NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A private university says Louisiana's oldest educational jazz festival begins Friday with students from 33 middle school, high-school and college ensembles.

Loyola University of New Orleans says the 49th annual Loyola Jazz Festival is the largest ever. Most of the bands are from high schools, with two each from colleges and middle schools and one from a community college.

Twenty-four of the bands are from Louisiana, with three from Alabama and two each from Texas, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

The student groups perform before judges Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.

Those performances are free. So is a 4:30 p.m. Friday concert by the Loyola Faculty Jazz Septet. The festival closes with a ticketed concert at 4:30 p.m. Saturday by bassist, band leader and arranger John Clayton.

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