Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jazz Fest lineup covers every genre

New Orleans Jazz Fest rolled out its massive seven-day lineup, covering every major popular music genre with marquee names, standout first timers and long-time festival favorites.

The festival claims it's "deepest overall mix of rhythm & blues, rock, jazz, country, blues, gospel, world beat, and more in the 39-year history of the event." Looking over the names it is hard to argue.

First time performers include Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, and Keyshia Cole.

Among returning festival favorites, look for The Neville Brothers, Jimmy Buffett, Santana, Widespread Panic, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and Diana Krall.

Notable collaborations include Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; Elvis Costello and Alain Toussaint; Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea.

Besides the Nevilles, who are returning to the festival for the first time since Katrina, other New Orleans acts include Dr. John, The Radiators, Beausoleil, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.

Despite the festival's name, it has always been strongest in the R&B category. In addition to names already mentioned, R&B performers include Al Green, Keb' Mo', Dianne Reeves. Delbert McClinton, James Cotton, Henry Butler, Irma Thomas and many more.

More names in rock include The Raconteurs, Cupid, Richard Thompson, Derek Trucks and Michael Franti; in roots, John Prine, Del McCoury, The Sparrow Quartet and Carolina Chocolate Drops; and in jazz, Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Patti Austin, and Randy Newman (since I don't know where else to include him).

The festival runs seven days, April 25-27 and May 1-4, at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Performances take place on 11 stages running from 11 am to 7 pm each day.

A full list of performers by festival day is here at the festival web site. The precise stage schedule will be released later.

No comments: