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Mr. Ernie Elly

Mr. Ernie Elly

"I’ve played with many very fine musicians from around the world and have much respect and fond memories from performing with them, but I prefer performing with New Orleans musicians at home. The approach and feeling is entirely unique to New Orleans.”

- Mr. Ernie Elly

Ernest Anthony “Ernie” Elly Sr. was born in 1942 in New Orleans’s Sixth Ward. Raised in a musical family, he received his first formal training from Yvonne Bush, the band director at Joseph S. Clark High School. After graduating, Elly joined the Air Force and performed in the Air Force band, but he wanted to play some “shake-your-booty” music. After he left the military, he got his chance to play with the Storyville Jazz Band, which included George and Bob French, Ellis Marsalis, Ralph Johnson, and Teddy Riley. “Boy, that was really fun! We used to play all kinds of different music, you know. We’d play rhythm and blues, country and western, traditional, you know, shake your booty.” Elly loves playing a wide variety of genres. He recounts, “One day I played about four gigs, and each gig was a different type of music. I was proud of that, you know.” “I’ve played with many very fine musicians from around the world and have much respect and fond memories from performing with them,” he says, “but I prefer performing with New Orleans musicians at home. The approach and feeling is entirely unique to New Orleans.” Elly has been playing in and out of Preservation Hall for more than thirty years.

Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman.

 Excerpted from “Preservation Hall: Portraits By Shannon Brinkman and Interviews by Eve Abrams” (LSU Press)

Purchase the paperback book HERE

Photo Montage: New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra

Photo Montage: New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra

Salon Series: Film Screening-At the Ace Hotel: “Dreamstates: A Film By Anisia Uzeyman with Music by Saul Williams" + director Q&A

Salon Series: Film Screening-At the Ace Hotel: “Dreamstates: A Film By Anisia Uzeyman with Music by Saul Williams" + director Q&A