On October 15, the Assunto Family will return to the French Quarter. The Assunto Dukes: a Dixieland Tribute, will appear at Mahogany Jazz Hall, starting at 9 p.m. The band is the only one sanctioned by the Assunto family. The Dukes of Dixieland tribute band formed in April of 2018, and includes Ryan Burrage on clarinet and saxophone, Jim Syoen on tuba, Scott Kyser on Piano, Alex Holmes on Trombone, Marc Joseph on drums, Jim Thornton on trumpet and vocals, and Lexie Assunto singing vocals.
The Dukes of Dixieland was formed by brothers Frank and Freddie Assunto, and their father PaPa “Jac” Assunto. They quickly rose to fame in the 1950s and ‘60s, and made an appearance on Ed Sullivan’s TV show in 1958. Many considered them the number one jazz combo in the country. The Dukes were the first band to record in stereo, and the first all-white band Louis Armstrong played with on stage. They went on to tour and record two albums with Armstrong.
The Assunto Dukes approached Deano Assunto in 2018 to discuss how they could form the band. Frank’s granddaughter, Lexie, also decided to join the band. Lexie was taught how to sing The Dukes’ songs by her aunt Betty Assunto, who toured with the Dukes as “The Duchess.” The Assunto Dukes’ goal isn’t to recreate the original Duke’s discography, but to perform their songs in the same style. Their performances evoke the same aesthetic of the ’50s and ‘60s band, down to the same red candy stripe blazer.