New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival starts today, welcoming people from all over the world to see some of the biggest jazz acts in it. Performers like Billy Joel, Jill Scott and Maroon 5 are on the line up of this years ten-day festival. During the festival, you’ll have a chance to listen and learn about jazz in its birthplace, but if the festival isn’t enough to feed your appetite for the music genre, there are plenty more ways to do so while visiting New Orleans.
Night in a NOLA’s best jazz bars
A dark bar with nothing but one blue spotlight shining on the ten-man band on stage. Trombones, saxophones and pianos bring the room to life, as you get to know the person next to you in the packed house. This is how jazz is meant to be heard.
Obviously the best way to experience NOLA’s music scene is by visiting a bar to watch a live performance. There is no shortage of unique and historically important venues in the city. From a 40-year-old, traditional jazz house like Preservation Hall to a modern jazz joint like Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club.
photo credit: imsioban
Discover new artists
On top of soaking up NOLA’s music history, you should get to know the jazz of today and its future. The streets are literally filled with performers just starting out in New Orleans, as are the city’s many universities. Home to Loyola University New Orleans, University of New Orleans and Tulane University, check out what performances the music programs at these schools have scheduled during your visit.
Tour the city in the footsteps of Louis Armstrong
There is no bigger icon in New Orleans jazz than Louis Armstrong. The 1920s trumpet and cornet player was born and started his career in NOLA. You’ll notice city’s admiration for the jazz legend upon arrival at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Here’s where to go to walk on the jazz prodigy’s footsteps.
Go on a jazz tour
If you want to get a taste of all the jazz venues New Orleans has to offer, while learning about the city’s history, join a jazz tour. Several companies offer different tours around the French Quarters, Bourbon Street and even on the Mississippi River, including Viator, Gray Line and Big Easy Tours.
Find out what’s happening underground
There’s something about music that makes people really want to be different in their taste and find venues that are unknown to popular culture. Since jazz’s roots were very much underground or secret at the turn of the 20th century, that is especially the case with this music genre. After Hurricane Katrina ravished New Orleans destroying several of the city’s most-loved music venues, a few secret spots kept the music playing. Forbes writes about New Orleans’s secret jazz joints.