May 3, 1979. Photograph by Michael P. Smith, used with permission.
In addition to the attractions at the Fairgrounds, night concerts aboard riverboats were intrinsic to the success of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in its first two decades of development. Pictured above is the Lionel Hampton All Star Big Band performing aboard the S. S. President on May 3, 1979. The band was truly an all-star lineup, featuring saxophonists Illinois Jacquet, Arnett Cobb, Ernie Wilkins, Norris Turney, Paul Moen, and Pepper Adams; trombonists Curtis Fuller, John Gordon, Eddie Bert, and Danny Styles; trumpeters Wallace Davenport, Charles Sullivan, and Jimmy Maxwell; with Norman Simmons on piano, Arvel Shaw on bass, and Duffy Jackson on drums. Hamp, of course, led the band and played vibes. Also on the bill that night was the Ellis Marsalis Quartet Plus 2, making for a memorable event by anyone's standards.