Down South in New Orleans

Text and photos by Joel A. Siegel

That’s a wrap for the latest edition of New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Here are a few snapshots to tide you over till the next one rolls around.

This year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was blessed with eight days of perfect weather —  no rain, but enough clouds to keep things cool.

The first weekend of Jazz Fest (April 25-28) included the usual wide range of musical styles, most with a connection to Louisiana. Also as usual, the festival highlighted the culture and music of a foreign country with a link to New Orleans; this year, there were more than 10 ensembles from Colombia performing at the Cultural Exchange Pavilion, including Gaita Loop and Argupación Changó.

Festival headliners included NEA Jazz Masters Kenny Barron, Charles Lloyd and Donald Harrison. Other jazz performers of note: pianist-vocalist Patrice Rushen; pianists Gerald Clayton (with Charles Lloyd) and Oscar Rossignoli (a Honduran now based in New Orleans); 91-year old saxophonist Charlie Gabriel (with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band); saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin; New Orleans songbird Robin Barnes; trombonist Wycliffe Gordon; drummer Herlin Riley (playing with Wycliffe Gordon); organist Davell Crawford; trombonist Steve Turre; pianist Victor Atkins; percussionist Alexey Marti (a Cuban transplant to New Orleans); pianist Victor Campbell (another native Cuban now based in New Orleans); singer John Boutte; trumpeter Nicholas Payton; and the vocal group Naturally 7. Of course, no Jazz Fest experience is complete without visits to the Gospel Tent and to the Economy Hall Tent for traditional New Orleans brass bands.

Following are some images from the first weekend of the 2024 Jazz Fest.


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