Now that the “cubes” have officially been announced, every jazz aficionado in the States can get ready for the 2014 edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. From 25 April to 5 May, the Crescent City will bring back its world’s renowned jazz, crafts, food and cultural events for a giant celebration. Eric Clapton, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, Gregory Porter, Chick Corea, Bobby Womack, Trombone Shorty, Irvin Mayfield and Robin Thicke…all the biggest name in the music industry will be at the jazz event of the year!
Since 1970, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has celebrated jazz music and the Louisiana food and culture in a magical and joyful atmosphere. There will be so many things to do at its 45th edition, foods to eat and music acts to listen to that it’s kind of hard to known where to start from.
One thing is for sure, though. If you happen to be in New Orleans at the end of April, make sure to take part in the greatest jazz happening of the year: the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival!
Hosted in the birthplace of jazz, the event will bring together international stars from a variety of music genres.
Grammy award-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas, start trombonist Trombone Shorty, the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Davell Crawford and the iconic Treme Brass Band are some of the local heroes that will pay tribute to the music of the Crescent City.
One of the hard-working jazzmen around, Irvin Mayfield has been on the path to become a jazz legend since the beginning. A Billboard award as Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year with the Afro-Cuban jazz group Los Hombres Calientes was only the first of a long series of successes. Sold out performances at international festival and Grammy award followed.
Mayfield, became Artistic Director of The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) in 2002, has been serving as Cultural Ambassador of the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana since 2003 and was nominated to the National Endowment of the Arts by former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Today, there has even been two jazz clubs in New Orleans that bear Mayfield’s name: Irvin Mayfield’s I Club in the JW Marriott Hotel, and the Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta Hotel. At the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, he will perform twice: with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (25 April, 4 pm) and with Los Hombres Calientes (26 April, 4:30 pm).
With a career of over 50 years, Irma Thomas has been one of the golden voices of the Crescent City. A contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, she has performed at pretty much every prestigious jazz venue and festival in North America and around the world.
The Grammy Award won in 2007, for Best Contemporary Blues Album with After the Rain, has been a much-deserved prize for one of the most influential contemporary blues, soul, R&B and gospel singers. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will welcome its Queen of Soul for two shows: on 27 April (2 pm) and 2 May (4:45 pm).
Trombonist Trombone Shorty is one of the most popular young artists from New Orleans. He grew up in the Tremé neighbourhood where he participated to several brass band parades and served as bandleader already at the age of six!
Today, Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue are one of the most in-demand acts around. Concerts at jazz festivals around the world, appearances in popular TV shows such as Treme, Conan and Austin City Limits, and a series of successful records make him an élite trombone player and entertaining performer. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will perform in the Grand Finale of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (4 May) at 5:45 pm.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a name well-known to jazz enthusiasts. Taking its name from the French Quarter’s legendary Preservation Hall, venue that has been writing the history of jazz since the 1960s and that celebrated its 50th anniversary from 2011 to 2012, it is one of the most influential performing acts of traditional New Orleans-styled jazz.
When it is not playing at 726 St. Peter Street, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is probably touring the world or sharing the stage with international stars, just liked it happened at the 55th edition of the Grammy Awards where the group performed alongside Dr. John and the Black Keys.
During the years, many musicians have joined and left the Preservation Hall Jazz Band but today, after over 50 years of activity, the group is still taking its passion for jazz to the streets of New Orleans and jazz venues and festivals around the world. The will perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on 27 April (4 pm).
Just like the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the legendary Treme Brass Brand is one of the most influential groups founded in the Crescent City. Named after New Orleans’ Tremé neighbourhood, the marching brass band has been one of the most prominent members of the Louisiana jazz scene. If you want to really experience the traditional music of the birthplace of jazz and you want to celebrate the Louisiana culture, make sure not to miss the Treme Brass Band’s show (26 April, 1:50 pm). Party people get ready!
On 26 April, the “Piano Prince of New Orleans” Davell Crawford will perform at the popular Congo Square Stage (1 pm), while, on the same day, the Boutté family – Lillian Boutté and Arséne DeLay, Tanya E. Boutté, Lorna Boutté-DeLay, Tricia Boutté-Langlo – will bring a gospel celebration to the Gospel Tent (2:45 pm). In 2012, the Boutté family made history on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In fact, it was the first time the family of multi-talented artists and singers stepped on stage and performed together.
On the same day, the festival will also welcome the Branford Marsalis Quartet (5:45 pm). Led by NEA Jazz Master, Grammy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis, the band is one of the finest jazz quartets around. At the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Marsalis and his Quartet of musical friends will play their most popular compositions, including songs from their latest album Four MFs Playin’ Tunes.
Jazz at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will represented by local and international stars.
Artists like critically-acclaimed singer Gregory Porter (25 April, 5:45 pm), Downbeat Hall of Famer and 20-time Grammy Award-winning virtuoso pianist and composer Chick Corea (4 May, 4:10 pm) and free-jazz icon, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders (2 May, 5:40 pm).
And even though jazz will be the resounding genre of the event, it won’t be the only one. In fact, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will feature a talented series of indie rock acts, rock legends and prominent members of the international soul, R&B, blues and pop scenes.
Alternative rock and pop fans will be glad to hear that critically-acclaimed eclectic bands Arcade Fire (4 May, 3:45 pm), Foster the People (3 May, 5:30 pm) and Vampire Weekend (27 April, 5:20 pm) will all be performing during the festival. Hip Hop band Public Enemy (25 April, 5:45 pm) will be the most prestigious representative of the North America hip hop scene, while Al Jarreau (3 May, 5:35 pm), Bobby Womack (4 May, 3:25 pm) and Chaka Khan (2 May, 5:30 pm) will continue to enchant audiences of all ages, just like they have been doing for the last forty and plus years.
Speaking of long successful careers, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will also see performances by alternative rock and improvisation’s sensations Phish (26 April, 4pm) and iconic soul/quiet storm band Maze feat. Frankie Beverly (4 May, 5:20 pm). The list of stars who have blossomed in recent years and that are among the much-awaited performers includes pop diva Christina Aguilera (2 May, 5:45 pm) and Robin Thicke (26 April, 5:25 pm).
The 45th edition of one of the world’s most celebrated jazz festivals will be the stage for three of the best guitarists ever. In fact, the Crescent City will welcome Eric Clapton (27 April, 5:25 pm), Santana (25 April, 5:10 pm) and Bruce Springsteen (3 May, 4:15 pm), undoubtedly three of the most iconic guitar players of all times.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2014 really has it all: the Crescent City’s best jazzmen and women, international jazz, blues, rock, pop and soul stars and some of the world’s best culinary and cultural events. If there’s an jazz event a jazz enthusiast should attend at least once, it’s without doubt the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
The complete schedule of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival can be found here
25 April – 4 May