We’re celebrating 50 years of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival by looking back at historic performances from the first festival in 1970. We’ll hear live recordings from Jazz Fest royalty, Duke Ellington and the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson. We’ll start with commentary from jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White on Duke Ellington’s New Orleans Suite, which was commissioned by Jazz Fest founder George Wein, premiered at the 1970 festival, and was turned into an iconic studio recording. Then, we’ll hear from Mahalia Jackson in her own words in historic interviews and performances. Also Irma Thomas’ tribute in Jazz Fest’s Gospel Tent; plus Jackson biographer Mark Burford and New Orleans gospel singer Cynthia Girtley on the Gospel Queen’s legacy in and beyond New Orleans. Join us for Jazz Fest’s 50th anniversary with a trip back to its birth in Congo Square, 1970.
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(Photo: via American Routes)