Friends of the Cabildo will present its annual screening of seven different 16mm film reels from the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 21, just one day before this year’s fest kicks off.
The gathering will take place at the Old U.S. Mint’s 3rd Floor Performance Space, with one showing at 6pm and another at 7:30pm. Dr. Charles Chamberlain will moderate the evening, while the Band-In-A-Pocket Jazz Trio will perform during sections that do not include sound.
The films were shot by former WDSU cameraman and New Orleans Jazz Club co-founder Don Perry, who documented the first Jazz Fest at the Munipal Auditorium in 1970. He donated the reels to the Louisiana State Museum in 1978, and they were digitized for future generations in 2012. The seven seperate films feature a plenty of iconic New Orleans artists and jazz legends like Mahalia Jackson, Pete Fountain, Danny Barker and Duke Ellington.
The inaugural New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival took place April 23-26, 1970 (yes, it was only one weekend then), and included sets from the aforementioned artists plus Snooks Eaglin, The Meters, Fats Domino, Clifton Chenier, Al Hirt, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.
The festival’s 47th incarnation will kick off next week, and will feature headlining performances from Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tedeschi Trucks Band & Friends, Van Morrison, Snoop Dogg, Beck, Janelle Monae, Herbie Hancock & Wayne Shorter and others.
Space for is limited for each of the screenings, and tickets will be a donation to Friends of the Cabildo. Reservation can be made here.