Filmmaker Ken Burns And Tauck Return To New Orleans For Third Exclusive Jazz Event

Five-Day Event To Again Feature Private Performance By Ellis Marsalis, Special Lecturers And Insider Access At Iconic Sites

NORWALK, CT (December 17, 2014)  Private performances by musicians including Ellis Marsalis…  VIP treatment and a private concert at Preservation Hall…  Exclusive talks from Ken Burns and music historians at the Louisiana State Museum…  An insider’s lecture on the roots of jazz, by the curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive …  Meals at some of New Orleans’ most renowned restaurants, including Arnaud’s and The Court of Two Sisters…

All of these experiences and more will be featured during an exclusive five-day event in New Orleans exploring the birth and evolution of jazz.  The event is the product of a partnership between Tauck, a 90-year-old leader in premium quality guided tours, and the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 10-part film “Jazz” was honored with the 2001 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement, News & Information.  Not only did Burns work closely with Tauck in crafting the itinerary, he will also deliver the keynote address at the event, to be held March 25 – 29, 2015.

“Jazz and New Orleans are inseparable; you can’t fully tell the story of one without telling the story of the other,” said Burns.  “The best way to understand and appreciate this uniquely American art form is to explore it and experience it surrounded by the actual places, the history and the culture that gave birth to it.”

To take full advantage of the event’s New Orleans location, Tauck has arranged a number of exclusive “insider” experiences at area sites and enlisted local musicians and other experts, according to company CEO Dan Mahar.  “For 90 years, Tauck has specialized in delivering experiences that our guests can’t get on their own,” said Mahar.  “The line-up we’ve put together with Ken makes this a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in jazz, from the casual listener to the hard-core fanatic.”  Mahar added that capacity is limited, and that the event is expected to sell out.

Guests attending the Burns-Tauck jazz event will be treated to private performances by renowned musician Ellis Marsalis at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, by saxophonist, singer and composer Donald Harrison at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and by a local jazz combo at the iconic, historic Preservation Hall.  Along with Ken Burns’s keynote address, other presentations will be offered by Bruce Boyd Raeburn, Curator of Tulane’s Hogan Jazz Archive; by Charles Chamberlain, Music Historian & former curator at the Louisiana State Museum; by National Park Service ranger and musician Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes; and by writer and documentary film producer Lolis Eric Elie.  Other activities during the event will include a welcome dinner at Arnaud’s, guided explorations of key venues from the history of jazz, a jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters, and a gala farewell dinner cruise and performance by the Dukes of Dixieland and Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans aboard the steamboat Natchez.

Ellis Marsalis, patriarch of “America’s first family of jazz” and one of the event’s performers, expressed his strong enthusiasm for the itinerary.  “I’ve been playing jazz for more than 60 years, I’ve been a music educator on-and-off for over 40, and this trip combines my two passions,” said Marsalis.  “Anyone coming to New Orleans for this event will hear a lot of really great jazz, they’ll gain a better appreciation for the music and its heritage, and they’ll have a great time to boot.”

Each full day of the itinerary will examine a different facet of jazz, with attendees splitting into small groups of 30 to experience private, interactive, guided sightseeing modules, each related to a central daily theme.  Themes to be explored on selected days include “The Roots of Jazz,” with a special guided visit to Basin Street Station, a walking tour of the Garden District, and visits to historic St. Louis Cemetery #1 and the Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collections at the Old U.S. Mint.

Another day’s theme will highlight “Jazz in the Quarter” during a tour of the French Quarter’s historic Cabildo with Music Historian Charles Chamberlain, and at a private performance at Preservation Hall.  A final module, “Jazz & the Story of Survival Today,” will explore the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’ music scene in the historic Treme neighborhood as well as music’s subsequent role in New Orleans’ recovery, featuring local Architectural Environmentalist Nellie Watson. 

Guests attending the Tauck-Ken Burns jazz event will enjoy accommodations at the five-star Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.  Tauck office staff and a Tauck Concierge will be on hand at the hotel to tend to guests’ needs, and each day’s sightseeing will be led by a professional Tauck Director.  Prices for the event start at $4,590 per person, double occupancy, plus air, and include admission to all daytime sightseeing and evening events, all entertainment, most meals, luggage handling, hotel transfers in New Orleans,  gratuities and more.  Those interested in additional information should contact their local travel professional, visit Tauck online at, or call 1 800 468 2825.

ABOUT KEN BURNS.  Ken Burns has been making documentary films for over 35 years, garnering 13 Emmys and two Oscar nominations while setting viewership records at PBS.  Burns has been honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is the recipient of more than 25 honorary degrees.

ABOUT THE KEN BURNS FILM “JAZZ.”  Originally broadcast in January, 2001, “Jazz” was honored with the 2001 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement, News & Information, and the 2001 ASCAP President’s Award, Outstanding Television Documentary.  In all, the film and its accompanying soundtrack and book received nearly 20 honors, including five Emmy Award nominations.

ABOUT TAUCK.  Tauck has been a leader in guided travel since its launch in 1925.  Family-owned and operated, Tauck offers over 100 premium-quality land journeys, small ship cruises, family travel adventures, and active, immersive small-group travel experiences to more than 70 countries and all seven continents.  The company has won over 60 awards for quality, innovation and leadership, including being named the “World’s Best Tour Operator” by a number of consumer and trade publications. 

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