American Blues & Jazz

A History of American Music

14 Days

Starting At $CUSTOM
Come and listen to the music that defines a nation. You learn the basics with Dixieland Jazz in New Orleans then hear the influence of Creole and Cajun Music in the Louisiana Bayous before embarking on the Mississippi Blue Trail. Armed with that rudimentary knowledge of Jazz you learn of slave music on the plantations, and hear how it co-mingled with Jazz, then moved north into the Cities of America after our slaves were freed. While Jazz and Blues were two distinct music forms - they also combined to create Rock n’ Roll. Join us on this great adventure and get your Mojo on.

American Blues & Jazz

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• New Orleans Sightseeing (LA)
• Dixieland Jazz Cruise
• Court of Two Sisters & Preservation Hall
• Cajun Country Folklife Park
• Cajun & Creole Music with dinner
• Mississippi Blues Trail (MS)
• Frogmore Plantation Slave Wedding
• Blues Nightclub in Natchez
• B.B. King Museum
• “The Crossroads” in Clarksdale
• Mo Jo Tour in Memphis (TN)
• Graceland & Beale Street
• Jazz at The Bistro in St Louis (MO)
• Chuck Berry’s Blueberry Hill
• Chicago Blues Heritage Tour (IL)
• Dinner at Buddy Guy’s “Legends”
Tour Inclusions:
• Three Nights in New Orleans
• One Night in Lafayette, LA (Cajun Country)
• One Night in Natchez, MS
• One Night in Jackson, MS
• One Night in Clarksdale, MS
• Three Nights in Memphis, TN
• One Night in St Louis, MO
• Two Nights in Chicago, IL
• 13 Breakfasts
• 1 Brunch
• 7 Dinners

Tour Options

Did you know?  That jazz was born in the United States? And that the drum set was invented by jazz musicians? Or that The Blues is the foundation of jazz as well as the prime source of rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music?

Day 1- New Orleans –  Arrive in New Orleans, LA  for a three-night stay in a French Quarter hotel.  Dinner is on own this evening.

Day 2 –  New Orleans – This morning begins with a narrated New Orleans City Sightseeing Tour.  You will travel by the historic parts of the French Quarter, where you will see some of the oldest sections of the city: Jackson Square, the towering St. Louis Cathedral, the infamous Bourbon Street and the bustling French Market.  No visit to New Orleans would be complete without a tour in one of the historic cemeteries, where you will find the above ground tombs that inhabit these “cities of the dead.” Tonight, savor the beauty and romance of the New Orleans skyline aboard the last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River. Climb aboard the Steamboat Natchez for an included Dixieland Jazz Dinner Cruise.

Day 3 – New Orleans – Start with brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, offers an authentic blend of food, history and music. In this picturesque old-world courtyard with original gas lights and flowing fountains, is a historic restaurant with a strolling trio that plays real New Orleans Jazz music. Your afternoon is then free to enjoy The Quarter’s many shops, boutiques and entertainment venues.  Dinner is on your own. We recommend that you visit the Preservation Hall, a unique venue featuring the distinctive sound of New Orleans Jazz that embodies the city’s musical legacy. You may easily travel around New Orleans on foot or by public transportation.

Day 4 – Lafayette – From New Orleans enjoy a scenic drive through rural Louisiana swamps and marshes to Lafayette, located in the heart of Cajun Country. This region is rich in tradition and full of the energy and spirit that has made South Louisiana world renown. The Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park were created to preserve and represent Acadian, Creole and Native American cultures within the region. Vermilionville is the largest physical representation of Acadian and Creole culture in the world. It is a place for music, food, expression, cultural exchange, historic architecture and much more. Witness a lifestyle as it occurred during a time period spanning from 1765 to 1890 where you will find craftspeople in period clothing, historic and period reproduction buildings and homes, plus live Cajun and Creole music.  This evening enjoy fine food and entertainment at Pont Breaux’s Cajun Restaurant, where authentic flavors and music fill the night.

Day 5 – Natchez – Today you embark upon the Mississippi Blues Trail. The Blues, with its roots in plantation culture, is a style of music created by slaves who later in post Civil War generations brought it to the cities where it merged with and influenced Jazz, Gospel and Rock n’ Roll.

Enroute to Natchez, visit the Frogmore Cotton Plantation in Ferriday, LA.  Hear the story of cotton in the antebellum era of the South when slaves tended these fields. Equally as important as the agricultural history that the plantation cared for, is the human story. Attend a slave wedding or a church sing. You may hear song coming from the slave quarters as re-enactors portray the lives of their ancestors.

Your next stop is the Delta Music Museum where you will learn how and why music interplayed daily in the lives of the slaves and sharecroppers. Discover how earlier music transformed into Rhythm and Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Listen to intimate stories about Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Aaron Neville, Conway Twitty, Percy Sledge and other Ferriday native musicians. You also have a chance to hear their music.

Overnight lodging is in Natchez, MS on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi and amidst magnificent antebellum homes, fascinating history, exciting events and a romantic atmosphere. Your stay features two nights lodging in an antebellum mansion or historic home.  Dinner is served at a historic district restaurant tonight featuring live music.

Day 6 – Jackson, MS – This morning you motor along the historic two-lane rural road known as the Natchez Trace, and travel as far as Jackson, MS. At the end of your drive you find Raymond’s Little Big Store.  This is an historic building filled with records, tapes (8-Track Cassettes), CD’s, posters, magazines and all kinds of music-related stuff.

Overnight this evening in Jackson, MS.  Here is your chance to explore the Farish Street redevelopment. This street is to Jackson what Beale Street is to Memphis. Listen to the famous “Farish Street Sound” at the area’s all-new clubs and restaurants. You will also find phonograph shops, record stores, historic theaters and countless stories of bluesmen.

Day 7 – Clarksdale – This morning you travel through Yazoo City, MS, known for the unique Bentonia style of Blues, on your way to the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, MS. Your tour begins in the theater and leads you on a journey through the Mississippi Delta and into the life of B.B. King. The Center features the very latest in high-definition projection and audio technology.  You are immersed in the sights and sounds of the Delta, and then introduced to the remarkable legacy of a man known as the King of the Blues. Have lunch on your own at a restaurant near the museum.

The day ends in Clarksdale, located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 (“the crossroads.”) Clarksdale and the surrounding Delta region are known as “the land where the blues began.” This evening enjoy a Southern Barbecue dinner and live music at Ground Zero, a restaurant/juke joint that is co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Day 8 – Memphis – Your morning features a visit to the Delta Blues Museum, an internationally acclaimed museum that showcases the history and significance of the Blues in this region. The museum features a wax figure of Blues great, Muddy Waters and the famous Muddywood Guitar. Many now-legendary musical artists, were born and raised in and around Clarksdale: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Ike Turner, Jackie Brenston, Sam Cooke, Junior Parker and W. C. Handy. The likes of Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and Charley Patton are also associated with the museum.

Next, visit the Rock and Blues Museum. It is packed full of music memorabilia dating from the 1920’s through the 1970‘s.  During your visit, follow the evolution of America’s music, from Blues, R&B, and Rockabilly to Rock ‘n Roll and Soul and see how it influenced people all over the globe.   Travel to Memphis for a three night stay. You will be close to Beale Street so you may conveniently enjoy the sights and sounds and have dinner on own.

Day 9 – Memphis – Your day begins with an included visit to the Rock ‘n Soul Museum. The museum offers a historical and educational exploration of the origins of Rock and Soul music, of the musical legends that overcame racial and socio-economic barriers to create America’s music and of its influence on world culture.

Your next stop is Graceland where you will tour the mansion where Elvis lived during his adult life. You will also see his private airplanes, automobiles and special exhibits.  Return to Beale Street to enjoy another evening among the Blues Clubs and restaurants.

Day 10 – Memphis – This morning is dedicated to recording, where you begin at Stax Records.  Stax is important in American music history, as it is one of the most popular Soul Music record labels of all time – second only to Motown. Next, visit the legendary Sun Studios, the most famous recording studio in the world.  The afternoon features a one-of-a-kind driving tour of Memphis’ musical heritage. Your Mo Jo Tour features live music on the bus, so you are guaranteed to have a good time as you learn about the sights and sounds of the City.  Enjoy dinner tonight at B.B. Kings on Beale Street!

Day 11 – St. Louis – This morning’s travel takes you to St Louis where you arrive mid afternoon. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure to explore the city. Check into your hotel for an overnight stay.  Enjoy a dinner and show combo, “Jazz at the Bistro.” There are several other local clubs that offer live entertainment such as Chuck Berry’s Blueberry Hill.

Day 12 – Chicago –  Travel to Chicago where you will arrive mid afternoon. Enjoy time at your leisure in the City. Overnight accommodations for two nights are in a downtown hotel.  Prepare yourself for an evening of Blues entertainment.  Begin with dinner, on your own, followed by visits to Chicago’s multitude of entertainment venues.

Day 13 – Chicago – This morning, embark on a Chicago Blues Heritage Tour.  This musical movement began as rural Southerners migrated to industrial jobs in the city and brought their music with them. Witness all of the places important to the evolution of the Blues:  Maxwell Street, the 708 Club and Chess Records (now home to the Blues Heaven Foundation.) Learn about the State Street Stroll and the Blues District and witness Vee Jay Records and the Blues Brothers Mural. Your farewell evening features dinner and music at the renowned Buddy Guy’s “Legends.”

Day 14 –  After breakfast, depart for home.