TVD’s Jazz Fest Picks
for Day Four, 5/5

I always like to get “Locals Day” started with the music and spectacle of the Black masking Indians of New Orleans. It’s hard to go wrong with Big Chief Kevin Goodman and the Flaming Arrows. Hailing from the downtown 7th ward neighborhood, Goodman, like most of the Mardi Gras Indian community, comes from a long line of Indians in his large extended family.

One of the advantages of the smaller crowds on Thursday is a chance to get up front at one of the main stages. The Shell Gentilly stage has a great lineup from the opening of the gates. The New Orleans Suspects follow the Iguanas—two different styles and generations of New Orleans musicians with one fairly specific commonality. They both called the Maple Leaf Bar home in their early years.

But the act I’m most looking forward to is an acoustic performance by the Meters’ guitarist and Grammy lifetime award winner, Leo Nocentelli (pictured at top). Subtitled, “Presents Another Side,” the short story is that a singer/songwriter record he made in 1971 was shelved after The Meters took off nationally. The songs are great including a cover of the now-classic Elton John tune, “Your Song,” which was just a few months old when Nocentelli recorded his version. This should be an epic, perhaps one-time-only performance.

Unfortunately, the newest Mardi Gras Indian sensation to hit the stages of New Orleans is at the same time. But if acoustic songs by an electric guitar shredder aren’t your thing, check out The Rumble. Led by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux’s son, I saw them for the first time recently and was quite impressed by their P-Funk influences, which occasionally were more pronounced than their New Orleans funk side.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Tribute to Dave Bartholomew follows Nocentelli for a long overdue celebration of his career and music. Special guests include the great Elvis Costello and the uncanny Fats Domino tribute artist Al “Little Fats” Jackson.

While the day might start with light crowds, the final acts have something for everyone. Country star Luke Combs plays opposite reggae legend Ziggy Marley (doing the songs of his father), Caribbean jazz with Antonio Sanchez, and bluegrass/jam band sensation Billy Strings. For something a bit less crowded head back the Jazz and Heritage stage for Daria and the Hip Drops.

The band’s namesake leader plays the steel pan and she fronts a tight band playing original pop songs inspired by the music of the Caribbean. It’s super fun and groovy!

Tomorrow—Friday picks!

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