Yamaha Drums - New Orleans Jazz Festival 2016

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (NOJHF) was born in 1970 at the Louisiana Heritage Fair when famed concert impresario George Wein handed the microphone to renowned gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, and she and Duke Ellington joined the band of revelers parading with the Eureka Brass Band. Forty-six years later, this joyous celebration of New Orleans’ heritage and its legacy as the birthplace of jazz prevails as one of the world’s most iconic cultural events.

Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) has been the official drum sponsor of NOJHF since 1985. Between April 22-May 1, more than 400,000 people attended events and concert performances at 12 venues on the Fair Grounds and Race Course, just minutes from the historic French Quarter. The company’s new Recording Custom Series of drums debuted on the Acura Stage, and drum sets from the entire Yamaha drum series line were set up on each of the 11 other stages.

"With so many Yamaha drum sets in constant use, the festival provides a brutal road test for instrument performance. We see, first hand, how the drums perform when played by band after band after band," said Dave Jewell, marketing communications manager, YCA. "One reason we have such a longstanding relationship with the festival is that staff from YCA and from our local dealer, Ray Fransen’s Drum Center, make the rounds to every stage each morning to prepare all the drums."

The Recording Custom Series, one of the most iconic Yamaha drum lines, was reintroduced this year after incorporating the latest innovations to produce that legendary sound. Yamaha Artist Steve Gadd collaborated with Yamaha to refine and improve the drum series’ original designs, creating a ‘new classic’ and an immediately recognizable Yamaha tone.

More than 400 bands perform at NOJHF each year and several Yamaha Artists appeared on the 2016 line-up, including Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam), Jamison Ross (Nigel Hall), Dan Needham (Michael McDonald), Oscar Seaton (Terence Blanchard), Otis Brown III (Joe Lovano) and Robert “Sput” Searight/Snarky Puppy (DTX Artist). Throughout seven days of music, the festival showcased the indigenous music, culture and cuisine of New Orleans and Louisiana, and featured blues, jazz, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, Latin, R&B, gospel, rock, folk, rap, country and bluegrass music.

"This festival is all about the excitement of seeing live performances. The organizers do a lot to support local musicians and hire several of this area’s zydeco, Dixieland, gospel, blues and jazz bands," added Jewell. "Many bands make New Orleans their home base and for good reason. As Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam said to me, ‘there are more talented musicians per square mile here than anywhere else in the world’."

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that owns and presents this annual festival. Proceeds are channeled into year-round programs to support the music and culture of New Additional information about Yamaha Corporation of America is available at 4wrd.it/YAMAHAUSA.