. One Note at a Time - New Orleans Musicians' Clinic

One Note at a Time


 About the Documentary

Filmed over the course of four years, One Note at a Time is the story of the triumph of the city’s music culture, as told by its musicians and advocates. The film includes interviews with Grammy Award Winner Dr. John, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas, jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, Preservation Hall’s Ben Jaffe, jazz drummer Barry Martyn, and more. Rare footage of iconic brass band drummer and vocalist “Uncle” Lionel Batiste and scenes from musician second lines punctuate the film as it documents the struggle to rebuild a jazz culture which at the time only lived in the heart of the city’s returning musicians.

One Note at a Time Movie Title Image

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About the Filmmaker

Renee Edwards is the editor, director, producer and writer of One Note at a Time. Her father a native New Orleanian, Edwards was born in England and returned to the city out of a natural curiosity to document the changing city she knew as a child.  Her British television credits include the long running investigative news and current affairs series “Panorama,” “Unreported World” and “Dispatches.” Documentary dramas are “A Fight to the Death” and “The Mind Reader.” Film credits include the animated feature “Balto,” voiced by Kevin Bacon, Bob Hoskins, Bridgette Fonda and Phil Collins, and the shorts “In Recovery” and “Fauna Sauna.”

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3 NOMC Patents Featured


Walter Payton Jr

Photo Credit: Nola.com/Jennifer Zdon

Walter Payton, Jr. (August 23, 1942 – October 28, 2010)

Walter Payton, Jr. is the genial bassist and sousaphonist who toured the world as the anchor of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, while back home he shaped generations of New Orleans’ public school students with his passion for Jazz.

Payton made his debut at Preservation Hall in 1965 and worked at the old Dew Drop Inn and the original Blue Room at the Fairmont Hotel. He earned a degree in music education from Xavier University and spent the next 25 years teaching in the New Orleans public school system.

After retiring from the school system in 1991, Payton followed his heart to become a full time, globe-trotting musician with his Snap Bean and Gumbo File combos and with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Along the way he performed at Carnegie Hall, accompanied symphony orchestras and backed Robert Parker, Nancy Wilson, Harry Connick Jr., Clark Terry, Doc Paulin, the king of Thailand, and many more. He contributed to his son Nicholas’ 2001 Louis Armstrong tribute “Dear Louis.”

Payton died aged 68, in New Orleans, after struggling with the health challenges in the years following his Katrina-related hardships.

Herman Roscoe Ernest III

Photo Credit: Nitetripper.com

Herman “Roscoe” Ernest III (August 12, 1951 – March 6, 2011)

Herman “Roscoe” Ernest III emerged from a family of preachers at the Greater Liberty Baptist Church on Desire Street to become one of the New Orleans’ most influential funk drummers. Herman was the primary drummer on the two Allen Toussaint produced Patti LaBelle albums (Nightbirds and Phoenix), most influentially in his beat on “Lady Marmalade”.

After recording for many years at the Sea-Saint studios with Allen Toussaint, Ernest began recording with Dr. John in the early 1990s, becoming a member of the band after the recording of Trippin’ Live in 1996, and then went on to become the band leader of the Lower 911 for almost 30 years.

Although he spent the majority of his time recording, Ernest was active in different areas of the community as deputy sheriff for the New Orleans Police Department, dedicating his Mardi Gras to ensuring the safety of his beloved city peace. He also taught drumming techniques to at the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp.

Herman lost his valiant battle with head and neck cancer on March 6, 2011.


Wardell Joseph Quezergue

Photo Credit: The Times Picayune/Chris Granger

Wardell Joseph Quezergue (March 12, 1930 – September 6, 2011)

Wardell Joseph Quezergue (March 12, 1930 – September 6, 2011), fondly known among New Orleans musicians as the “Creole Beethoven,” Quezergue was born into  Jazz  with two older brothers who were musicians, Sidney playing the trumpet and Leo playing the drums.

After leaving high school he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he arranged for military bands while stationed in Tokyo. When his unit was sent to fight in Korea, he was held back to continue his arranging work. His replacement died in combat, inspiring Mr. Quezergue to write a classical composition, “A Creole Mass,” which he did not complete until 2000. “One Note at a Time” poignantly captures the recording of the mass near the end of Wardell’s life in 2010.

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