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The Big Easy Hosts 42nd Annual Jazz & Heritage Festival

For 42 years, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has celebrated the city’s rich cultural and musical history. SABIAN has been a proud sponsor for well over 20 of those years — this year as always, dozens of amazing SABIAN artists were among the hundreds of acts performing on 14 stages, satisfying musical tastes of every persuasion.

Legendary Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste is a major celebrity in New Orleans, and he performed wonderfully in support of his new album, “New Life”. Harvey Mason is another legend who performed with his Grammy award winning band Fourplay. Tony Braunagel is another SABIAN endorser – playing with Robert Cray, he demonstrated ears as big as his pocket! Even though he sprained his ankle badly a half-hour before stage time, he played the full set, and headed to the hospital for treatment straight after. Dane Clark has been drumming with John Mellencamp for 15 years, and he made a big splash starting the show on a cocktail kit, the perfect accompaniment for Mellencamp’s rootsy vibe. Other notables were Sammy Figueroa shining on percussion with Sonny Rollins, Fred LeBlanc with Cowboy Mouth, and Stefanie Eulinberg with Kid Rock.

A perennial treat at the Jazz Festival is the Music Heritage Stage, which features performers in a “Story Tellers” setting. This year, Dr. John presided over a tribute to his long time drummer and SABIAN artist Herman Ernest, who passed away from cancer in March 2011. He and drummer Shannon Brown recounted tales of Herman’s huge personality, and demonstrated some of the grooves that made him famous. Be sure to check out these videos of Herman doing his thing – he is a player who should not to be forgotten!


The main stage featured a parade of legendary artists from all musical genres: Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp were but a few of the performers the audiences flocked to see. Of course, New Orleans is famous for its specific brand of jazz, so little wonder that the Jazz Tent showcased innovative masters like Ahmad Jamal and modern composers like Terence Blanchard. And as expected, the Blues Tent was kept hopping with artists like Robert Cray and Keb’ Mo’.

For years, SABIAN has a proud supplier of cymbals for all stages so that drummers can pack light and breathe easy, knowing they’ll be able to do their thing on the highest quality cymbals. The Artisan cymbals at the Jazz Tent were a particular hit this year. A thousand thanks to Ray & Frank (Ray Fransen’s Drum Center) for partnering with SABIAN to bring these amazing cymbals to the Jazz & Heritage Festival!

We’ll be back in NOLA for the 2012 Festival – we look forward to seeing you there!


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