Join us for a special evening of traditional New Orleans jazz at the Dublin School in Dublin, NH. This will be an outdoor event, weather permitting, at the Fountain Arts Building on the Dublin School campus. The concert is co-sponsored by The Walden School, the Monadnock Folklore Society and the Dublin School and is free and open to the public.
The New Orleans Moonshiners, Meschiya Lake’s Little Big Horns, Panorama Jazz Band, Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship?—just a partial list of groups to which Aurora Nealand claims membership. But the Royal Roses, whom Nealand fronted at new Orleans’ French Quarter Fest, are a first. “This is the first group that has my name on it, which I feel funny about,” she says.
“It’s a trad group that is derived pretty heavily from the music of Sidney Bechet,” she says of the group, which also includes Dave Boswell on trumpet, Paul Thibodeaux on drums, Matt Bell on guitar, Nathan Lambertson on bass, and either Michael Watson or Charlie Halloran on trombone. The great multi-reedist Bechet is a frequent reference point for Nealand, who like him doubles on sax and clarinet with a focus on the former. “But I don’t want to sound like I’m comparing myself to him!” she adds. She has an affinity for some of the more remote regions of the Bechet oeuvre. “He had this one album called Haitian Moods; that kind of stuff really interests me, the Afro-Creole influence. The Caribbean influence on New Orleans jazz, which is also what Panorama plays.”
It was Mardi Gras 2006 when Nealand first played with the Panorama Brass Band, the augmented, parade season-only incarnation of the Panorama Jazz Band. “I played in the Brass Band, and then after that Mardi Gras I kept going and hanging around the Jazz Band, saying, ‘You guys are really cool. Maybe I could sit in with you?’” She did, and three years later she appeared on Panorama’s 2009 album Come Out Swingin’. “Panorama’s been a really great training ground for me,” Nealand says. She adds that the Royal Roses are about “wanting to step out on your own and do the music in your own way.”
“I started [The Royal Roses] because I love to play traditional jazz and no one else is going to hire me to do it,” she says. “I play a funny instrument.” Unlike just about every other style of jazz, trad can be unwelcoming to a saxophonist. “The stock instruments are trumpet, trombone and clarinet in the front line,” she says. “And each of those has a very, very specific role. The trumpet and the soprano [sax] have very similar ranges,” she notes. “That’s why you don’t find a whole lot of Bechet recordings that have trumpet players on them.”