It’s the Crescent City celebration rivaled only by Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a magnet of music, food, and folk art embracing Louisiana and beyond. From Louis Armstrong to zydeco, we’ll sample some of the soundscape and the cuisine of the festival. Plus conversations with visiting singer and musical philosopher Oscar Brown Jr., and an in-depth look at the Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indian tribe – a New Orleans institution that’s been featured at every single Jazz Fest since 1970.
Visiting literal makers of music, crafters of instruments and sounds. Luthier Wayne Henderson takes us to his Virginia workshop for an old-time country jam session with Doc Watson. Robert Moog, of Moog Synthesizer fame, tells about creating electronic keyboards, and Sam Phillips of Memphis’ Sun Records recounts the reverb slap that shaped the sound of rock and rollers Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
Beat the heat with the gospel shouts of the Blind Boys of Alabama! The five octogenarian singers talk about the deep faith that keeps the music going. Plus the unique harmonies of Native American trio Ulali, and a tribute to the late zydeco accordionist Boozoo Chavis.
This week we focus on some of the great women in music. The 82-year old jazz diva Anita O’Day talks about her rebound from years of drug abuse, and rockabilly shouter Wanda Jackson recounts her 50 years in the male-dominated music business. We’ll also pay a visit to soul queen Betty Wright, and listen to many other female voices that have helped shape the American musical soundscape.