Some Natchitoches Jazz lovers started a festival some 22 years ago that they first referred to as “The Natchitoches Jazz Festival” and, as the name suggested, it principally featured jazz music. The following year, organizers decided to incorporate other types of music into the event and the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival was born.

This year’s festival which will be held on the downtown Natchitoches Riverbank on April 15th & 16th, will be headlined by Grand Funk Railroad, Midnight Star, and a tribute to Elvis Presely featuring James Burton and Estelle Brown on Saturday night, by Grammy-winning zydeco legend Wayne Toups on Friday night. In between, there will be 30 acts featured on 4 stages, representing many genres of music, from rock & roll, to country, to blues, to funk, to soul, to R&B, and yes, plenty of jazz.

The Jazz aficionado who may believe that the inclusion of all these other types of music has “watered down” the amount of jazz presented at the event, will be happy to learn that that is definitely not the case.

First of all, this year as has been the case nearly every year since the festival’s inception, Saturday’s events will be kicked off with a performance by the NSU Jazz Orchestra, which will feature around 25 musicians on stage.

A true jazz lover, if he or she desires, could then spend the entire day at the Jazz Stage in the beautiful setting of Beau Jardin, which is nestled under the spreading Oak Trees behind the Roque House.

Jazz Stage Chairman, Luke Brouillette, says that the Jazz Stage will feature an eclectic mix of different types of jazz music sure to please the ear of any jazz fan. When asked to outline this year’s acts he had this to say “I’m really excited about this year’s lineup on the jazz stage. At 1:00PM we’re going to hear from Dave Duplissey who is a very fine saxophonist that has been inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame twice. You can find Dave’s many recordings online at cdbaby and iTunes. At 2:15 we’ll be listening to the NSU Jazz Combo. Don’t let the fact that they are a school group fool you – these guys are dangerously good and some heavy players. At 3:30 The Cypress Lake Sextet takes the stage. The sextet is comprised mostly of music faculty of ULL. These guys are jazz monsters – you don’t want to miss it. At 4:45 is the Sabine River Brass Band playing in a traditional New Orleans brass band style that will get you feeling good and ready to dance. At 6:00 is the Lukejazz Quintet featuring jazz styles with a contemporary edge from some of the leading area musicians.”

Brouillette says that Beau Jardin is the perfect setting to enjoy jazz music. “You will be able to sit under the massive Oak Tree, sip a little wine or other beverages that will be provided there, and, listen to some of the finest Jazz Music you can hear anywhere,”. He added “In between songs and acts, you will be serenaded by birds and water rushing down the gorgeous water fall. It just doesn’t get much better than that.”

For more information concerning the Natchitoches Jazz R&B Festival, go to http://www.natchjazzfest.com