If we lived in a perfect world, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival would run every day of the year. Alas, it is only seven days long. But what great days they are. And this year’s festival was particularly special because the weather was perfect. After a withering winter in the north, the warm sunny spring days in New Orleans with (always) great music and great food was just what the doctor ordered.
Of course, Jazzfest is much more than just jazz. All the flowers of the Louisiana musical culture are in bloom and pollinate across the twelve different stages with performers non-stop from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on festival days. Some of the highlights from the first weekend of this year’s Jazzfest included Ahmad Jamal, Anat Cohen, Kidd Jordan, Terrence Blanchard, Pete Fountain, Grant Green, Jr., Don Vappie, Donald Harrison, Dr. John, Herlin Riley (seen here playing with Dr. John), Jeremy Davenport, John Boutte, Jeff Beck, a trio featuring Russell Malone, Ron Carter and Mulgrew Miller, and Haitian musicians spotlighted at the festival (including David “Ti Coca Mettelus). Also, I would be remiss in not mentioning great local favorites, including the soon to be 100 year old trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, rhythm & blues singer Luther Kent, singer Phillip Manuel, soul queen Irma Thomas, legendary blues and rhythm & blues artist Deacon John, Mardi Gras Indians, and the street musicians who keep the music going as you leave the festival fairgrounds.