Book Project From New Orleans Jazz Museum Chronicles Drum Tradition


The New Orleans Jazz Museum has launched a fundraiser to complete a companion book to the exhibition Drumsville: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat. The exhibition opened on November 8, 2018, in celebration of both International Drum Month and the New Orleans Tricentennial.

Drumsville! explores the role of percussion and rhythm in New Orleans and how the innovative drummers from the Crescent City continually changed that role and took it around the planet. The exhibit has a beautiful sampling of photographs and drums of musicians ranging from Warren “Baby” Dodd and Jack Laine to James Black, Stanton Moore, Herlin Riley, and Shannon Powell.

The first book-length study of its kind, Drumsville: Evolution of the New Orleans Beat, written by exhibit co-curator Dr. Robert H. Cataliotti, traces the history of drums and drumming in New Orleans from native populations and African and Caribbean roots to brass bands, drum kits, and the vibrant legacy of drumming which continues to evolve today. The main goal of both the exhibition and the book is to provide the keys to understand how this legacy led to the creation of the drum set in New Orleans, an instrument so pervasive that few people know its origin. The text of the book expands the narrative of the exhibit with historical backgrounds, musicological analyses, and biographies of New Orleans musicians. The book is illustrated with historic photos and images of percussion-related artifacts featured in the exhibit. A number of prominent drummers were interviewed for the book, including Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, Alfred “Uganda” Roberts, Willie Green, Adonis Rose, Ricky Sebastian, Johnny Vidacovich, Shannon Powell, Stanton Moore, Joe Lastie, Christie Jourdain, and Herlin Riley, who will also be contributing a preface to the book.

Editing, proofreading, and review of the Drumsville book has been made possible through generous grants from the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and Threadhead Cultural Foundation. The New Orleans Jazz Museum continues fundraising to complete the book’s publication and prepare for distribution.

“We look forward to sharing the legacy of the Drumsville exhibit with a wider audience thanks to the excellent study composed by Dr. Cataliotti,” said New Orleans Jazz Museum Director Greg Lambousy. “We are looking to our community of friends and supporters to help us reach the publication goal of $15,00.”

Donations for the book may be made at this link.

The New Orleans Jazz Museum celebrates jazz in the city where it was born, through dynamic interactive exhibits, multigenerational educational programming, research facilities and engaging musical performances. Through partnerships with local, national and international educational institutions, the Jazz Museum promotes global understanding of jazz as one of the most innovative, historically pivotal musical art forms in world history. For more information, visit the museum’s website or follow onFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NOLAJazzMuseum.

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