Blazing Through the 2023 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

in Culture

A lot has changed in the world since Steve Diamond first reported on the New Orleans Jazz Festival for the January 1st, 1979 issue of High Times Magazine.

Back then, current Jazz Fest juggernaut Tipitina’s was in its infancy—the historic music venue having only operated for a year at the time of Diamond’s piece—and the New Orleans music scene as a whole played host to a variety of different sights, sounds, and flavors that, for certain folks today, remain a distant memory—and for others—something they’ll have to read or hear stories about to experience.

“Jazz Fest is an annual celebration of the people of New Orleans, like Mardi Gras,” Quint Davis, longtime producer/director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, said. “It’s one of the most powerful economic drivers for the city—like the New Orleans Saints and tourism itself—generating over $300m in economic impact. For hotels, restaurants, music clubs, and musicians it’s an essential part of their annual income.”

While a lot has changed, many aspects of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival remain the same—including some of its most heralded performers gracing both Festival and local stages around the city throughout the decades.

Two such musicians to hail from the Crescent City, George Porter Jr. and Ivan Neville, both of whose prominence spans multiple decades—Porter Jr. with The Meters in the 60s and 70s and Neville with his father Aaron Neville and Uncle Art “Poppa Funk” Neville’s group the Neville Brothers in the 80s and 90s—remain as relevant then as they are today, continuing to serve as pioneers of funk and melodic freedom with the distinct funkiness of New Orleans.

The recent announcement of The Rolling Stones toplining the New Orleans Jazz & …

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Author: Stephen Laddin / High Times

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