Here on the Rise Gear blog, we ran down some of the best music festivals to plan your trip around; but left out some important ones: jazz festivals! Some of the most well known music festivals are based around this melodic and groovy genre, and deserve their own special shine. Premiere vocalists and instrumentalists, both up & coming and established have made appearance at one or more of these prestigious festivals over the years. Check out our list of the world's best jazz festivals and find out which one you should head to. Keep in mind the dates vary by year, so check the official website of each one to be sure when to fly in and out.
1. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage FestivalNew Orleans, Louisiana When: Late April - Early May When you talk about jazz, you have to mention the music's birthplace, the city of New Orleans. In its 40 year history, this Jazz has played host to legends like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Sarah Vaughan, Fats Domino & so much more. Be sure to take special advantage of the array of food vendors to experience to true taste of Louisiana.
2. Montreal Jazz FestMontreal, Quebec When: Late June - Early July Over two million people pack the streets of Montreal to take in the sights or cuty and the sweet sounds of Jazz music from over 3,000 artists performing at hundreds of shows around the city; many of them free!
3. Jamaica Jazz & Blues FestivalMontego Bay, Jamaica When: Late January Originally started to bolster tourism during a traditionally slow travel period, the festival has grown exponentially and expanded beyond it's main stages in Montego, spreading to venues all across the island. The festival has hosted acts like Anita Baker, Hall & Oates, Patti Labelle, Lou Rawls, as well as Céline Dion, who is a particular favourite of Jamaican audiences.
4. Havana International Jazz FestivalHavana, Cuba When: Mid to Late December With as much impact as Cuba has had on Jazz music as well as the emergence of Afro-Cuban Jazz, it makes eprfect sense why this tropical city would have its own ode to the genre. A rich mixture of Latin jazz, salsa, and rumba, the sounds of Cuba converge at a number of venues across the city of Havana; bringing you front and centre with the island's history and culture.