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Liz Mardiks

Tulane music professor John Dobry says he’s a “laid-back guy,”and it’s an accurate description. Despite two reschedulings of ourinterview, plus a third mishap involving my alarm clock, Dobrywasn’t the least bit fazed when I met him. 

“Come on in,” he said when I finally arrived at his office, outof breath and over-apologetic. “Seriously, don’t worry about it,”he said. “I’m disorganized, too.” 

I took Dobry’s class my freshman year back when he only taughtArt of Listening and had short hair. Now, he’s teaching JazzTheory, Jazz Combo, Song Writing, Music for Film and Guitar Lessons- and his got hair reaches his shoulders. “I’m embracing themusician,” he said. 

Honestly, it’s about time. 

Dobry took a short break from music during his high school yearsto play sports, but after an injury hindered his football andwrestling careers, he picked up his old guitar and remembered hispassion. Since then, his life has been all about music. He studiedit at Ithaca College and then received his master’s degree atTulane. After receiving his graduate degree, he, not surprisingly,stayed in New Orleans to not only teach jazz, but to write andperform it too. 

“Jazz is my thing,” he said confidently. “I like diving intoit.” 

Last month alone, Dobry had 27 gigs, and he has 22 booked so farthis month. He’s a member of five different groups and, when Iasked him how many albums he’s worked on during his career, hecouldn’t even count. 

“I don’t even know how many, to be honest with you,” Dobry said.”Five in the last two years, two of which are about to comeout.”

One upcoming album is from the group Mainline, a soul, funk andbrass band in which Dobry plays guitar. The other is from The JohnDobry Group, John’s “labor of love” and project of many years. Theband’s album will be out in January and will feature more moderninstrumental improvisation. Both albums will go for something closeto an easy $10, and you’ll be able to purchase them at shows and,hopefully, on iTunes.  

Dobry started The John Dobry Group a few years ago, but theytook a hiatus while John focused on his other projects. Now theband is back together and doing better than ever, playing gigs allover Frenchmen and, ironically, even opening for Mainline. 

Both bands play every Sunday night at Blue Nile, which Dobry nowjokingly calls his home base. To find both Mainline and The JohnDobry Group schedules, plus Dobry’s gigs with his other bands,check out www.johndobry.com.