New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana
April 27 – May 6, 2012
By Joseph A. Rosen
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is a special event. It started over 40 years ago as a small, local event featuring local brassbBands, blues artists, Duke Ellington, and Mahailia Jackson. Over the years it has grown into a huge event spanning seven days over two weekends and featuring a wide range of artist from virtually all musical genres.
During the first week this year you could hear a 30-piece Cajun jam session; zydeco stars; blues of all stripes; reggae’s top bands; gospel; world music; AfroBeat; jazz, both modern and traditional; country, and hip-hop, as well as mainstream headliners like Cee Lo Green, the Beach Boys, Tom Petty, Reverend Al Green, and “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen.
It is also an immersion of all things New Orleans and Louisiana, music, food, culture, crafts, interviews, exhibits, and a whole lot more.
The great thing about JazzFest is that it is so vast, with so much going on that one cannot possibly hear and see all of it. One must choose among the joys and pleasures; in that way everyone has their own unique and personal version of JazzFest. I’ve had the pleasure of attending and photographing the festival, both casually and on assignment, for over 20 years, and my motto is “It’s all good and you can’t do it all (or the other way around)!!”
Both my taste and the fact that I was on assignment for Blues Revue and BluesWax, lead me toward the blues, roots, jazz, gospel, Americana (with a dash of world music) end of the spectrum.
What follows are a selection of photos from my JazzFest experience (and this was only the first, shorter weekend!). I hope they capture some of the spirit of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the artists who give us their music.
I hope you enjoy them and I urge you to make plans to attend and support the city, which Mr. Springsteen called the “Mother City of American Music” and create your own personal JazzFest experience. You won’t regret it!
Joseph A. Rosen is one the most awarded and respected photographers in the blues. He is also a photographer for Blues Revue and a photography editor at BluesWax.
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