Smithsonian Folkways will release a comprehensive five-CD box set of live recordings of the Jazz and Heritage Fest in celebration of its 50th year on May 10.
Presenting the sounds as one would hear them roaming the 145 acre New Orleans Fairground Racetrack, the box set focuses on Louisiana music from Jazz to Bounce, Zydeco to Gospel, Brass bands to R&B.
Spanning from 1974 to 2016, the set will feature key moments with celebrated artists like Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Big Freedia, Professor Longhair, The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint (solo and in a duet with Bonnie Raitt), Dr. John, Kermit Ruffins, Terence Blanchard, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Champion Jack Dupree, and Buckwheat Zydeco, among others.
It will also be accompanied by a 135-page book of exclusive photographs and historical essays.
Each track was selected by a committee who know the 50 year history of the festival intimately, recreating the joy and spirit of Jazz Fest. Most recordings, taken from the archives of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and WWOZ, have never been released commercially.
The production was made possible by the support of the Helis Foundation that has pledged to donate copies of the box set to every branch of the New Orleans Public Library so all citizens can enjoy the unique collection.
You can pre-order the box set here.