New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra mission is to continue and strengthen the legacy of Jazz throughout local and global communities by providing access to unparalleled performances, creative gathering places, and authentic community engagement.
Ashlin joined the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) in the fall of 2008 at a recording session. That session led to the album, Book One, which won the 2009 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble.
Ashlin has been a member of NOJO since that time and has recorded three additional albums with them: DeeDee’s Feathers (2015), New Orleans Jazz OrchestraLive at Newport (2017), and Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint (2019). He is featured on the tunes, “Angola,” on the Live at Newport album and “Java” on NOJO’s latest album honoring the late Allen Toussaint.
Comprised of some of the finest musicians in New Orleans, the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra has played in many festivals and concert halls in the United States and internationally, including Carnegie Hall. NOJO toured Brazil in 2010, playing in many beautiful venues.
In the spring of 2013, NOJO served as the house band for the Kultura TV production in Moscow, Bolshoi Jazz, which featured Russian musicians in a jazz competition series. For a video of a rehearsal, click here. While in Moscow, NOJO also performed at the US Embassy, as shown in the full concert recording at the Spaso House. Kultura TV featured the winner of the competition, Dmitry Mospan, in a documentary about his trip to New Orleans and ongoing friendship with Ashlin and other members of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. (That friendship led to the Moscow-New Orleans Project and their performances at the Usadba Jazz Festival, Moscow’s Jazz Club Esse, and Igor Butman’s Le Club.)
In 2015, NOJO toured with Dee Dee Bridgewater to the Capetown Jazz Fest in South Africa, then to New Zealand with at least two rave reviews. Next they traveled to Europe, playing at Vezprem Festival (Hungary), North Sea Jazz Festival (The Netherlands), Pori Festival (Finland), and Jazz Ascona (Switzerland). Finally, they came back to the North American continent to play at the Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada).
NOJO played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 2015, a performance that was captured in the album, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Live at Newport, which was released in 2017. Other stateside performances in 2015 and 2016 garnered additional enthusiastic reviews, as in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Lincoln, Nebraska.
At the 2016 New Orleans Jazz Fest, an incredible turn of events led to an unexpected but most welcome guest showing up at the NOJO performance at House of Blues. Check out the happy musicians with Stevie Wonder in the pictures below:
NOJO returned to JazzAscona in 2019, again garnering very positive reviews. For a JazzAscona video of NOJO featuring a solo by Ashlin, click here. During Labor Day Weekend 2019, they played with DeeDee Bridgewater at the Detroit Jazz Festival. There are more appearances and festival dates already set for 2019 and 2020.
The permanent home of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra is the New Orleans Jazz Market, a multi-purpose music facility unlike any other venue in New Orleans. The NOJO organization was restructured in 2017, with a new Board of Directors and a new artistic director, Adonis Rose. NOJO’s concert schedule at the Jazz Market has included special guests such as Sheila E., Eric Benet, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Their performances have celebrated the music of such giants as Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Allen Toussaint, Prince, and John Coltrane. The news and reviews of their new structure, new energy, and new recording have been extremely positive.