The Bill Russell Lecture is an annual event at The Historic New Orleans Collection that focuses on New Orleans jazz. The Collection houses the William Russell Jazz Collection, which documents Russell’s lifelong study of New Orleans jazz and related musical forms such as brass bands, ragtime, and gospel music. Born Russell William Wagner (1905–1992), William Russell was a modernist composer as well as a jazz historian and collector who focused on traditional New Orleans-style jazz. He amassed an extensive collection of jazz memorabilia, including musical instruments, records, piano rolls, sheet music, photographs, books, and periodicals. His collection traces the development of jazz in New Orleans and follows the movement of musicians to New York, Chicago, California, and beyond. It encompasses notes from Russell’s research, audiotapes, programs, posters, correspondence, films, business cards, notes, clippings, and scrapbooks.

When You Hear that Beat: Tradition and Change in the New Orleans Brass Band 
The 22nd annual Bill Russell Lecture, sponsored by The Derbes Foundation 
April 28, 2021 | 7 p.m. 
This is a pre-recorded event that will debut on YouTube and Facebook. 

Access to this recording is free. Watch the broadcast live on our YouTube page.

Watch here!

THNOC’s 22nd annual Bill Russell Lecture will explore the evolution of brass band music in New Orleans. Through a combination of lecture and musical performance, musicians and scholars—including a full brass band—will recount the history of this distinctive sound, exploring the introduction and evolution of musical styles, changes in instrumentation, and how the tradition gets passed on. 

This performance will cap off a video series on the history of brass band music and its integral relationship to second line parades, which will be available soon on THNOC’s First Draft blog. This video series and the Bill Russell Lecture are presented in conjunction with THNOC’s exhibition and upcoming book Dancing in the Streets

The Bill Russell Lecture is sponsored by The Derbes Foundation. 


Dr. Alfred E. Lemmon, The Historic New Orleans Collection 
Dr. Michael G. White, Xavier University 
Dhani Adomaitis, The Historic New Orleans Collection 
Douane Waples, The Historic New Orleans Collection 
Gregg Stafford, musician 
The Kings of Brass band:
Adolph Sorina III, bass drum  
Aurélien Barnes, trumpet  
Caleb “Shake” Windsay, trombone  
Desmond Provost, sousaphone  
Glen Finister Andrews, snare drum  
Gregory “Chachi” Warner, trumpet