23.12. – Happy Birthday !!! Irvin Mayfield, born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1977, has established himself as the next musician to embody and represent the great New Orleans jazz trumpeter legacy. Mr. Mayfield has become a fast-paced pioneer in several endeavors. Beginning with his New Orleans-styled version of a Latin jazz band, Los Hombres Calientes, which he co- founded with Bill Summers.
He also leads his own band, the Irvin Mayfield Quintet. In addition to his numerous recordings, he recently founded the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, a non-profit institution geared toward jazz performances, education and interpretation.
Irvin Mayfield was unanimously appointed in September 2003 to the post of cultural ambassador for the City of New Orleans by the United States Senate, the United State House of Representatives, the Governor’s Office of the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana State Representatives, the Louisiana State Senate, the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans City Council and the New Orleans Aviation Board, establishing himself as a musician who embodies and represents the great New Orleans jazz legacy, as well as becoming an international jazz and cultural spokesperson. If all this wasn’t enough, Mayfield is also the Artistic Director for Arizona’s Chandler Jazz Festival, in which he plays a significant role in assisting the development of jazz audiences.
His various collaborative ventures have made Mr. Mayfield a popular composer for special events, such as the New Orleans Museum of Art’s (NOMA) commissioned musical tribute to the renowned African American artist, Gordon Parks. The result was a collaborative effort between Mr. Mayfield and Mr. Parks, entitled the Half Past Autumn Suite, which premiered (and later recorded with Mr. Parks, Wynton Marsalis and the Irvin Mayfield Quintet and released by Basin Street Records) in a live performance by the Irvin Mayfield Quintet during a retrospective exhibit of Mr. Parks’ work, and which was organized by the Corcoran Gallery and presented at NOMA.
In October of 2003 Mayfield kicked off Dillard University Institute of Jazz Culture’s 2003-2004 season with the world premier of his newly commissioned composition, Strange Fruit, featuring The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and The Dillard University Concert Choir. Strange Fruit is a ninety minute, nine-movement triad chronicling the lives of an interracial couple in the 1920s and the subsequent social and political consequences they endure after their affair is discovered. Strange Fruit was inspired by the Without Sanctuary exhibit that chronicles the history of lynching in the United States.
Launched in fall 2002, the Institute of Jazz Culture (IOJC) at Dillard University has become one Mr. Mayfield’s central endeavors in his efforts to strengthen jazz awareness and appreciation in and around the City of New Orleans. After being appointed as Dillard University’s first Artist-in- Residence to the Department of Humanities and African World Studies, Mr. Mayfield envisioned the opportunity to help strengthen the jazz infrastructure both within the school as well as the community.
Mr. Mayfield also serves as Artistic Director for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, which he founded in December 2002 and which has already established as the most significant jazz institution in New Orleans. Recognizing the City of New Orleans’ claim as the birthplace of jazz, he sought to develop a professional organization capable of performing, interpreting preserving, and educating the public about this uniquely American art form.
Establishing himself as an educator, performer, composer and arranger, is only half of his various accomplishments. In addition, Mr. Mayfield’s various recordings with Los Hombres Calientes and with the Irvin Mayfield Quintet have made him one of the most recorded young jazz artists of his generation. As a Basin Street Records artist, he’s released nine albums, and has appeared on or produced dozens of other albums.
Los Hombres Calientes, Mr. Mayfield’s modern jazz collaboration with Bill Summers, is a Latin jazz group that features African rhythmical influences. The group’s latest album, Volume 4: Voodoo Dance, released in March 2003, was recorded in Trinidad, Haiti, Cuba and New Orleans, and was recently nominated for a Billboard Latin Music Award. Volume Three: New Congo Square, the group’s 2001 release, which was recorded in Cuba, Jamaica, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and New Orleans, on Basin Street Records, was nominated for a Grammy. In 1998 and 1999, respectively, Los Hombres Calientes: Volume One, the group’s debut album and Los Hombres Calientes: Volume Two were the top selling albums at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In 2000, Los Hombres Calientes’ debut CD was awarded Billboard’s Latin Music Award for Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year.
Mr. Mayfield has also recorded two other CDs for Basin Street Records. How Passion Falls, released in January 2001, reached the top ten of the Gavin Jazz Chart. The release features the Irvin Mayfield Quintet: Edwin Livingston (bass), Aaron Fletcher (saxophones), Jaz Sawyer (drums) and Richard Johnson (piano). In 1999, Mr. Mayfield released his self-titled debut CD of original music, with Delfeayo Marsalis producing all of his solo releases. Basin Street Records also released his recording of the NOMA commissioned suite commemorating Gordon Parks’ art. A timeless collaboration with Mr. Parks, the suite was released in February 2003, featuring Wynton Marsalis, Gordon Parks and the Irvin Mayfield Quintet.
Released by Blue Note’s Half Note label, Mr. Mayfield recorded two additional CDs. In 2000, he released Jaz Sawyer/Irvin Mayfield 20/20: Live at the Blue Note, and The Irvin Mayfield Sextet: Live at the Blue Note in 1999, featuring Impulse recording artist Eric Reed and Atlantic recording artist Wess Anderson.
Committed to strengthening the economic and cultural vitality of the City of New Orleans, Mr. Mayfield also sits on the board of directors of both the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Champions Group of the New Orleans Museum of Art.