NO Jazz and Heritage Festival performers announced

The performers for the upcoming 40th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival represent the musical spectrum and a variety of musical eras. Featured performers for the seven-day event that covers two weekends include Erykah Badu, Third World, Dave Matthews Band, Earth, Wind & Fire, Etta James & the Roots Band, The Robert Cray Band, Neil Young, Los Lobos, Joe Cocker, James Taylor, Wilco, Jakob Dylan, and The Whispers.

Also performing are Common, Sugarland, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt, Bon Jovi, Kings of Leon, The O’Jays, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Emmylou Harris, Pete Seeger, and Solomon Burke.

Festival dates are April 24-26 and April 30-May 3.

Local favorites who will perform include Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Irma Thomas, Tab Benoit, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Soul Rebels, Rebirth Brass Band, and Dr. John, among many others.

Groups from around the world also will be represented. Ladysmith Redlions of South Africa, Fred Dupin’s New Bumpers Revival Jazz Band of France, Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective, Bombes2Bal of France, Yacub Addy & Odadaa! of Ghana, Masankho K Banda of Malawi, Ilˆ Ayiˆ of Brazil, Theatre Coatimundi of France, Crocodile Gumboot Dancers of South Africa, and the Ori Culture Danse Club of Benin are among those performing.

For those looking for gospel music, acts include the Mississippi Mass Choir, a tribute to Mahalia Jackson featuring Irma Thomas, Mavis Staples and Pamela Landrum, the New Orleans Spiritualettes, the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir, the McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir, Connie and Dwight with St. Raymond/St. Leo Gospel Choir, the Inspirational Gospel Singers, and The Mighty Chariots of Fire,

Universities in New Orleans will also play a role at Jazzfest, including the Xavier University Jazz Band, UNO Jazz Combo, Loyola University Jazz Band, Tulane University Jazz Combo, and Dillard University Jazz Band.

With the festival being in New Orleans, Mardi Gras Indians will be featured prominently. Those acts include Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias, Comanche Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Ninth Ward Navajo Mardi Gras Indians, Semolian Warriors Mardi Gras Indians, Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians, and the Golden Comanche, Seminoles, and Golden Blade Mardi Gras Indians,

This year’s festival will be a poignant one for local musicians because New Orleans R&B legend Snooks Eaglin, who was scheduled to perform May 3, died on Feb. 18.

For updates and more information, visit www.nojazzfest.com.