photo credit: Greg Miles
Jazz trumpeter and composer Irvin Mayfield will bring his quintet from New Orleans to perform selections from Dirt, Dust and Trees – A Tribute to Literary Legend Ernest Gaines, at UL Lafayette on February 24, 2015. When Mayfield premiered this multi-movement work in 2012 with his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, he commented on Gaines’s work saying, “His art is words and mine is music. This is the work that binds two artists together.”
The concert will take place on the UL Lafayette campus in Angelle Hall, Ducrest-Gilfry Auditorium, located at 601 East Saint Mary Boulevard in Lafayette, on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm. Doors will open at 7:00 pm. The concert is free and open to the public. To open the concert, Mr. Mayfield will perform with UL Lafayette’s Jazz Combo I, a group of students under the direction of Dr. Paul Morton. Mr. Mayfield and his quintet will then perform selections from Dirt, Dust and Trees, along with other pieces.
In addition to the concert, Mr. Mayfield will spend three days on the UL Lafayette campus, listening to and playing with jazz students, speaking to music majors about the music business, meeting with an English class to talk about the use of literature in composing music, and familiarizing himself with the resources housed within the Ernest J. Gaines Center. The performance and residency are co-sponsored by three UL Lafayette offices: the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music, the Concert Committee, and the Ernest J. Gaines Center.
Irvin Mayfield, 37, is a Grammy and Billboard Award-winning artist with 15 albums to his credit. Mr. Mayfield is the founding Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and currently serves as Artistic Director of Jazz at the Minnesota Orchestra. He is a professor at the University of New Orleans, where he also serves as Director of the New Orleans Jazz Institute. In 2009, Mayfield entered into a historic partnership with the Royal Sonesta Hotel and created Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, which brought "Jazz back to Bourbon Street" in the historic French Quarter. President George W. Bush nominated Mr. Mayfield to the National Council on the Arts and President Barack Obama subsequently appointed him to the same post in 2010. That same year, Mr. Mayfield received The Chancellor’s Award from the University of New Orleans (the highest ranking award given to a professor) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dillard University in 2011.
Novelist Ernest Gaines is Writer-In-Residence Emeritus at UL Lafayette, a MacArthur Fellow, and writer of several celebrated books including A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and A Gathering of Old Men. In 2008, UL Lafayette established the Ernest Gaines Center as an archive for Mr. Gaines’s papers and manuscripts and as a center for Gaines scholarship. The center formally opened on October 31, 2010, and since that time, it has hosted readings and lectures by Mr. Gaines, the Poet Laureate of South Africa Keorapetse Kgositsile, Ernest J. Gaines Literary Award winner Jeffery Renard Allen, Barbara Methvin Professor Dr. John Lowe from the University of Georgia, and many others. Along with these speakers, the center has served the community by hosting creative writing workshops for area students and teaching institutes for area teachers.
Started in the fall of 2010, the mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana. Students now have the opportunity to earn a B.A. in Music with a concentration in Traditional Music as well as a Music Minor with a Traditional Music emphasis. New classes and programs continue to be developed with involvement from musicians in the community.