Performers will include trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and a member of New Orleans' leading jazz family. Also scheduled to appear are pianist, singer, and bandleader Harry Connick Jr., also a native of New Orleans, and country singer Tim McGraw, who was born in Delhi, Louisiana.
The hour-long special will air live at 8 p.m. on the East Coast and on tape delay in the west. Matt Lauer, of NBC's Today show, will host. Viewers will be urged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund at www.redcross.org.
Marsalis is also scheduled to appear at a benefit on the BET Network on Friday, September 9. Details of that concert are being announced today. Another benefit special, to be broadcast on all of the major networks, is in the works for next week.
New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, has long been synonymous with traditional "Dixieland" jazz (as well as funk, soul, zydeco, and countless other musical strains). In recent decades, it has also become a center for hard-swinging modern jazz, thanks in large part to pianist Ellis Marsalis and his sons: Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, and drummer Jason.