Peerless Orchestra, outdoors; ca. 1915; The William Russell Jazz Collection at THNOC, acquisition made possible by the Clarisse Claiborne Grima Fund, 92-48-L.1833 

September 30, 2020
7 p.m. Central Time
Admission is free. This event will take place virtually via Zoom.
This event is sponsored by The Derbes Foundation.
Register now!

Jazz music is universally considered to be America’s most significant original contribution to the arts. Most agree that jazz was born in New Orleans; however, pinpointing its origins, and defining its meaning and musical makeup, is a bit more difficult. In this music-infused lecture, renowned jazz clarinetist, composer, historian, and Xavier University Professor Dr. Michael White will discuss early New Orleans jazz, including its musical influences, instrumentation, song types, and major figures. To help demonstrate the concepts presented—and address the central question, “What is jazz?”—the Michael White Quartet will provide musical interludes throughout the evening. 

Admission to this virtual concert is free, but registration is required.

This program is sponsored by The Derbes Foundation. 

About the Bill Russell Lecture 

The Historic New Orleans Collection’s annual Bill Russell Lecture honors noted jazz historian Russell William Wagner (1905–1992), whose research focused on traditional New Orleans–style jazz and related musical forms such as brass band, ragtime, and gospel music. 

The William Russell Jazz Collection at THNOC encompasses Russell’s research, audiotapes, programs, posters, correspondence, films, business cards, notes, clippings, and scrapbooks. The Russell Collection is available to researchers at THNOC’s Williams Research Center, located at 410 Chartres St., currently open by appointment only. For more information, call (504) 523-4662 or email