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At only 33 years old, Irvin Mayfield represents the continuity of the unfolding Jazz legacy of New Orleans. Winning both a Grammy Award and a Billboard Contemporary Latin Jazz Award, this versatile trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, professor, businessman, cultural ambassador and recording artist is on a mission to position Jazz at the center of American culture. With over 16 recordings, numerous collaborations and four orchestral commissions, Mayfield is one of the most recorded and decorated Jazz musicians of his generation. His latest release, A Love Letter to New Orleans is a richly illustrated Book and CD package that includes songs, essays and reflections on Mayfield’s ten years of recordings on Basin Street Records.
Mayfield currently serves as the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which he founded in 2002. Under Mayfield’s artistic leadership, NOJO won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for Book One, on the World Village/Harmonia Mundi label. Dedicated to strengthening the culture, tradition and industry of Jazz, Mayfield has positioned NOJO into one the world’s most sought after big bands. As a part of the new jazz vanguard, Mayfield composes new music, tours globally and develops creative programs. His brand of jazz is inspired by both the jazz traditions of New Orleans and its democratic pull toward the modern.
In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Mayfield to a six-year term on the National Council on the Arts, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), where he advises on federal arts policy and funding. As the youngest member and only musician on the NEA board, Mayfield was nominated by President George W. Bush during the end of his term, was renominated by President Barack Obama and was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate. Mayfield also serves as Cultural Ambassador for the City of New Orleans, an appointment recognized by the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Office of the Governor of the State of Louisiana and other governmental bodies.
Mayfield’s jazz vision extends to academia where he founded the New Orleans Jazz Institute (NOJI) at the University of New Orleans (UNO) in 2008. As the educational arm of NOJO, NOJI operates a yearlong Saturday Music School where school aged children are provided with applied music instruction. NOJI also oversees the Project Prodigy Summer Camp where students from greater New Orleans receive music instruction. Mayfield also serves as a professor of jazz practice at UNO where he teaches New Orleans as Discourse and Music Inside Out. With a mission to strengthen the economy of jazz, Mayfield recently entered into a historic partnership with the Royal Sonesta Hotel where he launched the Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse, an upscale 7-nights a week live jazz venue that employs over 50 jazz musicians weekly and has successfully brought jazz back to Bourbon Street. Mayfield is launching Irvin Mayfield’s I Club, a new music venue in partnership with the JW Marriott Hotel, scheduled for opening in July 2011.
Mayfield’s creative artistry, innovative programming, audience building and community engagement is in full display at the Minnesota Orchestra where he was appointed Artistic Director of Jazz Programs in 2009. In collaboration with the Minnesota Orchestra, Mayfield premiered the Art of Passion, an orchestral commission performed by Mayfield’s septet and the Minnesota Orchestra. He also curates a jazz series that has featured emerging jazz vocalist Lizz Wright, clarinetist Evan Christopher, a sold-out reunion of Los Hombres Calientes, a holiday performance