TVD Live: Jazz Fest,
The Second Weekend,
5/4–5/7

PHOTOS: EDDY GUTIERREZ | Visitors and locals alike at the second weekend of the 48th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival got a taste of three seasons of New Orleans weather at what is arguably the most inclusive festival in the world. More musical genres than can be named by most casual music fans and every demographic was represented on the stages at the New Orleans Fairgrounds. Thursday felt like winter, Friday and Saturday were spring-like, and Sunday got downright hot.

The Meters closed out the Gentilly stage on Sunday in one of the iconic band’s increasingly more common performances following years of discord among the musicians. Guitarist Leo Nocentelli (pictured at top) along with bassist George Porter, Jr., drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, and keyboardist Art Neville were joined by a full horn section and keyboardist Ivan Neville.

Funk was just one of the many styles on stage at the Jazz Fest. Rhiannon Giddens (pictured above and below) made her second appearance as a solo artist. Her latest recording puts slave narratives from centuries past into a mix of string-based musical styles. Her siren voice and chilling lyrics had some in the tent weeping.

The Chilluns, a New Orleans intergenerational super group featuring members of three musical families—the Malones, the Bohrens and the Clements—played exuberant covers including a powerful take on The Band’s “The Weight” by bassist Annie Clements (pictured below).

The Dads in the band, including guitarist Dave Malone (pictured below), let the kids do the singing and his son, Johnny, rendered an emotional version of his father’s original song, “I Don’t Speak Love.”

Jazz, including local legends, locals who have reached the national stage, and musical icons, was well represented. Trumpeter Herb Alpert (pictured  below) and his wife vocalist Lani Hall played an elegant set that featured their lively repartee.

Germaine Bazzle (pictured below) spent much of her career as a music teacher. Now retired, she plays out much more often and her set in the Jazz Tent displayed the joyous disposition of one of New Orleans’ greatest vocalists.

Erica Falls (pictured below) is making a name for herself as one of the greats of the next generation of New Orleans vocalists. She sings with noveau funk band Galactic and leads a killer band of her own which features bassist and bandleader Donald Ramsey and guitarist June Yamagishi. She sat in with Galactic later the same day.

Terence Blanchard (pictured below) has built a dual career. He scores films, most notably for Spike Lee, and continues to make spellbinding, cutting edge jazz albums. His latest work features a young band that positively rocks out.

Hip-hop was well represented across both weekends of the Jazz Fest. Young artists and veterans from New Orleans as well as legends like Snoop Dogg (pictured below) turned the Congo Square stage into a showcase for a musical style that has come to define a generation much like jazz and the blues before it.

Speaking of the blues, there were plenty of blues acts on stages across the Fairgrounds including in the Blues Tent, which featured acts from across the many permutations of the genre. Elder statesman Buddy Guy (pictured below) tore up the Gentilly stage and impressed many younger fans with his athleticism as well as his unique touch on the guitar.

Dave Matthews (pictured below) has played the Jazz Fest before with his well-regarded band. This year he played an acoustic set with fellow guitarist Tim Reynolds. Jimmy Buffet, the highest profile guest I heard about, made a cameo, one-song appearance.

The Cuban musicians who were in town dazzled on nearly every stage including the people-watching and parading stage that is the infield itself. The Conga parade wound around the paved path a couple of times each day.

The musicians, one of whom is pictured below, played and sang as they demonstrated a celebration that has much in common with the second line and Mardi Gras Indian culture of New Orleans. Of course, that was the point of selecting Cuba as the featured nation in the first place.

When all was nearly played and done, choices had to be made. Chucho Valdes, the great Cuban pianist, was in the Jazz Tent. The Meters were on the Gentilly stage, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (pictured below) and Orleans Avenue closed out the Acura stage. Our great photographer managed to get shots of two of the three.

Andrews was in fine form with an augmented band featuring two female vocalists, Rebirth Brass Band trumpeter Glenn Hall and second drummer Alfred Jordan. It took him less than a New York minute to get the band going. At the end, he dashed down the middle of the barricades leading to the soundboard and jumped into the crowd. He had everyone pogoing and singing along as a nearly full moon rose into the violet sky of another year ending at Jazz Fest.

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