To celebrate the fiftieth year of The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has announced the May 10 release of the new box set, Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The 5-disc set is presented as a large-format, 12″x12″ book. Inside its 136 pages are numerous photos spanning the festival’s history, plus many essays and discographical annotations. There’s a forward from festival founder George Wein, as well as notes from Jeff Place and Huib Schippers from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation archivist Rachel Lyons; WWOZ’s Director of Content, Dave Ankers; and The New York Times‘ Jon Pareles.
The music promises to be equally impressive. The five disc box set includes previously unreleased from the vault of WWOZ Radio and beyond. It totals up to 300 minutes of music spanning the years 1974 to 2016. Disc 1 spotlights jazz, while Discs 2 and 3 feature R&B, blues, and gospel. Disc 4, meanwhile, celebrates Zydeco, Cajun and other New Orleans regional music, and Disc 5 brings the funk, along with rock, blues, and hip-hop. Among the legendary artists present are Irma Thomas, Professor Longhair, The Dixie Cups, The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint (appearing solo and with Bonnie Raitt), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dr. John, Terence Blanchard, and Trombone Shorty, whose “One Night Only” is now available as a digital single (see below).