2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival


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The 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival marked the return of pre-Katrina level attendance. Despite the national recession, the festival announced sales of more than 400,000 tickets for the seven-day event over two weekends. As usual, producer Quint Davis did a masterful job blending the various musical components, including New Orleans jazz, national jazz acts, blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, folk, rock, cajun, zydeco, and international artists with a link to New Orleans.
Also as usual, Mr. Davis endured criticism for bringing in national acts with little connection to New Orleans, such as the rock star Bon Jovi. However on the day Bon Jovi performed, 90,000 people turned out, and undoubtedly this helps support the festival and translates into literally thousands of gigs for New Orleans and Louisiana musicians both at the festival and around town during the festival period. The national acts also bring in audiences who would otherwise not be exposed to the music and culture of New Orleans, and this also benefits the local artists.
The controversies add spice to the festival stew, and here's a taste:

Esperanza Spalding (the exciting and energetic young performer, who appeared in February at a White House tribute to Stevie Wonder)

Anat Cohen (in performance and dancing to the music of Pancho Sanchez outside the jazz tent)

Buster Williams (the master appeared as part of Jimmy Cobb's So What Band in tribute to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue album)

Lionel Ferbos (at age 97 Mr. Ferbos is revered as a link to New Orleans' glorious jazz history)

Jonathan Freilich (who founded the great improvisational New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars)

John Scofield (appearing with the New Orleans funk band led by pianist Jon Cleary)

Buddy Guy (on fire at age 72)

Dr. John (a national treasure)

Chuck Brown (the Godfather of Go-Go Funk is seriously cool)

Ellis Marsalis (master pianist, educator, and of course proud father of the New Orleans musical sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason)

Rosie Ledet (princess of zydeco)

Glenn David Andrews with cousin-trumpeter Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews (Glenn had the gospel tent audience on its feet for most of his show)

Shamarr Allen (another great young artist, who brought his latest project combining jazz and hip hop to the jazz tent)

Deacon John (the dapper New Orleans rhythm & blues legend always puts on a fine show)

Tony Bennett & Lee Musiker (another master with his superb accompanist)

Photo Credit

Joel A. Siegel


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