New Orleans

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Dr. John, an ambassador of New Orleans music and heritage as iconic as Mardis Gras Indians and brass bands, has died at age 77. Since emerging in the late 1960s as the mystical Night Tripper bedecked in feathers, jewels and bones, the pianist, songwriter and session musician born as Malcom John Rebennack, Jr. led a long parade of joy, propelled by swampy funk, primal R&B and an instantly recognizable voice.

Smithsonian Folkways

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival just wrapped its 50th edition. If you've never attended, there's no way to effectively convey the feeling of entering the grounds and hearing the energy surging at you from multiple stages. It's a roots music and American culture life goal. Those memories get a stir on a new silver anniversary box set, out today from Smithsonian Folkways. It's a trove of unreleased recordings drawn from the years 1974 to 2016.