top of page
Saxophonist Jason Mingledorff on a couch looking up

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.  

Selected Discography

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

Funknicity, 1997

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

Shakin’, 2003

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

bottom of page