not only a style, it’s a way of life.
Organizer & Course Facilitator
Abigail Haresign has been teaching lindy hop to dancers of all ages for over a decade. As a second generation Lindy Hopper she spent summer nights swinging out to big bands in Philadelphia around the turn of the millennium when she was just four years old. While obtaining a Bachelors in Public History and a Masters in Social Studies Education from Rutgers University, Abigail spent her weeks researching and writing a jazz history blog and her weekends traveling around the US and Europe as a member of the University's Swing dance club and team. Since then she has enjoyed many roles in the Lindy Hop community such as DJ, performer, instructor, competitor, competition organizer, event organizer, and of course social dancer. As a lifetime member of the World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, Abigail has been teaching leadership for more than 15 years. Her pedagogies focus on culturally responsive teaching and facilitating reflection. She believes in the power of jazz for joy and inclusion on and off the dance floor.
Photo by Jerry Almonte