White and Stafford keep tradition in the Jazz Fest (May 9): Decade after decade, a few key men put the “jazz” in the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Thank goodness they’re still going strong.

The Jazz Fest, as it’s usually known, always spans musical genres, with nationally known headliners such as Stevie Nicks, The Who, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ziggy Marley, Lionel Richie, Ludacris, and Jimmy Buffett. Still, it wouldn’t be the extravaganza it is, in the city where it is, with the unique feel that it has, if it weren’t for New Orleans having birthed traditional jazz.

And as the Jazz Fest returned for the last weekend of April and first weekend of May — after missing two years, plus two planned fall makeup sessions, due to the pandemic — its very heart seemed to reside in the Economy Hall traditional jazz tent, in one particular show.

Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band had the patrons alternately hopping and wiping away tears on May 7 as the band played some of the oldest songs in the trad jazz repertoire and what surely is the very newest composition….

Stevie Nicks does … Zeppelin?? (May 12): When rock ’n’ roll legend Stevie Nicks played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 7, she repeatedly spoke of how it was the first time she had performed live onstage in nearly three years.

Two weeks shy of her 74th birthday, Nicks exuded a vibe that was vibrant yet vulnerable. The nationwide pandemic cancellations, including two regularly scheduled Jazz Fests and two abandoned attempts at autumn makeup Fests, threw performers and fans alike “off their games,” unsure of when or even if they would have a chance to let loose again.

As Nicks interspersed Fleetwood Mac hits such as “Rhiannon,” “Dreams,” and “Landslide” with solo hits such as “Edge of Seventeen,” she also paid homage several times to her late rocker friend Tom Petty….



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