UJO Programs


Delfeayo Marsalis

  • Acclaimed trombonist, composer, producer and educator
  • 2011 NEA Jazz Master (with father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton & Jason)
  • Toured internationally with music legends Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Fats Domino
  • Produced over 120 recordings garnering one Grammy award and several nominations
  • Dual Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and Production from Berklee College of Music, Masters in Jazz Performance from the University of Louisville.

Uptown Music Theatre (2000)

  • Gives (especially African-American) students a sense of pride in accomplishment
  • Develops cognitive skills
  • Improves confidence and public speaking
  • Increases vocabulary and aptitude
  • Develops ability to work with and trust peers
  • Provides mentorship opportunities with seasoned professionals
  • Develops discipline and sharpens ability to focus
  • Develops problem-solving skills and anger management

Staged 16 original musicals with over 100 songs to introduce students to jazz, often within an educational and historical framework including:

  • Kidstown
  • New Tale of the Old West
  • Storyville (G-Rated)
  • Those Crazy 60s
  • Duke Ellington
  • Althea Gibson

Staged 14 musical productions (Broadway classics) including:

  • Annie
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Lion King
  • Schoolhouse Rock

Trained over 500 students

Implemented after-school programs at Lusher Charter (now named the Willow), Samuel L. Green Charter, Kipp Central City, & Arthur Ashe Elementary.

One current member and one alumni have performed on Broadway.

Alumni Donald Jones & Lloyd Dillon, jr attended Juilliard School of Drama

Recognized for outstanding production or ensemble work in all 11 years participating in the Jr. Theatre Festival (largest theatrical competition in the world). Competed against over 100 groups annually.

Alumni often return to volunteer/mentor younger students and assist in productions

Uptown Music Theatre has provided students with a safe environment, in which they are able to develop into adults, make new friends, and set examples of excellence for their peers.


Uptown Jazz Orchestra (2008)

UJO maintains traditions that are important to jazz performance such as:

  • Riff-playing
  • Spontaneous song arrangements
  • New Orleans-styled horn polyphony

A multi-generational outfit, UJO musicians work together to play diverse repertoire from early traditional to swing, bebop to modern jazz, brass band to classic r&b

Released 3 cds to critical acclaim.
Employs 30+ musicians annually.
Performed in S. Africa, Germany and throughout the U.S.

Cool School Banner.ai

Swinging with the Cool School

(Soft introduction to jazz)

  • Developed in 2006 as a form of music therapy at Children’s Hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina aftermath
  • Reached over 6000 kids nationally
  • Teaches all students about the blues, swing, standard American song form
  • Allows (especially underserved) students access to mostly acoustic music in an intimate setting
  • Encourages students to develop a relationship with music outside of what they hear on the radio or in the mainstream media
  • Often introduces students to the wide emotional range of instrumental music

Uptown Jazz Youth Orchestra

(Currently inactive)

Provides direct mentorship opportunities as youth share the bandstand with professional musicians

Former alumni include:

  • Glenn Hall, jr.
  • John-Michael Bradford
  • Jeffery Miller
  • Brian Richburg
  • Duanne Waples

Students learn firsthand concept of teamwork, improvisational structures and performance nuances

Performed w the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (2011) From Symphony to Jazz


Jazz At Congo Square

Annual outdoor festival started in 2021

Generated revenue for performing New Orleans musicians, vendors and artists including:

  • Tonya Boyd-Cannon
  • Doreen Ketchens
  • Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet
  • Brass-A-holics
  • Congo Square Drum Circle

Maintains African performance, food, dance and social traditions

Keep New Orleans Music Alive

(Currently inactive)

  • Formed in 2020 to provide emergency aid to native New Orleans musicians and culture bearers.
  • Raised $135,000 from over 300 donors
  • Issued 240 cash grants, including 124 musicians, 75 black masking Indians, and 41 cultural dancers
  • Partnered with other musician relief organizations to deliver services to grantees
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