Here we go again! Jazz Fest 2013 will play out over the course of the next two days. Here are my picks for Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5. The full schedule is here.
SATURDAY | Yesterday I gave you some inside information about the Red Hawk Hunters Mardi Gras Indians. Today I do the same. The Black Feather tribe opens the Jazz and Heritage stage on Saturday. The tribe’s Spy Boy is none other than Stafford Agee, the trombonist for the Rebirth Brass Band. Look for him in the purple suit with the full face, oval-shaped mask.
Last year, I took some friends to the New Orleans Bingo Show! After it was over, they looked at me cockeyed with this “what the hell was that” expression. But upon further reflection they decided it was one of the best shows of the fest. They hit on the Gentilly stage at 12:30 PM.
Three days left. How are your bunions? Got blisters? Callouses? Here are my picks. The full schedule is here.
I always recommend starting your day with some Mardi Gras Indians. The Red Hawk Hunters are one of the younger tribes on the street. Their suits are some of the most impressive in the Indian nation. Here’s a bit of trivia to impress your friends—they sew in the flat, uptown style despite the fact that they hail from CTC—“cross the canal” in the lower 9th ward. You can thank the late, great Big Chief Rudy Bigard of the Ninth Ward Hunters for the cultural cross-pollination.
Sometimes you just have to go check out an act at the Jazz Fest based on something as simple as their name. That’s exactly what I plan to do with Brushy One-String of Jamaica. He hits at 12:10 on the Jazz and Heritage stage.
I never thought that this would happen. (Insert shameless self-promotion) Heck, I never even expected it to happen. But it did. I am being featured today on the Allison Miner Music Heritage stage at 4:30 PM! I will be interviewed about my book, Up Front and Center: New Orleans Music at the End of the 20th Century.
The wonderful writer, author and raconteur John Swenson will be my interlocutor. Because it’s Jazz Fest, and we wouldn’t want you to get bored with a couple of talking heads, Alex McMurray will also be on hand. He will play a few songs, and perhaps add some erudite commentary.
Of course, there is a lot of other music going on out at the New Orleans Fairgrounds on Slacker’s Day. Here are my picks. The rest of the schedule is here.
Many bands play the songs of James Brown, but very few play the music. The fine folks from the Perrier Lounge will be celebrating the 80th birthday of the inimitable Godfather of Soul with a tribute show at the Maple Leaf Bar. The set starts at 2 AM after Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes.
The musical entertainment will be the New Orleans Soul Stars. This super group features some of the funkiest musicians in the Crescent City including Tony Hall on vocals and guitar, Renard Poche on guitar and trombone, Raymond Webber on drums, and Calvin Turner on bass.
The horn section features Tracy Griffin on trumpet, Roderick Paulin, “the Maceo Parker of New Orleans,” and Jeff Watkins on saxophones. Watkins was the featured soloist in the James Brown Band for the last twelve years. James Brown called Watkins, “the 9th wonder of the world.”
Remember—it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Here’s another favorite Jazz Fest aphorism—Jazz Fest happens during the day, so be the early. Here are my picks for Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28. The full schedule is here. Late edit- Hallelujah! First day report- The no-chair zones have been extended to the Congo Square stage!
SATURDAY | One of my fellow pundits was wondering a few weeks ago why Alex McMurray always seems to be scheduled early in the day since he’s a late night kind of guy, and so are his fans. See above, and see you at the Gentilly stage at 11:25 for a scintillating set from our city’s wriest songwriter.
Right after McMurray is a band that has been getting a lot of buzz since Quint Davis, the producer/ director of the Fest and the man we call “the Commander,” mentioned them at the month-out press conference. A Tribe Called Red is part of this year’s focus on Native American culture at the Fairgrounds.
The waiting is over. Our favorite fest is finally here. So, imagine you’re hearing the sonorous voice that emits from the speakers built into modified coolers at the gates of the New Orleans Fairgrounds: “Welcome to the two thousand and thirteen New Or-lee-ans Jazz and Heritage Festival!” Here are your picks for tomorrow, April 26, 2013. The full schedule is here.
The old and the new guard face off right in away in the opening slot. The New Orleans Suspects are on the Acura stage and Flow Tribe is on the Gentilly stage. It’s hard to believe, but the Suspects made their Jazz Fest debut one year ago. Flow Tribe continues to generate lots of attention. You make the choice, but I know where I’ll be.
Trombonist Mark McGrain brings his exciting project, Plunge to the Jazz Tent at 12:15 PM. This band always brings the musical goods, and I am sure that they will be on fire for an opening day set.
New York entertainment photographer Michael Weintrob is debuting a pop-up art gallery during Jazz Fest called InstrumentHead, a surrealist portrait series where legendary musicians pose with their instruments covering their faces. In connection with the Frenchmen Art Market (2121 Chartres Street), the gallery will showcase 75 InstrumentHead icons to be sold as limited-edition fine art prints. 20% of the proceeds will go to New Orleans charities.
Eric McFadden of Parliament Funkadelic, Rob Mercurio of Galactic, Eric Bolivar (Anders Osborne), Nigel Hall, and DJ Logic will perform live at the grand opening Thursday, April 25 at 7 PM.
You have created over 250 unique images of musicians posing with their instruments in front of their faces as part of your InstrumentHead collection. What was the original inspiration for such a unique concept?
When I work with musicians in the studio, I try to do things that spark emotion. By asking people to put instruments in front of their face changes the mood and creates a level of fun during the shoot. One of the first times I did this was in 2006 when I set up a portrait studio on Jam Cruise. I was shooting George Porter Jr. from the Meters and he agreed to do it. That image actually made it into his CD that came out the next year.
New Orleans’ newest live music and dining destination has a stellar music line-up in celebration of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The roster includes both local and national musicians. Click here for the full schedule.
Some of my highlights from the comprehensive schedule include the sultry jazz vocalist Tricia Boutte (tomorrow night, April 24) who is back in town for Jazz Fest.
A special Little Gem Acoustic Night with The Bayou Brothers featuring Dave Malone and Camile Baudoin of the Radiators and the Will Sexton and Shannon McNally Acoustic Duo (Monday, April 29) and a co-bill featuring guitar legend Charlie Hunter with the soulful California Honeydrops (Tuesday, April 30).