The JAS Café is back for its eighth summer installment just in time for the Food & Wine Classic, bringing with it artists you might otherwise find in a swank Chicago or, in this case, New Orleans lounge. In addition to intimate shows with some of the genre’s greats, Jazz Aspen Snowmass is now offering a new “ListenUp!” series, part of a larger music-listening educational initiative. The goal is to help build a future audience for jazz and similar genres through artist interviews and insightful discussion. Since 1996, JAS has invested millions in the education of Roaring Fork Valley public school students, along with countless talented young musicians. Jim Horowitz, president and CEO of JAS, notes that this initiative differs from their past projects, as it focuses on the education of adult audiences.
This weekend at Food & Wine, there’s a chance to experience and learn about the rich sounds and tastes of New Orleans for two nights at the Cooking School of Aspen. JAS will be hosting the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary playing together, along with executive chef Michael Sichel of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s “33” Bar & Steak, two of the busiest fine-dining restaurants in New Orleans. There will be a one-of-a-kind French-Creole tasting menu to enjoy and discuss before and during the classic seven-member ensemble.
Galatoire’s is one of New Orleans’ keystone restaurants, founded in 1905 by Jean Galatoire, and brings recipes and traditions from the original chef’s hometown of Pardies, France. Now in their fifth generation running the restaurant, the Galatoire family have worked hard to preserve their culinary customs and, in turn, have influenced the development of the city’s lively culinary culture. Sichel’s tasting menu for the JAS Café will include some of the award-winning restaurant’s dishes, such as shrimp remoulade with crab maison, duck and andouille gumbo, bread pudding and other signature dishes straight from Bourbon Street.
The equally iconic Dirty Dozen Brass Band have also established their mark on New Orleans’ culture through turning traditional brass on its head and blending bebop jazz, funk and R&B. Since their humble beginning in 1977, the group have played in over 30 countries, recorded 12 full-length albums and collaborated with a range of artists like Modest Mouse and Widespread Panic.
The band’s origins lie in classic Southern culture with a strong connection to social and pleasure clubs in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood. Benny Jones, a past drummer for the group, was asked to pull together a house band for the Dirty Dozen Social Aid and Pleasure Club. After a handful of gigs together and raving critic reviews, Gregory Davis, longtime vocalist and trumpet player, took over leadership and established the brass band as it stands today. He describes the Dirty Dozen Brass Band in perfect New Orleans fashion: “It ends up being like a pot of gumbo: You drop in a little okra, drop in a little shrimp, you drop in some crabs. Before you know it, you’ve mixed in all these different ingredients and you’ve got a beautiful soup. That was our approach to music early on, and it still is today.”
There are two rounds of shows, with an accompanying dinner for each, on Friday and Saturday. Dinner begins at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Showtimes are 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.