JASON MINGLEDORFF is one of New Orleans’ most versatile and in-demand saxophonists, composers, and educators. His early musical experiences in Alabama, nurtured on the spiritual music of the church and the soulful grooves coming out of Muscle Shoals, have been evident in his intense, individual approach to playing saxophone throughout his career.
After earning a Bachelor of Music in classical saxophone at the University of Alabama, Jason moved to New Orleans in 1995 to study under jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis at the University of New Orleans. He quickly began getting another formative education in the blues clubs of Bourbon Street and was soon touring and recording with a diverse collection of award-winning local bands, including the all-star modern brass band New Orleans Nightcrawlers, young funksters Galactic, and bluesman Mem Shannon. Before long he was playing theaters and arenas with country superstar Clint Black.
In 2000 Jason joined a new all-star band, Papa Grows Funk, which introduced “Big Wind” (as they liked to call him) to many new funk fans worldwide. PGF’s 13-year trajectory from holding legendary Monday nights residencies to becoming Jazz Fest favorites to breaking up unexpectedly in 2013 is chronicled in the award-winning full-length documentary Do U Want It?.
As Papa Grows Funk was coming to an end, Jason began to devote more time to education, a passion he discovered when he started teaching at Loyola University in 2006. In 2012 he wrote a series of articles on New Orleans grooves for the Saxophone Journal, and currently he runs Loyola’s saxophone department and is finishing up an innovative book aimed at big band directors called Warm-Ups for YOUR Big Band.
In 2015, Jason returned to his roots and joined Alabama’s southern soul phenoms St. Paul & the Broken Bones. This began three years of almost constant touring, highlighted by opening for the Rolling Stones, performing on numerous national talk shows, and jamming with music legends Elton John and Philip Glass.
Since leaving the Broken Bones and taking a break from the road in 2018, Jason has enjoyed regularly playing with a wide variety of bands – English soul-jazz outfit The New Mastersounds, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The Mishaps (a new incarnation of popular 9th Ward rockers King James & the Special Men), Papa Mali’s Shantytown Underground, and the WWII Museum Victory Swing Orchestra.
When the pandemic put everyone out of work in 2020, Jason was able to reconnect with his old friends in the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, who for many years had been too busy to get together as a band any more than a few times a year. Coming off an unforgettable appearance in season 29 of the seminal television show The Simpsons, the Crawlers won a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Album (Atmosphere) in 2020, an Offbeat Award for Best Brass Band in 2022, and soon afterward released their first collaboration with local rappers Pell, Alfred Banks, and HaSizzle (an ode to their local NBA team called “Smooth Like a Pelican”).
For over three decades, Jason has been asked to play with some of the world’s most recognizable stars – including Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett, The Band, Michael McDonald, Peter Frampton, Jeff Tweedy, Wayne Newton, Johnny Mathis, Frankie Valli, The O’Jays, The Temptations, and The Four Tops and Noel Gallagher. Meanwhile, Jason has continued to share the history of New Orleans music with some of its most beloved artists – Dr. John (Grammy-winning City that Care Forgot and Oscar-nominated “Down in New Orleans” from Princess and the Frog), Harry Connick, Jr., Irma Thomas, The Neville Brothers, Benny Turner, George Porter. Jr., Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Anders Osborne, Better Than Ezra, Jon Cleary, Ingrid Lucia, and The Iguanas.
Jason’s television and film appearances include the HBO television series Treme and the Academy Award Best Picture winner Green Book. He’s been a featured soloist on stage in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and for many annual International Queen of Burlesque and Queen of Striptease competitions. With appearances on over 100 recordings (including Maceo Parker’s last record, Soul Food), Jason has become a top call studio woodwind specialist and is honored to be a D’addario Woodwinds Artist.
Jason is releasing his long-overdue debut album, Start It!, in the spring of 2023 and is excited to start this new chapter now as bandleader in what has already been a blessed career.
As a Leader
Start It!, 2023
New Orleans Grooves Part 2, Saxophone Journal, 2012
New Orleans Grooves Part 1, Saxophone Journal, 2011
w/ New Orleans Nightcrawlers
Too Much to Hold, 2023
Atmosphere, 2020 (Grammy-winner, Best Regional Roots Album)
Slither Slice, 2008
Live at the Old Point, 2000
New Orleans Nightcrawlers, 1996
w/ Papa Grows Funk
The Last Leaf, 2016
Needle in the Groove, 2012
Mr. Patterson’s Hat, 2007
Live at the Leaf, 2006
Doin’ It, 2001
w/ St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Young Sick Camelia, 2018
Sea of Noise, 2016
w/ Dr. John
The Princess and the Frog Soundtrack, 2009
City that Care Forgot, 2008 (Grammy-winner, Best Contemporary Blues Album)
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, 2007
N’Awlinz: Dis Dat, or D’udda, 2004
Other Select Recordings
Maceo Parker, Soul Food: Cooking with Maceo, 2020
The New Mastersounds, Shake It, 2019
Leyla McCalla, The Capitalist Blues, 2018
King James & the Special Men, Act Like You Know, 2017
Benny Turner, My Brother’s Blues, 2017
Ana Popovic, Trilogy, 2016
Funk Monkey, Funk Monkey, 2014
Anders Osborne, Peace, 2013
Meschiya Lake, Fooler’s Gold, 2013
Harry Connick, Jr., Smokey Mary, 2013
Calexico, Algiers, 2012
Ingrid Lucia, Valentine’s Day Massacre, 2008
Marva Wright, After the Levees Broke, 2007
Eric Lindell, Change in the Weather, 2006
Mem Shannon, I’m From Phunkville, 2005
Matt Lemmler, Portraits of Wonder, 2001
John Mahoney Big Band, In from Somewhere, 2001
Mem Shannon, Spend Some Time with Me, 1999
Galactic, Crazyhorse Mongoose, 1998