Steve Pistorius & the Southern Syncopators

  • 12:45pm / April, 12th 2014
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    French Market Traditional Jazz Stage

Steve Pistorius has the “dubious honor” of being New Orleans’ last remaining home-grown early Jazz pianist. Now known around the world for his Ragtime, Stride, and early Jazz rags, Steve started playing the piano as a kid in his Kenner home. Music was a love, not an ambition, so Steve didn’t consider becoming a professional musician until he responded to an ad for an apple barrel piano player at a pizza joint in Metairie. He was 18 years old and had no formal training, but Steve was the only applicant and he got the job. We should all be grateful to one extremely patient banjo player at the pizza place who took the time to teach Steve how to play with other musicians, because he’s been gigging ever since.

Steve’s greatest influence has been Jelly Roll Martin. Early on in his career and before these legends passed, Steve had the chance to play with early 20th century Jazz impresarios like Chester Zardis, Willie Humphrey, Louis Barbarin, and composer Eubie Blake.

While many musicians in New Orleans diverge from jazz standards by experimenting with elements from the other musical genres teeming in this city, Steve is working to preserve the pure traditions of early Jazz. Since 1980 Preservation Hall has asked Steve to put together traditional jazz bands that never fail to rile the crowd at New Orleans’ hallmark jazz venue. He is a part of Dr. Michael White’s Liberty Jazz Band and plays regularly aboard the Steamboat Natchez as part of Duke Heitger’s Steamboat Stompers.