Where else on this planet can you witness such a strong group of musical talent at one great venue with ten stages operating from 11:00am till 7:00pm for two straight long weekends? Only at the arguably the best festival in the world, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival!

This was my fifth consecutive trip to New Orleans for the Festival, and while I could only attend one of its two glorious weekends, I observed a slew of diverse music. Starting my first day with the great Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentleman, The Lil’ Band of Gold, my good friends the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, whose horn section stayed on stage to back Galactic, and a closing dose of Cyril Neville & the Uptown All-stars. That was just one days worth of music!

Day two, started with Henry Butler, Terrence Simien who never disappoints, Donald Harrison’s wild show presenting Indian Blues Revisited which was wonderful, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Cassandra Wilson, and I topped off the day with the absolutely fabulous Sam Butera & the Wildest, who brought back so many fine memories for me when Sam was in the sax chair in Louie Prima’s band.

On my final day I started the festivities with the amazing Eddie Bo, The Rebirth Brass Band, Keb’ Mo’, Snooks Eaglin, the very under-rated Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, and finished my day with Joe Cocker.

New Orleans has so much to offer with its great restaurants and club nightlife as well. If you head on down to the Big Easy try to hang around for Piano Night as well, which is always held in town on the first Monday after the first weekend of music.

If you have never been to New Orleans, this Festival is your biggest excuse to find a way to get there. You will not be disappointed by the experience of it all.

Keep checking our web site, for the 2004 lineup of entertainment.

Bob Putignano, President
NY Blues & Jazz Society
Radio Host @ WFDU’s, “Sounds of Blue”