New Orleans, Louisiana comes to life every day with live jazz. It echoes throughout Bourbon Street clubs and spills onto the streets of the French Quarter, Marigny, and beyond. The city is rich in spontaneous energy, with quality live music to be found on any given night and brass bands constantly reinventing their sound with improvisation. It's no wonder that New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, continues to be a breeding ground for the genre.
Every year since 1970, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival celebrates the city's unique culture and cultivation of the music genre. It gathers local, national, and international artists, as well as music fans alike, to experience two weekends of Louisiana's musical history, cuisine, and craft marketplaces. Each weekend offers performances by completely different musicians, making it unlike other two-weekend festivals that feature duplicate lineups each time.
This year marked the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival's 50th anniversary, with the fest expanding to eight days in length and featuring a diverse lineup of over 600 acts. Even though two days of rain caused some delays with start times, those small hiccups didn't stop 475,000 festival-goers from flocking to Fairgrounds Race Course to make for the fest's second biggest turnout ever.
Among the attendees was Last.fm's photographer, Steve Galli, who had returned to the fest for his sixth consecutive year. Below are the highlights he captured from the 50th New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Click on the Flickr galleries to catch a glimpse of all the great acts featured this year!
Thursday 25 April: Alanis Morissette gave an energized and emotive performance while expecting her third child—reminiscent of Christina Aguilera's Jazz Fest set in 2014.
Friday 26 April: Santana opened up his set with old video clips from Woodstock in '69 before diving into some sweet, guitar-driven tunes.
Saturday 27 April: Katy Perry performed with New Orleans' own Soul Rebels brass band. Her stage design also featured quotations from poet and New Orleans native, Cleo Wade.
Sunday 28 April: Closing Weekend 1 was a very special and rare performance by the "first family of jazz," which consists of Ellis Marsalis and his four sons, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason.
Thursday 2 May: Singer-songwriter and guitarist Samantha Fish started the day off strong with a compelling set of hearty blues rock.
Friday 3 May: Jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington rung in Friday evening with his progressive and eclectic approach to the genre.
Saturday 4 May: Diana Ross performed a stellar 80-minute set featuring nine outfit changes. Her setlist included mostly songs from her days in The Supremes, such as "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Come See About Me," plus a few Motown covers, including Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers' "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."
Sunday 5 May: John Fogerty celebrated both the fest's and his career's 50th anniversary with his headlining set on Gentilly Stage.
All Photos by Steve Galli for CBS. Words by Chloe Catajan.