Explore New Orleans-Style Jazz

By Keegan Morris |

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a bustling street scene as Mardi Gras is celebrated in New OrleansAs we celebrate Mardi Gras, let's visit one of the signature musical styles of the US's center for Fat Tuesday celebrations: New Orleans. The city is also considered the birthplace of jazz.

A melting pot of cultural influences, New Orleans is at the nexus of Spanish, Haitian, French, African, Native American, Latin American, and scores of other unique heritages.

The richness of influences all combines for a fantastically multifaceted form of jazz.

In this video, some of the world's finest jazz musicians — artists from the Jazz at Lincoln Center — break down the key qualities of New Orleans style jazz. Through engrossing musical demonstrations and fascinating storytelling, you'll feel like you're in The Big Easy!

Jazz is a huge part of Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. In this jubilant Tiny Desk Concert from 2017, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band shares an upbeat jazz set to celebrate the holiday!

But of course, jazz and its relation to Mardi Gras is no recent phenomenon. Let's close out this procession of Mardi Gras music with one of the elder statesman of New Orleans-style jazz: Louis Armstrong.

Born in New Orleans, Armstrong is one of the most important figures in 20th-century music. His mastery over the trumpet, signature smiley rasp, and buoyant personality made him an icon not only of jazz, but of the arts in general.

Here is a lesser-known, but delightful, track from Satchmo: "The Mardi Gras March."