This heady experiment in cross-cultural programming filled Otis Spann Memorial Field with 12,000 ecstatic celebrants for five shows that combined Howlin' Wolf, Jr. Walker & the All-Stars and Sun Ra & His Arkestra; Muddy Waters, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Koko Taylor and Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers; Bobby "Blue" Bland, Pharaoh Sanders, Dr. John and Little Sonny; Freddie King, Archie Shepp, Sippie Wallace, Bonnie Raitt and Luther Allison; Miles Davis, Otis Rush, Lightnin' Slim, Leo Smith & Marion Brown, Robert Lockwood and Johnny Shines.

The 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival was a three-day smashing success, bringing 12,000 people together for each of five shows of some of the finest great black music now being blown from humanity's guts on the planet. No words can possibly describe what took place on the stage or among the people during those incredible days. The photographs we've chosen for these pages will give you a much better sense of what happened than anything we can say here, and better still soon you'll be able to hear much of the music when a double-album of highlights recorded at Otis Spann Field is released next spring by Atlantic Records.

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