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If youive never been to the annual New
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, this yearis event at the New Orleans
Fair Grounds is a great opportunity to experience it for the first time.
A wide array of musical acts are planned
for the Festival, which spans two weekends: April 27-29 and May 3-6.
Everything from rock to blues to reggae
and jazz will be displayed during the six-day event.
This yearis Festival will focus on Louis
Armstrong (who would have turned 100 this year) and the contributions he
made to American culture. The salute to Armstrong will include a musical
tribute and films documenting his fabulous career.
R&b singer Al Jarreau
will join the cast of all-stars at the New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival
Courtesy of Warner Bros.
On April 27, the Festival will begin with
performances by Richard Thompson, reggae sensation Ziggy Marley & the
Melody Makers and blues legend B.B. King.
On April 28, the Funky Meters, the Wallflowers,
Chante Moore, Max Roach, Koko Taylor and Louisiana favorite Buckwheat Zydeco
will grace the stage.
The evening will conclude with a tribute
to Armstrong by the Carnegie Hall Big Band with Jon Faddis.
Dr. John, rock legend Van Morrison, Irma
Thomas, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti & The Positive Force of Nigeria, Marica
Ball, R&B crooner Brian McKnight, the Rebirth Brass Band, Terence Blanchard,
Wayne Toups and the Iguanas round up the first weekend of the Festival
on April 29.
The second weekend of the Festival will
begin on Thursday, May 3, with performances by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band,
Widespread Panic, Lucinda Williams, Sonny Landreth and Tab Benoit with
May 4is lineup includes Wilson Pickett,
this yearis Grammy MusiCares honoree Paul Simon, Glactic, Kebi Moi, Ramsey
Lewis, Peter Holsapple and local favorite Cyril Neville & the Authentic
New Orleans R&B Revue.
Saturday, May 5, will start off with rapper
Mystikal, followed by Celia Cruz with the Johnny Pacheco Orchestra, legends-in-the-making
Dave Matthews Band, Cowboy Mouth, Elvin Jones, Trin-i-tee 5:7, North Mississippi
All-stars, Sonia Dada and legendary pianist Ellis Marsalis.
The final day will feature many Festival
fixtures. Fats Domino opens May 6, followed by the Neville Brothers, Al
Jarreau, Pete Fountain, Allen Toussaint, the Radiators, Preservation Hall
Jazz Band and C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band.
The Festival will also include several
other events, including the Harrahis Evening Concert Series, the annual
charity gala, the Louis Armstrong Film Festival and daily workshops held
at local schools and theaters.
Acts booked for evening concerts at the
Morris F.X. Jeff Municipal Auditorium in Louis Armstrong Park are McKnight
and Moore (April 27), Morrison with Linda Gail Lewis and King (April 28),
Widespread Panic and the Wild Magnolias (May 4) and folk-rocker Simon and
Kebi Moi (May 5).
King and Nancy Wilson will headline the
Jazz & Heritage Festival Gala on April 26 at the Sheraton New Orleans
Hotel. Proceeds from the Gala (tickets for which are $500 each) will benefit
the charitable and educational programs of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
Tickets for the Festival are $15 in advance,
$20 on the day of the show and are available at TicketMaster. For more
information, visit the Festivalis Web site at www.nojazzfest.com.