The DUKES have worn their New Orleans jazz heritage proudly as globe-trotting jazz ambassadors from the heart of the Big Easy. They are the oldest continuing Dixieland jazz band and have sold out such venues as The Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian, to name but a few. Bright and brassy or smooth and dark as cane syrup, the DUKES bring a time-honored authenticity to all of the hits of Dixie's yesteryear.
Back in late 1974, John Shoup, a television producer for PBS and later The Discovery Channel who has also managed and produced many artists, flew out to Las Vegas to meet with musician/singer Louis Prima at Prima’s golf course. Shoup wanted Prima’s permission to take over his lease at the Monteleone Hotel’s rooftop nightclub in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Two months later, on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1974, Shoup opened “Dukes’ Place” atop the Monteleone. It featured the home of the newest ensemble of The DUKES of Dixieland, with Connie Jones as leader.
The current lineup playing under that name dates its own origins back to 1974, when the last of the original leaders passed away. Since then, many players have passed through the band’s ranks.
The 2012 version of the Dukes can be seen most often, these days, during nightly jazz cruises on the Steamboat Natchez. The band’s most recent album is When Country Meets Dixie, released in early 2012, which features four tracks recorded with the Oak Ridge Boys -– including a reimagining of the Oaks’ 1981 #1 country single “Elvira.”-Alison Fensterstock