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The band was formed in 1996 and the name relates to happy times spent exploring the French Quarter and the local sounds of classic jazz as it is currently played in New Orleans. It also says that the sounds and stylings of the band will lean away from what many call Dixieland, and lean more towards a gentler sound of the dance halls and tunes of New Orleans in the early part of the century.  The repertoire will therefore include many numbers to which audiences can dance if they wish and we hope they will hear the quicksteps, foxtrots and - yes, even occasional waltzes in our rhythms. Some of the old rags, struts and classic gospel and blues will not be forgotten.

The band has been enthusiastically received in the Ottawa International Jazz Festival and for three years at the Rhythm In The Street dances on Somerset Street, as well as at many public and private functions.

Gerry Helke
Clarinet & Saxophones

Well known as a band leader, arranger, pianist and bass player, Gerry has thrown it all away to return to his first love, the clarinet and to immerse himself in some vintage jazz for his own and everyone else's pleasure. He is known for bringing just one reed to practice sessions so that he can
only wear one out at a time.

Neil Sealy

Neil joined the band in 1998 after a long stint with the resident trio at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. Before that, as one of a large musical family in Barbados he had entertained islanders and tourists at a number of major resort hotels. Arriving in Canada, Neil was a regular at Jazz Ottawa and he played with Vern Isaac, the Bytown Jazz Band and the Vanguard Jazz Band. His bass is strung for a right-hander, yet he plays it like a southpaw, but his strong rhythmic beat comes out just the same.



  Arthur Grainge
  Tenor banjo & Leader
He enjoys the many sounds and styles of vintage jazz, from New Orleans to Chicago, New York and back again, but he is an unrepentant traditionalist from away back and now realizes that his prime love is the sound of the New Orleans dance halls, or what can be gleaned of them from available recordings. He's so traditional that he refuses to tune his tenor banjo like a guitar.

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John is a professional engineer working for the National Research Council on the development and maintenance of the National
Building Code. He also plays trumpet and valve trombone. He has played with a number of traditional and modern jazz groups in
the Ottawa area, including Jamm Sandwich, the Swampwater Jazz Band and Glebop. With the advent of e-commerce he has taken
to scanning the web in search of additional instruments to add to his collection of "toys".

Just Sitting Around with Arthur Grainge's New Orleans Days Jazz Band

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Click here for samples of
The New Orleans Days Jazz Band



Louis Armstrong, "Kid Sheik" Cola, Ken Colyer, Capt. John Handy, Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, Sam Morgan, "Big Eye" Louis Nelson, Joe "King" Oliver, Edward "Kid" Ory, "Kid" Thomas Valentine, Clarence Williams - and not forgetting that most famous of all jazz composers - Trad.

Quicksteps, Foxtrots, Struts, Waltzes, Blues and Parade Marches in the New Orleans style.

Our 1999 CD, Just Sittin' Around, was nominated for an award by the Canadian Collectors Congress.
The award recognizes the best traditional or classic jazz recording.
"Thanks for the enclosed CD which I got a real kick out of - particularly 'Shanty Town', which I haven't heard since I recorded it with George Lewis back in 1964, and 'Black Cat' - shades of Colyer"...Big Bill Bissonnette of  JAZZ CRUSADE. 

David Reilly
Trombone & Clapper

David is one of the most dedicated of musicians, traveling from Montreal every week to play - and that is just for practice sessions! He plays great tailgate style, complementing the gentler sounds of the other horns on the front row and he's a fine ensemble player. David has led the Jazz Knights in Montreal for many years.


Steve joined the band in 2001. His musical bent was coaxed along by his music teacher at the Ottawa Technical High School and he learned his drumming techniques by teaching himself. He joined the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve Band and was a percussionist and tympanist in the Ottwa Youth Symphony, and with the Ottawa Centennial Youth Band. He performed with the R.C.M.P. band for 25 years from 1969 to 1994, touring all over the continent. He was a solo drummer (there's a thought to make my New Orleans heart shudder) and taught students wherever the band travelled. New Orleans Days JB recently bought a vintage Ludwig 30 inch drum set for his use, which now effectively hides Steve from view. Steve is also the
resident drummer with the well known Rialto Rhythm Revellers, Ottawa's 11-piece hot jazz orchestra.

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