McKnight, Dave Matthews Sign on for Jazz Fest

Organizers of the 32nd annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival rolled out a lengthy list of scheduled performers Sunday. Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Brian McKnight, the Dave Matthews Band, Mystikal, and Wilson Pickett are among the numerous star acts on board for the party, which runs from April 27-29 and May 3-6.

Though the festival's name invokes jazz — and this year's festival will honor jazz innovator Louis Armstrong on the 100th anniversary of his birth — the music typically tilts more toward blues. And pop. This year's lineup includes B.B. King, Dr. John, and Koko Taylor, as well as Simon, The Wallflowers, and Galactic.

Organizers say they chose more local acts — including The Neville Brothers, Fats Domino, and Mystikal — as part of the tribute to hometown hero Armstrong. The two-weekend festival will also feature several jazz tributes to Armstrong, numerous players from Armstrong's All Stars, Hot Five, and Hot Seven, as well as a heftier-than-usual jazz lineup, with legendary drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones and pianists Randy Weston and Ellis Marsalis.

In addition to music events at 12 stages, the festival will, as usual, include parades, crafts, workshops, exhibitions, and a massive array of festival food.

Tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster beginning Feb. 12. A full schedule can be found at the festival's Web site, nojazzfest.com.

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