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Onward Brass Band: News

Onward Brass Band 2018 Update - July 6, 2018

 I am happy to announce that I have selected a very talented young trombone player, James Wall to move in a new direction with new determination to continue the Tradition of the historic ONWARD BRASS BAND. We have scheduled a recording session in New Orleans and our goal is that ONWARD will again return to the French Quarter Fest and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which it has appeared at for many years until recently.

  We plan to feature examples of music that Louis Armstrong was famous for playing and hopefully some newer tunes that will add a bit of modern flair and enthusiasm to the performance. Our mission has not  changed from that which remains on this website and is  written in the CD we produced in 2009. 


Recent Appearances - July 12, 2015

In April Onward Brass Band had successful appearances at both French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Our leader, Leon, "Kid Chocolate" Brown put together a group of younger N.O. musicians,together with Kurt Nicewander and Tom Fischer.
Plans are underway for Leon to seek regular appearances for Onward in the next year.
Kurt Nicewander

Onward Brass Band Has a New Leader! - April 15, 2015

Dr.Kurt Nicewander, who has been the leader of Onward Brass Band since the sudden passing of Placide Adams,in 2003, has entered into an agreement that names Leon Kid Chocolate Brown the new leader of the band. Leon promises to continue the Tradition of this historic band, adding some new sounds to enjoy. We welcome him and wish him many years of great performances.

Leon also leads a popular band at the Royal Sonesta Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse every Friday night.

His website is

Tom Jacobsen - March 30, 2014

Tom Jacobsen is  no longer  serving in an official capacity with the Onward Brass Band, but we remain close friends and supporters of New Orleans Traditional Jazz. He is devoting much of his time to promoting his new book, which has now been published. He has been of invaluable assistance in the continuing task of reestablishing Onward in New Orleans and the brass band community in New Orleans.I cannot thank him enough for the work he has done for us.

Check out his website, for a growing wealth of New Orleans music information. I feel his site will continue to grow in popularity among the traditional jazz fans around the U.S. and internationally.

At this writing, Tom is soon going to publish a new book soon,title "New Orleans Jazz scene 1970-2000"


Kurt Nicewander has this year chosen Leon,"Kid Chocolate"Brown to lead the band, which will have several new New Orleans native musicians joining Onward to continue a tradition of excellence.

French Quarter Fest 2012 - April 20, 2012

Onward appeared in Woldenberg Park at the Capital One Legacy Stage before a large enthusiastic audience, estimated at 3-4,000covering the long lawn in front of the stage. We had a special guest appearance by Uncle Lionel Batiste, who appears with the Treme Brass Band, and has been seen on the HBO show "Treme". Band members were some of the best in new Orleans: Wendell Brunious on Trumpet; Kevin Lewis, trumpet; Ronell Johnson, trombone; Otis Bazoon, saxaphone; Tom Fischer, clarinet; Jeffrey Hill, sousaphone; Tanio Hingle, bass drum; and myself, Kurt Nicewander, on snare.

I hope to add a short video segment of the performance to the website soon.

1973 Paul Simon Album - November 16, 2011

I received an inquiry whether Onward Brass band ever had any association with a " Paul Simon" in a 1973 album, and the band did not, to my knowledge.

R. Kurt Nicewander

French Quarter Fest - April 14, 2011



On Wednesday, the French Quarter Festival announced a new attendance record based on the calculation that approximately 533,000 people attended it last weekend. This year's attendance was enhanced by the addition of Thursday, making the festival four days long for the first time underline;" "The French Quarter Festival is great for New Orleans in so many ways - as a celebration of a one-of-a-kind neighborhood in America, as a showcase for our city's wonderful music, cuisine and architecture, and as a boost to our local economy," said Steve Hemperley, Greater New Orleans Market President for presenting sponsor Capital One Bank. ----Offbeat Online-4/14/2011

We hope that outdoor Jazz and Louisiana music fans will visit the festival next year. This is a family-friendly festival also, and that was evident by seeing smiling, hapy children everywhere in the French Quarter.

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