Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp offers new workshop on hip-hop

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Danae Columbus

Artistic Director Donald Harrison Jr. works with aspiring musicians at the 2022 Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp.

The 29th annual Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp will, for the first time, For the first time, offer classes in hip-hop. They will be taught by two of that industry’s most notable professionals: Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Adam “BlaqnMilD” Pigott and Grammy-winner rapper, producer and singer Darius “Deezle” Harrison. 

The jazz camp will take place June 19 through July 7 at Loyola University’s Communications and Music Complex, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Aspiring young musicians ages 10 through 21 are urged to apply now, said Jackie Harris, executive director of camp and the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Educational Foundation.

Classes have traditionally been offered in woodwinds, brass, piano, electric and upright bass, drums, strings, vocals, large and small ensembles, big band, music theory, and swing and second-line dance. While those workshops are still important, the camp is moving into a new era by including the music of the young people in its training. 

“We are excited that hip-hop icons BlaqnMilD and ‘Deezle’ will be bringing their unique talents and perspective to the camp this year,” Harris said. New Orleans is well known around the world for its unique beats and bounce music. The hip-hop classes will explore the history and influence New Orleans artists have had and continue to have on the genre.

Students must be enrolled in camp as an instrumentalist or vocalist to qualify for the hip-hop course. They must also be 14 or older and invited to participate. Pigott has joined the jazz camp faculty to teach the classes in hip-hop, and Harrison will serve as the Hip-Hop Artist-in-Residence. 

Born and raised in New Orleans’ Third Ward, Pigott began his musical journey as a member of the John McDonogh High School marching band and later helped shape the careers of Big Freedia and many others. He has also produced for the likes of Juvenile, Master P, UTP Skip and the Soul Rebels. 

Pigott produced global chart toppers “In My Feelings” and “Nice For What” for Drake and the Top 20 soundtrack single “Ride or Die” with Megan Thee Stallion and Vickeelo. Pigott was also among the writers credited in Beyonce’s lead-off single “Break My Soul,” for which he won a 2023 Grammy in the Best Dance Electronic Recording category.    

Also New Orleans born, Harrison has earned many industry accolades for his creative works. His shared producing credits include co-authoring Drake’s hit In My Feelings,” engineering Chris Brown’s single Gimme That” and Graffiti,and co-producing Lil Wayne’s hit single “Lollipop” which led to a Grammy win in the Best Rap Songwriter category. Harrison also produced Lil Wayne’s hit album “Tha Carter III” which led to a win in the Best Rap Album Producer category. He also shared co-producing credit with Kanye West on “Let the Beat Build.”   

New Orleans born NEA Jazz Master Donald Harrison Jr. is the camp’s Artistic Director. Jazz trumpet and flugelhorn player Eddie Henderson is the 2023 Jazz Icon Instrumentalist Artist-in-Residence.  Jazz Camp faculty members include Donald Harrison, saxophone; Darrell Lavigne, piano; Dwight Fitch, piano; Brian Quezergue, electric bass; Chris Severin, upright bass; Jonathan Bloom, percussions; Herman Lebeau, drums; Don Vappie, guitar; Roderick Paulin, saxophone; Marlon Jordan, trumpet; Andrew Baham, trumpet; Joel Dyson, vocals; Breonna Jordan, swing dance; and Norman Dixon Jr. second-line dance. Ninety percent of the camp’s faculty members are degreed teachers.

All students must be at least 10 years old and actively involved in music education for two years at school or through private instruction. Camp tuition is $1,000 with some scholarships available. Auditions will take place June 6 and 7 by appointment only. For more information call 504-715-9295 or email louisarmstrongsummerjazzcamp@gmail.com. 

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