Saturday April 27,
Economy Hall Tent, 11:15 a.m.
Alex Owen, bandleader and trumpet player of The Messy Cookers Jazz Band, first came to music at a very young age in New York City. Starting out on piano at age seven, then moving to trumpet at age nine, he has played music now for over twenty years. However, it wasn’t until he went to Connecticut College that he came to love traditional jazz. “Our band director there had previously been the tuba player in the Coast Guard Band,” says Alex. “He had started the traditional jazz band there, then during my first semester at college he asked me if I wanted to join a traditional jazz ensemble at school. I had no idea what to expect, but quickly realized how much I was drawn to the music, once I joined.”
After graduating from college, Alex knew his next move would be to New Orleans. “I wanted to learn more about New Orleans-style music, and be surrounded by the great musicians who were based in the city. When I first moved here in 2012, I came as an Avodah Corps member. I was part of a social justice fellowship, where I worked at a local non-profit for a year, living with other corps members, to learn more about social change work and the city. I was fortunate to spend a year at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, working to prevent housing discrimination both here in New Orleans, and throughout Louisiana,” says Alex.
While serving as an Avodah Corps member, he also found time to put together The Messy Cookers Jazz Band (named after Alex’s notorious kitchen habits) as an outlet for playing New Orleans-style traditional jazz in the city of that music’s birth. He joined up with drummer Benny Amón, another member of the Avodah Corps, and soon started booking gigs. Since 2012, the band has played regularly around town, and has just recently released its third album, Get Out and Get Under the Moon.
“I’m very excited about our first Jazz Fest performance,” says Alex. “I have some terrific musicians working with me! I’m lucky to not only have one great guitar player, but two of them, in John Eubanks and Albanie Falletta. Benny Amón will be behind the drums, with Andy Reid on the upright bass. I’ll have James Evans joining me on the frontline on clarinet and sax, and I am thrilled to have David Boeddinghaus on piano.”