Smithsonian Folkways to release Jazz Fest 50th anniversary box set

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Published on: March 6th, 2019

Smithsonian Folkways will be releasing the "Jazz Fest: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival" box set this year, celebrating the sights and sounds of the festival! The five disc box set includes unreleased material spanning the years 1974 to 2016 and features 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, and many more. 

The box set is filled with archival photos and essays annotated by Robert H. Cataliotti, plus in-depth notes from Jeff Place and Huib Schippers of Smithsonian Folkways; New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation archivist Rachel Lyons; WWOZ's Director of Content, Dave Ankers; and Jon Pareles of the New York Times. In the foreword, Jazz Fest producer George Wein — also the man behind the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals — looks back at the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Fest, including the delay of its founding due to Jim Crow. 

A number of the songs on the box set come from WWOZ recordings throughout the years. Disc One covers jazz; Discs Two and Three spotlight blues, R&B and gospel; Disc Four features Cajun and zydeco artists; and Disc Five winds the set down with everything from funk to hip-hop. Tune in to WWOZ over the coming months to hear our show hosts' selections from the set. 

Click here to pre-order your copy today! Or pre-order straight from Folkways. 

Preview the set below with Trombone Shorty's 2010 version of 'One Night Only (The March),' a track from his album Backatown, which came out that same year.

Hear even more at this Spotify Sampler (3 songs). 

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