| Back to

This Week
About JazzSet
Tune In
E-mail JazzSet


Big River Concert at Chicago's Symphony Center

Listen to JazzSet Listen to Part 1

Listen to JazzSet Listen to Part 2

We dedicate this edition to the memory of Dinerral Shavers.

On New Year's Eve 2005, young drummer Shavers and the Hot 8 Brass Band led a parade in New Orleans and played live on Toast of the Nation from NPR. Later in the new year, Shavers began to teach French and music at a New Orleans public high school.

Right off the bat, he organized a marching band, a dance team and a majorette squad. About 80 students out of 600 joined. Just after Christmas 2006, Shavers was shot dead, the victim of street violence.

Jeremy Davenport, Victor Goines, Wessell Anderson. Photo by Ray Marklin Photography

Jeremy Davenport
Victor Goines,
Wessell Anderson

In September 2006, one year after Hurricane Katrina, many "Big Easy" musicians are still on the road. Get-togethers are emotional. Hugs in the dressing rooms spill onto the stage, and grow into a full embrace of everyone in the auditorium, with a beat.

This JazzSet is the second of two "Big River" concerts, both organized by pianist Peter Martin. The first took place in December 2005 in St. Louis. The music flowed, and so did the money for flood relief. Ten months later, Peter organized the second Big River Concert at the Chicago Symphony Center, in the beautiful Orchestra Hall that the Chicago Symphony calls home.

The ensemble is made up of eight top New Orleans players. Peter and Ellis Marsalis are at the pianos, Jeremy Davenport and Nicholas Payton on trumpets, Victor Goines on tenor sax, Don Vappie on banjo and guitar, Reginald Veal on bass, and Herlin Riley on drums.

Funds from the sale of the CDs in the lobby at the Chicago Symphony Center go to Habitat for Humanity. The non-profit organization is building a Musicians Village in the Crescent City, and the performance center will bear Ellis Marsalis' name.

Enjoy the show! And come back next week for Andy Narell and a gaggle of steel pans, at the Portland (OR) Jazz Festival.


"Webb City" (Bud Powell) - full ensemble
"Swingin at the Haven" (Ellis Marsalis) - two pianos
"New Orleans" (Hoagy Carmichael) - features Jeremy Davenport on trumpet and vocals, Don Vappie on guitar
"When You're Smiling" (Fisher, Goodwin, Shay) - as above
"Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" (Alter, De Lange) - Reginald Veal, solo bass
"Flying Horses" (Don Vappie) - features Vappie, banjo and vocals
"Sissy Strut" (Art Neville et al) - features Nicholas Payton, trumpet
"Stardust" (Carmichael) - as above
"Hey Pocky Way" - features Herlin Riley, drums, and the full ensemble


Peter Martin, pianist
Big River Concert, St. Louis, 2005
Jazz at Chicago Symphony Center
Habitat for Humanity Hurricane Recovery

Our recording engineer is Chris Willis.
Thanks to Jim Fahey, Director of Programming, Symphony Center Presents; and the staff and stage crew at Symphony Center.
Duke Markos is Technical Director.
Ginger Bruner is recording engineer at KUNV Las Vegas.

Producer is Becca Pulliam, Executive Producer is Thurston Briscoe of WBGO in Newark, NJ, and

Copyright 2007 NPR