For its 36th annual edition, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has confirmed a rich and eclectic lineup befitting its storied history.

For its 36th annual edition, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival has confirmed a rich and eclectic lineup befitting its storied history. From hip-hop superstar Nelly and veteran singer/songwriter James Taylor to a new stage devoted to the traditional and contemporary sounds of the culture of the Big Easy, there will be something to please every sort of music fan.

"Think of New Orleans and New Orleans music as the center of the music universe," Jazz Fest producer/director Quint Davis says. "Any music you can trace to or from that hub is music we've worked with renewed vigor to infuse into the party."

Set for April 22-24 and April 28-May 1, the event will boast 12 performance stages at the Fair Grounds Race Course. Tickets go on sale today (Jan. 31) via the festival's Web site and Ticketmaster. Advance daily tickets are $20 through Feb. 22, when the price will rise to $25; tickets will cost $35 at the gate.

Others among the dozens of artists confirmed to perform include the Dave Matthews Band, B.B. King, Wilco, Trey Anastasio, Isaac Hayes, Widespread Panic, Jack Johnson, Anthony Hamilton, Elvis Costello, the Roots, Steve Winwood, Randy Newman, Buddy Guy, Jamie Cullum, Los Lonely Boys, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Nickel Creek.

Among the native acts on hand will be the Neville Brothers, the Original Meters Reunion, Rebirth Brass Band, the Radiators, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Buckwheat Zydeco and Allen Toussaint. New for 2005 is El Día Latino (Latin Day), slated for April 24 with Juanes and Victor Manuelle leading the bill.

In keeping with tradition, a host of all-star tribute performances are scheduled for the 36th edition of Jazz Fest, including a salute to John Coltrane featuring McCoy Tyner, Ravi Coltrane, James Carter and Charnett Moffett. Also on tap is a tribute to Little Walter featuring Charlie Musselwhite and a send-up of Howlin' Wolf with Eddie Shaw, Hubert Sumlin and Henry Gray.

Natalie Cole will headline an April 21 gala fundraiser for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit organization that presents Jazz Fest. More information about the event, which will also boast a "Trumpet Summit" with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers, Big Sam and Troy Andrews, can be found at the NOJHF Web site.