Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day One, 4/25

PHOTO: BRAD BARKET | The good folks who run the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival have had a tough month with both the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac being forced to cancel because of health issues afflicting their singers. But everything’s finally settled and it’s time to fest. TVD will be bringing you picks for every day. Here’s what looks great on what I am calling “Stones Bonus Day,” Thursday, April 25. The full schedule is here.

I always recommend Mardi Gras Indians to start your day and the Spirit of the Fi Yi Yi with Big Chief Victor Harris and the Mandingo Warriors are on the bill. But percussionist Michael Skinkus and his Cuban band Moyuba will be welcoming trumpeter Michael Ray as a special guest.

Ray has a long resume including performing with Sun Ra and Kool and the Gang. He also lived and played up a storm in New Orleans back in the 1990s. It will be great to see him back on stage at the Jazz Fest. Check out his wicked solo in the above video.

I first saw singer Amy Helm (pictured) when her late father, the Band’s drummer, Levon Helm, owned a short-lived club on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. She has a great voice and will definitely bring out some of the classic songs from her father’s repertoire.

Quint Davis, the producer/director of Jazz Fest, makes a serious effort each day to create a cohesive lineup on each stage for fans who like to camp out. I’m not sure if this has ever happened before, but the schedule on the Gentilly stage features bands all led by women. Check out soul singer Darcy Malone and her band the Tangle after Helm and before cabaret rapper Boyfriend and closing act Alanis Morissette.

The Jazz and Heritage stage is one of my favorite stops each day at the Jazz Fest. It’s give festers a chance to see bands up close and personal. The Forgotten Souls Brass Band features a who’s who of local brass band stalwarts and they always put on a great show. The band was originally conceived to honor past greats and the recent passing of saxophonist Eric Traub will certainly be on many of the musicians’ minds.

Earth, Wind and Fire and Taj Mahal are all fine options, along with Morissette, for the last act of the day. But my money’s on the James Carter Organ Trio for some serious soulful jazz.

Tomorrow: Our picks for Friday, April 26!

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