Robert Witkowski

80th Birthday Party for Benny Jones, Sr.

01:00 August 14, 2023
By: Robert Witkowski

A large representation of New Orleans' tight-knit community, city culture bearers, and Jazz musicians joined the family and friends of Benny Jones, Sr. to celebrate his 80th birthday — the community he loves giving love right back for his decades-long commitment to New Orleans music and city neighborhoods, most notably Tremé, the 7th Ward, and Gentilly.

The party was in the auditorium of the Corpus Christi-Epiphany Roman Catholic Church community center in the 7th Ward. It was a more community-based traditional gathering with home-cooked food made to cater the large number of party-goers, a DJ leading people into the early morning hours, and a sheet cake that tasted even better than it looked.

Benny Jones, Sr. worked with past members of the Fairview Baptist Church Band in 1977 and founded the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. His innovative fusion of traditional band standards with non-traditional genres such as blues, soul, and funk created an almost entirely new art form in New Orleans Jazz.

After parting from Dirty Dozen, he formed the Tremé Brass Band, leading the marching band as its snare drummer. The impressive group gave a foundation for notable jazz recording artists, such as James Andrews and Kermit Ruffins—who hurried in after closing his Tremé lounge for the night to be sure not miss celebrating his former mentor.

The wide variety of guests enjoying the celebration clearly showed Jones' impact in his communities over two centuries. Other guests also included State Representative Alonzo Knox and New Orleans Musicians' Clinic's Megan McStravick, all making a joyful noise in honoring Jones.

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