With the promise of hearing some great jazz at the 41st Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (being held April 23-May 2), fans will not be disappointed. But, be prepared to encounter almost every other type of music imaginable, with the possible exception of chamber music and Gregorian chants.
Although classical music has yet to make its debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, better known as "Jazz Fest," you never know. There's always a chance a string quartet may someday pop up on the schedule.
For the hundreds of thousands about to pass through the gates of the New Orleans Fairgrounds, as long as the music has a great beat, it doesn't really matter what you call it.
This year's lineup boasts a number of rock and soul veterans, including Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel, The Allman Brothers Band, B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Irma Thomas, Richie Havens, Dr. John, and The Neville Brothers. Rounding out the long list of headliners are Pearl Jam, My Morning Jacket, Anita Baker, Lionel Richie, The Gipsy Kings and Jose Feliciano.
Among the festival's most popular attractions are its local acts, arriving from one end of Louisiana to the other. Beyond the main stage, 11 other stages will feature zydeco, Cajun, brass bands, gospel, country, blues and folk, with a continuous offering of traditional and contemporary jazz and world music.
Jazz Fest officials suggest arriving early to beat the long lines at the internationally-famous Food Fair, as well as the Crafts Fair and Louisiana Marketplace.
The 2010 Jazz Festival poster is a portrait of the late New Orleans singer, songwriter and bandleader Louis Prima, painted by jazzman Tony Bennett. Tributes to Prima, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year, will include performances by his children, Louis Prima, Jr., and Lena Prima, as well as his former wife and collaborator Keely Smith.