Carl LeBlanc grew up in New Orleans' Seventh Ward and heard the city's brass bands on parade when he was a kid. But it was the Beatles' famous Ed Sullivan appearance which inspired him to take up the guitar; a few years later his inspirations were James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. At the early age of 12, his first gig was with a high school-aged band, The Sonics, performing at The Wonderful Boys Club, a social and pleasure hall. During his apprenticeship years of playing with R&B and jazz bands in New Orleans, he played with a who's who of stars including Fats Domino and the Dirty Dozen. LeBlanc came to the attention of the larger jazz world when he joined Sun Ra's Arkestra in the mid 1980s. Ra, who he calls one of his greatest teachers, apparently took a liking to the young man and taught him many of the standards LeBlanc didn't know. He appeared on several Arkestra recordings from this period. In recent years LeBlanc secured a permanent spot on banjo at Preservation Hall, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Narvin Kimball. He also directed the children's jazz ensemble there, the Preservation Hall Jr. Jazz and Heritage Brass Band. Tonight he leads his own modern jazz quartet.