Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day Five, 5/2

PHOTO: DAVID GRUNFIELD | I don’t envy the extra work that went in to figuring out how to reconfigure the schedule for what was supposed to have been “Rolling Stones Day.” But the fine folks at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival rose to the occasion and created a delightful lineup out of a debacle. Here are our picks. The full schedule is here.

Big Chief “Little” Charles Taylor of the White Cloud Hunters is one of the most revered of the downtown black Indians with an instantly recognizable voice. His skills with the needle and thread are formidable and over the years he has created some really memorable suits. But it has been some years since he sewed a new suit. Don’t miss seeing him and this year’s creation first thing in the morning.

I will be torn in the second time slot between two of the best local rock bands in New Orleans. I saw both Egg Yolk Jubilee and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes (pictured at top) at the recent French Quarter Festival and believe they both put on one of their best shows in recent history.

It’s hard to believe that at one point in New Orleans history, in the late 1960s, the brass band tradition was dying out. The story is long, and it almost happened again in 2005 after Katrina and the failure of the federal floodwalls devastated the city. But now there seems to be more brass bands in town than ever. Case in point, are the Sons of Jazz. This group of young musicians is on fire.

I am expecting attendance to be very light on the second Thursday, so it will be a great day to head into the Jazz Tent and check out trumpeter Nicholas Payton’s new project, the Light Beings. He is one of the leading lights of his generation of musicians and I’m sure he will delight.

Since I am writing this way before the Jazz Fest even starts, I feel like choosing the last act of the day will end up having something to do with the weather. Cynics were joking when the $200 ticket for the Stones was announced that it would probably storm that day.

So if the weather is bad, the tents are the best place to be and you can’t go wrong with soul music icon Mavis Staples. If the weather is good, reggae scion Ziggy Marley will be the act to catch.

Tomorrow: Friday’s picks!

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