Michael White to Highlight JazzFest Shabbat

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans has announced that Michael White will be this year’s headliner for Jazz Fest Shabbat, on April 26.

JazzFest Shabbat has been celebrated by Touro for over two decades, bringing together Judaism with jazz. The service is open to the community, and has attracted some of New Orleans’ most notable musical names. Previous headliners include Jeremy Davenport, Kermit Ruffins, Marcia Ball, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and John Boutte.

The evening starts with a dinner and private patrons concert at 6 p.m., with the Jazz Fest Shabbat service at 7:30 p.m.

White is a recording artist with Basin Street Records and was the 2010 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year. A New Orleans native, he is related to several pioneering jazz musicians, but his inspiration was an aunt who played classical clarinet.

Upon getting his Master’s from Tulane in 1979, he joined the Young Tuxedo Jazz Band, then founded the Original Liberty Jazz Band to preserve New Orleans’ musical heritage.

He has been on over three dozen recordings, including 11 of his own. He has worked on many documentary films, and worked with Wynton Marsalis on concert tributes to early New Orleans jazz greats, including a “Tribute to Jelly Roll Morton” at the Lincoln Center in New York.

He taught Spanish for two decades and now holds the Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Xavier University. His home, with 30 years of jazz artifacts and memorabilia, was flooded by Katrina.

In 2008 he released “Blue Crescent,” and last year released “Adventures in New Orleans Jazz Part 2.”