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Benefit concerts during Jazz Fest 

Will Coviello previews a few musical events for some good causes

click to enlarge The Miller McCoy Academy marching band competes at the Tipitina's Foundation's 2012 Instruments a Comin' battle of the bands.

Photo by Jim Brock

The Miller McCoy Academy marching band competes at the Tipitina's Foundation's 2012 Instruments a Comin' battle of the bands.

During the two weeks of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, there's plenty of music both at the Fair Grounds and around the city. Many evening concerts feature multiple bands or collaborations between musicians who don't often get the chance to play together. And some of those concerts support local musicians and music education programs.

  One of the long-running fundraisers is WWOZ FM 90.7's Piano Night, which marks its 25th anniversary this year. In a town known for pianists including Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and James Booker, it's a fitting focus to raise funds for the community radio station (the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation holds its broadcasting license). Since it takes place on the Monday after the first weekend of Jazz Fest, Piano Night is a good reason for some musicians and music fans to extend their weekend.

  "It's an opportunity to share music with the community and get our listeners to an event," says WWOZ program director Dwayne Breashears. "It's about the music. It's very organic. (Musicians) can do what they want. ... To see Ike Stubblefield cut loose is incredible."

  Piano Night is Monday, April 29, at the House of Blues (225 Decatur St., 504-310-4999; www.hob.com), with music in the main club room and solo pianists in The Parish, as well as extra performances in the Foundation Room for Club 88 ticket holders. The lineup includes Marcia Ball, Tom McDermott, Ike Stubblefield, Bob Malone, Marco Benevento, Liz McComb, Bob Andrews, Keiko Komaki and others. Tickets $53 general admission, $289 Club 88 (including fees).

  The Tipitina's Foundation created Instruments a Comin' 12 years ago. The concert features an all-star lineup of local bands, and proceeds benefit local school music programs. The foundation reports it has donated a total of $2.5 million worth of instruments to 75 schools. Funds are used to buy instruments at a discount from the New Orleans Music Exchange. In the years since Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, foundation donations have helped many high school marching bands replace lost equipment.

  Instruments a Comin' is Monday, April 29, at Tipitina's (501 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-8477; www.tipitinas.com). The music lineup includes Anders Osborne, Galactic, New Orleans Suspects, Dumpstaphunk, Walter "Wolfman" Washington and the Roadmasters, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Bonerama, Honey Island Swamp Band and many others. The event starts outside the club with a battle of the bands between St. Augustine's Marching 100 and bands from Martin Behrman, Eleanor McMain and McDonogh 35 high schools, all of which have received instruments from the foundation. Deacon John Moore will be inducted into Tipitina's Walk of Fame, and there's a silent auction as well. Instruments a Comin' tickets are $40 general admission, $200 VIP.

  Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews created the Trombone Shorty Foundation (www.tromboneshortyfoundation.org) last year and Shorty Fest is a fundraiser for it. The program already supports music classes for 20 students at Tulane University's Center for the Gulf South. The students will perform (with Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste) at the event at Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 504-581-4367) on Thursday, May 2, along with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cha Wa and the Hot 8 Brass Band. Tickets are $40 general admission, $100 VIP.

  The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders band offers music education to middle school students. The program was founded after Katrina by Rebirth Brass Band drummer Derrick Tabb. The organization will benefit from a brass band blowout at The Howlin' Wolf (907 S. Peters St., 504-529-5844; www.thehowlinwolf.com) Sunday, April 28. The lineup includes the Dirty Dozen, Rebirth, Hot 8, Stooges and TBC brass bands. Tickets are $20.

  Danny Barker and Pud Brown's "Palm Court Strut" is a sultry homage to the supper club featuring traditional jazz. The Ponderosa Stomp and New Orleans Musicians Clinic (www.neworleansmusiciansclinic.org) are hosting the Naughty Nurse Prom at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe (1204 Decatur St., 504-525-0200) Wednesday, May 1. The event marks the clinic's 15th anniversary and is a fundraiser for the clinic and its foundation. Entertainment is by Little Freddie King and Guitar Lightin' Lee. Tickets are $20-$45.

  The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation (www.jazzandheritage.org) hosts its gala fundraiser Thursday, April 25, at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside (2 Poydras St., 504-561-0500). In recent years, proceeds from the gala have funded a year's worth of music programming for 85 students at the foundation's Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music. The program is open to beginner- and advanced-level students, and the foundation is renovating a building to create seven classrooms and a 200-seat auditorium to house the school at its complex on North Rampart Street. The 2013 Jazz & Heritage gala has a brass band theme of Glass House Reunion, referring to the Uptown bar where the Dirty Dozen created a legendary weekly throwdown that fueled interest in younger brass bands and their incorporation of R&B and funk into their music. The event features the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth brass bands, and Kermit Ruffins is the host. Tickets are $500 and include daily admission to Jazz Fest with exit and reentry privileges.

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