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As my fifth New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival gets closer, the anticipation gets stronger. This year is a little different- I have two friends coming to Jazz Fest on my say so, so I’m a little stressed, wanting to make sure they tell me what they want to hear, making sure they love it as much as I do. So in prepping for my favorite week of the year, here are some things you don’t want to miss:

At the fairgrounds:

Thursday, May 3rd

High School Gospel Choirs: I like to open my fest with the McMain Singing Mustangs – every year, these kids bring some serious firepower to the Gospel Tent.  McDonogh #35 High School also does some incredible stuff later in the afternoon.

New Orleans Music Legends: Bassist George Porter Jr. has probably played on your favorite album, whether with Tori Amos, David Byrne, being the bass line sampled for tons of hip hop classics, or with his own groundbreaking work with the legendary Meters. Do yourself a favor and see him. While you’re at it, check out piano virtuoso Henry Butler, and the boys and girl in Dumpstaphunk. All of em will make you wish you lived here and saw em more often.

Home Grown Up and Comers: I saw Mia Borders in a tiny club with a leaky roof on the lower east side last year and she was amazing. Probably got an awesome band with her, including NOLA saxman Khris Royal (who’s probably with George too), and her cover of Bill Wither‘s “Use Me” was just bananas last year.

2012 Fantasy Map

2012 Fantasy Map

Friday, May 4th

The One Woman Army, now with backup: Theresa Andersson is a tremendous singer, fiddle player, and all around musician. This year, she’s got a great krewe of musicians with her, including Hannah Krieger-Benson, a fantastic trumpet player and singer who’s doing her own stuff (Hannah KB Band) and some ska too (The Local Skank)

Pick your own Jazz Adventure:  Three amazing jazz sets happening right after Theresa, at the same time. I have no idea how I’ll do all three.  Big Chief Donald Harrison will be mixing his bebop and modern jazz skills with R&B and NOLA classics, ala the amazing cover of “Indian Red” he did for the Treme Season One Soundtrack.  Or, you can get your fill of low end saxophonics, with Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen Brass Band) leading three Bari Saxes and a Bass Sax for Baritone Bliss (which was fantastic last year).  Or, you can see Preservation Hall trumpet man Mark Braud do his own thing in the Economy Hall tent.

Holy People: Bet on Mavis Staples, who was already among the top reasons we went with this weekend, to put on a ridiculous set at the gospel tent in honor of her friend (and ours), the late great Levon Helm.  I’m sure her set is going to be so great, I’ll probably miss Deacon John‘s killer cover of “Many Rivers to Cross” to get a spot. However, if I were you, I wouldn’t miss much else of his set.  Local music legend, a fantastic performer, a great singer, a helluva guitar player, just amazing stuff, see Deacon John.

Mahalia Jackson - Historic Jazz Fest Picture

Mahalia Jackson – Historic Jazz Fest Picture

Saturday May 5th

Family Preservation: Loads of famous families in the New Orleans tradition – on Saturday, the Brunious family represents in Economy Hall. A few hours before Mark Braud (nephew to the late John Brunious) takes the stage (and hopefully passes out some ice cream) with the
Preservation Hall Jazz Band, his other uncle (and brother to John) Wendell Brunious will step up to the stage- Wendell was on fire at BAM a couple weeks back, sitting in with Dr. John, so look for some tasty trumpet goodness all around.

Raisin’ Hell: Another scion of a famous musical family takes the Fais Do Do stage, Rockin Dopsie and his Zydeco Hellraisers.  I feel like a lot of my favorite Zydeco bands all seemed to be packed into first weekend, but Rockin Dopsie is a notable exception.

Local Greats to Look For: Anders Osborne is a beast on guitar, and his new album is a great mix of sweetness, of sadness, of blues and power.  Not sure who’s playing with them, but see it.  Paul Sanchez’s Rolling Road show is always packed with local stars, Joe Krown with Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington is a tight organ guitar drums trio that does it right. John Boutte‘s voice, which you may recognize from the theme song from Treme, is tremendous to hear in the Jazz Tent – he may spoil us with a great cover of Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah”…if we’re lucky!

The Cafe du Monde stand between the Jazz and Blues tents, around 5:30pm.  Good time to hydrate and get some iced coffee.  Hard to see ending my Preservation Hall second line early, but gonna need to refuel. And what better place to do it? Herbie Hancock and his band in the Jazz Tent on your right, the Warren Haynes Band (with tinyrager.com faves Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour, as well as Dr. John, playing out) on your left in the Blues Tent.

Jazzfest 1975 Historic Poster

Jazz Fest 1975 Historic Poster

Sunday, May 6th

Sunday is always the most packed day, the closing day of the festival.  Of course, I can tell you to park at Gentilly Stage all day, or don’t miss Galactic, but hopefully you already know.  Here are a few things you might not know about:

The Family that Prays Together: Remember that John Boutte guy from Saturday?  He’s bringin’ his whole family to the gospel tent. You should get there too.

Arieal

Arieal

Glen David Andrews: Cousin to Trombone Shorty and James Andrews, the fire-breathing trombone player’s got an incredible performance you don’t want to miss.  Why he’s not taking his rightful place closing down the Gospel tent is beyond me, but at least it makes the FOMS (Fear of Missing Something) to close the festival a bit easier.

Camping at the Jazz and Heritage Stage: I don’t know the higher heights, but every other group at the Jazz and Heritage stage is a smoker, starting with War Chief Juan, the TBC Brass Band, Los Hombres Calientes will be incredible (why not in the Jazz tent?), and

Big Chief Bo Dollis: It’s not clear if the Big Chief is going to make it, he’s fallen ill, so I expect the boys to rock it out hard for him even if he can’t make it.  Look for Brooklynite turned Orleanian Billy Iuso wrecking shop on guitar (if not here, with Anders on Saturday), he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Close out with the Hall: Okay, so you’ve got 8, count em, 8 amazing sets lined up to end your fest. My pick is Preservation Hall – they’re going to have a lot of friends on stage with them and it’s going to be a lot of fun.  Also, I have no idea why they put Sharon Jones in the Blues Tent when she’s going to want the crowd up and dancing.

The night shows are a whole other animal, coming for part 2…

Words by Guest Writer: Russ Agdern

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Thursday, April 29, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Friday, April 30, 2010” here)

Moving slow this morning.  Quick check of the weather forecast reveals no change.   Total cloud cover, breezy, chance of rain.  This is great.  No need to continuously apply SPF 30!  Time to get on the school bus!  Unfortunately, we missed the first period of classes.  However, we arrive in time to catch the end of the Henry Butler & the Game Band set at the Gentilly stage.  This band had much more of a gospel feel than New Orleans Social Club showcasing Henry Butler’s great voice as well as his piano playing prowess.

Henry Butler @ Jazz Fest 2010

Henry Butler @ Jazz Fest 2010

We were focused.  It was time to hoof it over quickly to the Acura stage for Anders Osborne.  During the trek,we loved listening to snippets of Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band at the Fais Do Do stage and Rebirth Brass Band at Congo Square.

Rebirth Brass Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Rebirth Brass Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Saturday at Jazz Fest gets extremely crowded.  It’s good to have a strategy so that you can enjoy viewing the performers without having to battle the crowds.  This is especially true as one gets older and perhaps less slim (like me).  Over the last couple of years, our Krewe has adopted the following strategy for the Acura stage once the crowds build: position ourselves in front of the big screen to the left of the stage near the Grand Marshall entrance.  This is where we went next.

As with the jazzfest set last year, Anders Osborne played with the Stanton Moore Trio.  What a powerful group!

Anders Osborne – Guitar and Vocals

Stanton Moore –  Drums

Robert Walter – Organ

Will Bernard – Guitar

Anders Osborne @ Jazz Fest 2010

Anders Osborne @ Jazz Fest 2010

It has been a year since I have seen Anders Osborne live, but I have been following his career closely and could not help but notice that his appearance has taken a turn to say the least.  When viewed on the big screen, Anders’ appearance is, how can I say this tactfully, even more disconcerting.

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010
Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

However, there was nothing disconcerting about the performance or the great songs from Anders’ brand new album American Patchwork.  Most notable was the killer tune ‘On the Road to Charlie Parker’ as well as another gem ‘Acapulco’.  During the set, Anders thanked the Stanton Moore Trio for helping to ‘get my shit together.’  It’s easy to see why with such great collaborators providing the right mood for Anders’ introspective lyrics.

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

Anders Osbourne @ Jazz Fet 2010

Later in the set, Anders brought another collaborator, guitarist Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity, Down) for a couple of tunes, including the haunting dual lead guitar laced ‘Darkness at the Bottom’.

Pepper Keenan w/ Anders Osborne & the Stanton Moore Trio @ Jazz Fest 2010

Pepper Keenan w/ Anders Osborne & the Stanton Moore Trio @ Jazz Fest 2010

Afterwards, Anders quipped about starting a ZZ Top cover band with Pepper.  I found Anders set to be quite powerful and emotional, certainly destined to be one of my highlights of Jazzfest 2010.  Anders is currently touring with the Trio on the west coast promoting the new album.  Go see them if you can!

After that set, I was spent.  Seems like just the right time to head to the Blues tent and grab a seat for Chris Thomas King.  You may remember Chris from his co-starring role in the Coen Brothers film O Brother Where Art Thou.  I learned several years ago that Chris is a great singer and delta blues guitarist when I caught him at a blues festival in Wheeling, WV.  His Jazz Fest set featured Chris playing mostly acoustic instruments with a couple of tunes on electric.  My guitar playing buddy was impressed.

Chris Thomas King @ Jazz Fest 2010

Chris Thomas King @ Jazz Fest 2010

Crawfish Strudel

Crawfish Strudel

Time for some food!  I was ‘beered out’ by Saturday, decided I should look for a different beverage.  I selected the Rosemint Iced Tea (unsweetened).  Delicious.  At this point I was looking for something I had not tried for and saw a sign for something called a Crawfish Strudel.  Hmmm.  Better check that out.  What I saw was a small rectangular flaky bread loaf with a slit through the top stuffed with a soupy concoction with chunks of crawfish.  Kinda like a small bread bowl, if you will, but very delicate.  A very nice surprise!  While I was working through the food lines, I could see the big Acura screen between the booths.  I noticed that Irma Thomas was sitting in with Galactic!  I guess I picked the wrong time to get hungry!

Band of Horses @ Jazz Fest 2010

Band of Horses @ Jazz Fest 2010

By this time, our dogs were barking (it’s hell growing old), so we worked our way over to the Fais Do Do stage.  Got there in time to see BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet finish their set.  Excellent.  Most of my Krewe ended up randomly gathering as the Honey Island Swamp Band set up for their set.  One brought a chair and set it up toward the back of the crowd.  Some friends and I parked on the bleachers to the left of the stage.  Some were in the standing area in front of the stage.  It’s great to have a group split during a day at the fest then randomly meet near the end of the day.  Some of my group reported that the Band of Horses set at Gentilly was killer.  Others reported that Galactic had many special guests throughout their set, not just Irma.

Then the Honey Island Swamp Band tore into their set.  The Honey Island Swamp Band is:

Chris Mulé – guitar, vocals

Aaron Wilkinson – mandolin, guitar,harmonica, vocals

Sam Price – bass, vocals

Garland Paul – drums, vocals

Honey Island Swamp Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

Honey Island Swamp Band @ Jazz Fest 2010

I have been following Chris Mulé and Aaron Wilkinson for years, since their days as part of Eric Lindell’s band.  Both are great players and singers.  In addition to the band, the stage was filled with a keyboard player, backing vocalists, and a horn section, quite a departure from the spare traveling band I saw just a few weeks ago at a small club in my hometown.  But what a dancin’ party it was at Fais Do Do!

I knew that the crowds for Pearl Jam at Acura would be impossible.  I made the decision long before coming to New Orleans that I would end Saturday at the Gentilly stage for guitar god Jeff Beck.  It has been about a decade since I last saw Mr. Beck.   I am happy to report that he is getting better with age if that is possible.  His very tight band consisted of a phenomenal female bass player and singer, drummer, and a keyboardist.  Most tunes were instrumentals, but hey, that’s OK, Jeff makes the guitar sing like no one can.  Also, gotta love a guy that is comfortable in his wardrobe.  Great ending to yet another great day.  Heavy clouds, no rain!  I like this trend!

Jeff Beck @ Jazz Fest 2010

Jeff Beck @ Jazz Fest 2010

Saturday Night, 5/1

Some of our Krewe were talking about going to see Anders Osborne and the Stanton Moore Trio again at The Rock ‘N’ Bowl on Saturday night.  I wasn’t wild about going to the same venue two nights in a row and I wasn’t wild about seeing Anders again on the same day after that draining (in a good way) set at the fairgrounds.  Last year, I did not make it to the Frenchman Street area in Marigny, an area just east of the French Quarter.  Frenchman Street is a street lined with music clubs and restaurants that is more of a scene, hip, vibrant, bohemian, you name it area than the much more touristy Bourbon Street.

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

We decided to go see Soulive at The Blue Nile.  Upon arriving on the scene, the streets and sidewalks are literally jammed with people.  Most I have ever seen on Frenchman Street.  When we approach The Blue Nile, we land in a block long admission line.  We finally make it in to the club just before the show starts.  There was a large deep crowd of people in front of the stage.  We positioned ourselves just to the right of the stage.  While not the best vantage point, at least we can clearly see the keys.

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive @ Jazz Fest 2010

Soulive is Eric Krasno (guitar), Alan Evans (drums) and his brother Neal Evans (keyboards).  What a pleasure to see this band in such a small venue!  I have always loved Kras’ guitar playing, but from our vantage point, we had a bird’s eye view of Neal’s thumping left hand bass line playing coupled with his right hand organ playing.  How does he do that?

Soulive @ Jazzfest 2010

Soulive @ Jazzfest 2010

As the set progressed, the crowd got much larger and our bird’s eye view became less ideal.  There was nowhere to move or breathe for that matter, so we moved a little further back.  By this time, Nigel Hall joined the band to sing a few tunes, some of which were James Brown-like.  At least we had a little more space to shake our bones!   Several minutes later, the long set ended.  Terrific performance!  We decided to get some air and check out the street scene.

Across the street in front of the now closed Café Brasil, there was a blues band (electric) playing.  What fun!  Not 30 feet from the blues band, a brass band was holding court in the middle of the intersection.  All the while, people were stopping to listen, dancing, and strolling by.  We continued walking up the street taking in all of the sights and sounds.  Most of us decided that we weren’t going to fight the crowds and return to the Blue Nile for the 2nd set.  The one guy that did stay behind later reported that the second set was all Beatles tunes. RUBBER SOULIVE! Darn!

There were no cabs to be had on Frenchman Street, so we decided a stroll through the neighborhoods was in order.  It was a very pleasant evening and the walk did us good.  Once we were back in the French Quarter, we happened to stroll by the Co Co Club on Bourbon Street and saw the most excellent blind blues guitarist, Bryan Lee, playing.  What a bonus!  Even though there was no cover and we could have gone inside, we had a great view of Bryan and the sound was great out on the street.  We paused for about 10 minutes enjoying the band.

What a great night!  And back to the hotel just before 2:00?  I love it!

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The 41st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010

(The Fairgrounds Reopen, Marisa Arrives, Let’s Zydeco!)

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

(Read Russ’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010″ here)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

So after a five hour sleep, I shower, get dressed, catch up with my buddy for a minute, then it’s off to the Cake Café for a croissant and up the Fairgrounds for Day 1.  It’s a little overcast, the perfect kind of Fest day, not too hot and sunny.  Text my folks to let em know I’m on my way.  Stop to buy water from the same lady I buy water from outside the fest every year, grab my cubes (slang, term to describe Jazz Fest schedule) and tell the nice lady hanging out to remember me and not be surprised when I sweat through them and come back every day.  Get my stuff searched, my ticket scanned, and wow, I’m in.  HAPPY JAZZFEST!

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

For those who don’t know about Jazz Fest, there are three stages you always need to make time to check out: the Gospel Tent, the Jazz and Heritage Stage, and the Fais Do-Do (pronounced Fay doughdough) Stage.  Just do it; make the time.  Because at each of those spaces, there’s a really good chance you’ll hear someone you’ve never heard of before making incredible music.

McMain High School Gospel Choir

McMain High School Gospel Choir

I learned this lesson really well in 2008 and I try to stick to it, so seeing as it’s the first venue on the way in, I grab a seat in the Gospel Tent to check out the McMain High School Gospel Choir.  Local high school, apparently, I know nothing about them and sit down.  WOW.  Amazing!  Unbelievable voices, poise, energy, showmanship.  Just incredible!  All kinds of soloists started doing amazing things, and their band, comprised of high school musicians, was incredibly tight!  Texted my wife that the choir was so good I was thinking about converting, and the Gospel tent is so good it wasn’t the first or last time I’ve made that joke.

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

While there, I figured out roughly how my day was going to go, then made my way over to LB and her Krewe of folks at the fairgrounds.  LB  is a Jazzfest vet, having been many times, and I had the pleasure of bonding with her about Jazzfest at a Big Sam show last year, so we’ve been hitting great funk shows together since then.  Her Krewe had a nice spot by the Acura (main 1) stage, and I went to check out Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove.  Kirk Joseph is the original sousaphone player of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and is credited by many with taking Sousaphone playing into the realm of replacing an electric bass in a funk band.  This style of Sousaphone playing, taken up by others like “Tuba Phil” Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band, has become the standard for many Brass Bands around the world, and Joseph was one of the innovators, so I wanted to see what his new band was putting down.  Nice lineup, multiple horns including what looked like a baritone horn (smaller version of a regular tuba), keys, guitar, and a couple of singers.  Doing a nice mix of funky stuff, flirtatious titles (don’t let me have a taste if I don’t get to have the whole thing), and stuff with a message about living together.

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Speaking of tastes, it wouldn’t be Fest without the food!  Went off to get my first tastes of Fest, including the Pheasant, Quail and Andouie Gumbo from Prejeans that I look forward to every year, as well as the stuffed mushrooms that are just delicious.  And the nice folks at Prejeans gave me a FREE BOWL!  After I stopped to take a sip, I groaned at how good the stuff is.  One of the folks behind the table asked me why I stopped, I told her it tasted just like I remembered it did last year, and she handed me another bowl without waiting.  Awesome!  Some to share with LB’s buddies of the Superchill Krewe.  Yeah you right!

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Nothing else grabbed my fancy, so I decided to stay put at Acura and give Dumpstaphunk a real chance.  I always kind of a weird feeling about them-  I feel about musical families the way I feel about royal families- having the name doesn’t impress me, you have to bring it.  Being Art Neville’s nephew and playing keys made me a little wary- I’m a huge devotee of Poppa Funk, and didn’t want to see someone up there just b/c of the name.  But Ivan really brought it on keys and with some great energy on vocals as well.  By the second tune, “Turn This Thing Around” which was talking about helping folks that need a hand, I was really digging the groove.  In some ways, Dumpstaphunk reminded me of a mix between the tight funk of the Meters and the cosmic slop of P-Funk.  Nasty grooves and a good message?  Sign me up.  Ivan and the whole crew were serious business, and I’m sorry I ever had a thought that he wasn’t earning it, because Ivan is a monster on them keys.

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

But as the crew was rampaging through “Put it in the Dumpsta” I checked the time and realized it was time to see an old friend.  Walter Payton, Jazz Bassist extraordinaire, music education giant of New Orleans, father of trumpet star Nicholas Payton, and longtime stalwart of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was playing with his group, Snap Ppeas and Gumbo File, at the Economy Hall Tent.  The Economy Hall tent is one of three Jazz stages at Jazzfest, the stage representing traditional, New Orleans Jazz.  I had the pleasure of making friends with Walter on my first trip to New Orleans in 1999, and always try to get out and see him at Fest.  This was especially important this year as he had a stroke at the beginning of the year, so I really wanted to see him.  And it was tough. The musicianship was great, he had some tremendous folks playing with him, including guitar wizard June Yamagishi (from Papa Grows Funk, among other things) and a couple great singers and dancers.  But he wasn’t nearly as gregarious as previous years, one could tell he wasn’t quite recovered from the stroke and it made me quite sad.  When I spoke with one of the staff of Preservation Hall about Walter on Monday, she and I both started to tear up as she talked to me about him not wanting to slow down, wanting to keep going and pushing himself a little too hard to get back.  I made her promise to tell him I send my best and she did.  It’s a sad thing to see good people not quite at their best.  Here’s hoping for a continued speedy recovery, Walter.  The music world, and really the whole world needs you better.  Readers, if you’re not sure you agree, check out this great video of Walter singing the Louis Armstrong classic, “Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Having a bit of time to kill before Dr. Klaw, my next must see, I headed over to catch Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots over at the Congo Square stage.  On the way, I got caught in some second line fun with some Mardi Gras Indians and the Paulin Brothers Brass Band.  Oh yeah, if ten stages of unbelievable music isn’t enough for you, there are often Brass Bands and Mardi Gras Indians parading through the fairgrounds at random times.

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

So after waving around a napkin and shaking it with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band, who were just great, went off to see Sunpie.  Sunpie is impressive, multi instrumentalist, great singer, and a big presence.  He apparently used to play football, he’s a tall dude.  He’s also all over the place, playing WWOZ’s piano night, playing with his own band, later on that weekend with the Mardi Gras Indians Orchestra, and on the awesome new Ensemble Fatien disc.  I was looking forward to catching him and the Sunspots later that night at the Mid City Lanes annual Legends of Zydeco show, but wanted to catch a peek now.  He didn’t disappoint, romping through Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” and a couple others before I danced my way back to the Jazz and Heritage Stage for Dr. Klaw.  Some really great accordion work, and that band is awful tight.

Alright Dr. Klaw!  Dr. Klaw is one of these bands that only exists in a few places like Jazz Fest and Jam Cruise, a mutant mash up of Chapter 2, represented by Eric Krasno on guitar and some vocals, Adam Deitch on drums, and Nigel Hall on Keys and vocals, and Dumpstaphunk, represented by Nick Daniels on bass and lead vocals and Ian Neville on guitar.  It was kinda weird to see a guitar based band at the Jazz and Heritage stage, but I didn’t mind it.  These guys were fantastic- Nick Daniels syncing up with Adam Deitch for some sick grooves, Eric Krasno letting it out and singing it out a lil bit, and Nigel laying down some tasty stuff on the keys.  Ian was good too, but seemed content to let Kras take the lead.  Ivan Neville was on the side of the stage most of the set, grooving and possibly chomping at the bit to get in the mix, but didn’t end up stepping in.  My personal highlight was Nick Daniels and Nigel Hall sharing vocals on a tasty as hell version of “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder.  It’s only halfway through Day 1 at the Fairgrounds, and I already got a “best covers of 2010” list brewing in my head.  The fellas headed into Nigel Hall’s “Leave Me Alone” but not being in the mood to hear that particular track, I bounded towards the track side of the Congo Square stage to get a good spot for the Soul Rebels Brass Band.

Soul Rebel Brass Band

Soul Rebel Brass Band

The Soul Rebels are one of New Orleans’ many great second generation Brass Band outfits.  I say second generation because you have older guard groups like the Treme Brass Band, the Paulin Brothers, and then, starting with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and of course, the mighty Rebirth Brass Band, you have a second wave of brass bands that combine the traditional music with Funk, R&B, Rock, and Hip Hop to make more contemporary flavored music.  The Soul Rebels have been around at least sixteen or seventeen years.  I got down with their groove for a bit before chatting a little with some folks that were set up near me, including a woman who asked me if I spoke Hebrew (in Hebrew).  Ah, the surprises of wearing a Hebrew letter Yankees hat to Jazz Fest.  She let me know there were actually a lot of Yids and Israelis at Jazz Fest, and that I should look out for the Krewe at, what else, the Israeli flag by Acura.

Someone bumps into me and it’s KD! KD is the person that finally went to Fest in 2007 and inspired me to get off my tuchus and go there, and she’s just good people.  Starting last year, she’s been “living the dream” and spending 12 days in New Orleans for Fest.  We catch up, she tells me where she’s been, who she’s been seeing and how she’s doing.  We both grumble at the mediocre hip hop stuff that’s entered the Soul Rebels set.  I’m sorry y’all, I’m from New York and I take Hip Hop seriously, so I’m kinda tough on folks dropping random things in.  Y’all wouldn’t like it if Talib Kweli picked up a saxophone and started half ass-ing “Do Whatcha Wanna” either.  Glad to see KD but feeling like a different energy, we hug and part ways, and I head back to the Jazz and Heritage stage to catch 101 Runners.

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

MAN!  What a difference!  These guys are pouring it out there, goin nuts over “Shallow Water” and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  I have to say, watching people discover this stage is a favorite of mine.  People don’t know what to make of the Mardi Gras Indians groups but they get into them pretty quickly with their incredibly funky grooves and their catchy call and response melodies.  Perfect.  Off to snag a Loretta’s Praline and get a decent spot for Elvis Costello at the Gentilly Stage.  Well, I didn’t head over soon enough, because I can hear strains of a killer version of “Hey, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” wafting skyward as I approach.  The lawn is packed, no good spot for me.  I unfold the chair and grab a seat.

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

He’s performing some great stuff, and the local crowd has some real love for him as he’s been around the city post federal flood.  Does a few more great tunes I don’t know (I must confess to not knowing his catalog super well) and it’s great stuff… but for some reason, my soul is not there.  This is one thing that’s difficult to manage about Jazzfest- restless ears.  There’s so much good stuff happening at any one moment that it’s tough to stay in one place if you’re not feeling it.  So even though this was my first time seeing Elvis Costello, and even though he was great, and even though my friends reading this will probably smack me for saying this… I left Gentilly to end my day at another tent.

On my way to the main gate, I passed the Economy Hall tent, where there was a great tribute to Louis Prima happening, as part of the celebration of his 100th birthday.  One of Prima’s guitar players, Bobby Lonero, was leading a great band in a set of Prima classics.  Who could go wrong?  Great mash up of When You’re Smiling into Oh Marie, and then, when they asked the crowd for a request, everyone yelled for Just a Gigolo.  For those who don’t know, the David Lee Roth version was ripped off essentially note for note from Louis Prima’s arrangement.  Don’t believe me? Check this out:

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

Except Roth, the nice Jewish boy, leaves off my favorite part, when Prima is saying nobody/no one in multiple languages, including Yiddish at the end.  In any case, the band is doing a fantastic version of it, and while I know they’re doing a tribute, it’s putting a big smile on my face.  After they finish it, the band starts into “I’m Leaving You” Prima’s last song before he went into a coma and later passed, and not in a place to be down, I head towards the Blues tent where John Popper and the gents from Blues Traveler are closing out the day.  The harmonica work is great, and they launch into a great version of Sublime’s “What I Got” which is a great way to end the first day at the fairgrounds.  But, as you know from the previous post, this is not the end of the action, but merely half time, as it’s only 7pm and there will be music happening until sunrise tonight!

Upperline, NOLA

Upperline, NOLA

On the long walk to my rental car, I realize this is the only day I’ll be able to hit Upperline, an insanely delicious restaurant hidden between the garden district and the Tulane campus.  Not wanting to wait another year to have their insanely good Roast Duck with Garlic Port sauce, on a whim, I call to see if they have room for one.  If I can get there by 8pm, there’s a small table I can sneak into for an hour.  PERFECT!

The Monsters of Zydeco (nb, Mid City, y’all should really call it that next year) doesn’t start till 9ish, M’s flight lands at 10, delicious dinner, half hour of music, get M, 4 more hours of music.  Done!  I fly across town and, using my handy map (remember those, people? Who needs a GPS when you can read a freaking map!?!), and in 25 minutes, I go from Fairgrounds traffic to Upperline deliciousness.  As I sit down and order, I notice an African American gentleman heading towards the… holy crap, it’s DIESEL!  Karl Denson is playing a late show at Tipitina’s with his solo band, the Tiny Universe, and he apparently made time for one of New Orleans’ best restaurants as well. Yep, 2 out of 2 funky sax players agree, Upperline is the place to be.  I tuck in to my roast duck with praline pecan yams and, MAN, I am a happy camper.  Except when I look at my phone and find out that M’s flight, after first text that they were boarded and ready to go, is delayed.  NO!  Just so y’all know, M is my wife of 2 years, and one of the first things we’ve bonded over is Zydeco music.  Since the inception of the Monsters of Zydeco show in 08, I’ve been dying for her to get to Fest in time to see this show.  Sated and pleased with the meal but grumpy about the news, I make my way to Mid City Lanes.

Night Show review: Legends of Zydeco, Mid City Lanes, Thursday, 4/29.

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

I’ve been to the first two Monsters of Zydeco shows, and it’s pretty much all you could ask for in an all star show.  Four or Five of the very best artists in a style of music, playing full hour plus sets with their bands AND everyone is sitting in with each other as well.  Imagine four of your favorite rock bands getting together and doing something like that.  Awesome, right?  Except, this ACTUALLY happens at Rock’N’Bowl each year, unlike the all star concert in your head.

This show, as it was the last two years, is an absolute blast.  When you have Buckwheat Zydeco, CJ Chenier, Sunpie Barnes, Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and old school Zydeco legend Clayton Sampy rocking out together, with zydeco and blues guitar master L’il Buck Sinegal leading the band, you know it’s gonna be a good party.  Sunpie was serving as the MC of the evening and doing a great job introducing everyone.  It seems that in Zydeco, there’s a lot of love to go around with all the musicians involved, and it certainly comes to the forefront on a night like this.

This year, while players were moving in and out, it was mostly Buckwheat’s band that formed a house band, with L’il Buck at the helm, and man, were they on it.  The people were on it, too, as the floor filled up with swingers and two steppers the second Sampy got it started.  I’ve been in Pantera and Primus mosh pits, and I can tell you it gets a little dangerous on the dance floor at Zydeco night at the Rock’N’Bowl.  Sampy played some great French language old school classics and the people were really feeling it.

Next up, Nathan Williams took a turn and he mixed a little more English into the songs and things got a bit more contemporary, there was the start of the mix of classic Zydeco and R&B, with Nathan leading the band in a rousing cover of “Hey Hey Hey Hey!” Nathan also put on quite a show, getting down on his knees at the front of the stage (he came right over to me several times, which was awesome) and hopping off the stage to play in the crowd.  Want some Zydeco..take a listen…

CJ Chenier

CJ Chenier

The sets were a good hour or so, and the set breaks were pretty short as they kept rotating in players.  Next up was Sunpie, and I was psyched to see the man take a turn- he got a serious groove going the dance floor was a frenzy!  Too bad I wasn’t getting to frenzy, thanks to the fools that delayed M’s flight… but wait, the phone’s ringing!  Hooray! M’s landed, and after Sunpie’s second song ends, I sprint to the car to go get her.  She hops in and we drive right back to the show as quick as possible.  We missed the end of Sunpie’s set, but CJ Chenier is getting started, and man, that guy can play. But hell, they all can play.  And while the other leaders/bands are coming on, everyone else stays and listens, and takes their cher out on the dance floor.  M and I would bump into CJ later on the floor during Buckwheat’s set.  CJ is going bananas, as is the band and the rest of the place.  CJ plays a good hour, dropping Hot Tamale Baby on us, and M and I twirl around the dance floor while trying not to get elbowed or body checked by another dancing couple.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

We hit the set break, grab a drink, sit by an empty bowling alley and relax for a minute.  I find out that M is a complete trooper, having been up till 2 packing, gotten up at 6 and is still standing now and waiting for Buckwheat to come out.  What can I say, the girl loves her some Zydeco.  And Buckwheat didn’t disappoint.  We were especially psyched to cheer when the introduction of Buckwheat was no longer just about his Grammy nominations, but as a Grammy Winner!  Buckwheat burns immediately into “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and the place is going crazy.  CJ is dancing with someone and has a huge grin on his face.  Sunpie is out dancing too.  It’s fantastic- everyone is dancing, smiling and having a ball.  It’s Jazz Fest.  As the show winds down to a close, John Blanchard, Mid City Lanes Owner, asks everyone to clear a path, and one of the bartenders does ten or so back flips in a row!  Insane!  As the band is packing up, Sunpie decides we haven’t gotten enough, so he gives us a little Lagniappe (something extra) by firing up his accordion and singing some more.  CJ Chenier sits down at the organ to join him but for the first couple of minutes there’s no power, which Sunpie found out the hard way when he said “you got it, CJ” to give him a solo, and CJ yells (no mic, but audibly) “got what, I ain’t got nothin!” but finally the power gets back on and a washboard player jumps on stage, and they gave us another half hour of music!

Again, this is exactly what you want your All Star shows to be like- everyone doin their own thing and also doing it together.  For nearly six hours.  Yeah You Right!

I drove us back to our buddy’s spot, quieted the very energetic dog and helped M into bed.  After considering joining LB at Tips for KDTU’s show, I decided Fest is a marathon and I have many late nights still to go, so I climbed into bed with my baby at 3am instead of going back out- though not before predicting to LB that Robert Walter would sit in with KDTU that night and asking her not to tell me about it till the next day.  With my sweetie in town, and her fam due in the next day, and the alarm clock going off in 6.5 hours, Friday is going to be a fun day…

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

The weather for Thursday looked like it would be the best of the entire weekend.  Partly cloudy, breezy, high in low 80s.  Nice!  We arrived in time to see the first act of the day:  Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage.  Some of the Madi Gras Indian acts are a blast.  This act was one of the better ones I’ve seen over the years.

Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage

Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminoles Mardi Gras Indians at the Jazz & Heritage stage

Crawfish Monica

Crawfish Monica

Next it was a quick stroll through the food area en route to the Acura stage.  One of the benefits of Thursday is that the festival is less crowded, hence the lines for the popular food items are nonexistent.   The most popular item is Crawfish Monica, a delicious combination of crawfish, pasta, and a nicely spicy creamy sauce!

Next up:   Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove at the Acura stage.  Kirk is a sousaphone player and original member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.  He has also collaborated with Anders Osborne among others over the years.  The current Backyard Groove lineup also features CR Gruver, a master keyboardist.  Very entertaining set featuring a versatile horn section and nice backup vocals.  I had learned from Kirk that he was having gall bladder issues a few weeks prior to the festival.  He decided to try to deal with it nutritionally so that he could get through the festival gigs.  He did not disappoint with this set.  Stay well Kirk!

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove

Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

CR Gruver of Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

CR Gruver of Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove @ Jazz Fest 2010

The ‘scenery’ around the stages was starting to build on this slow day.  Let’s just say that some folks put together fest wardrobes and devised ways to be comfortable at the festival:

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Jazz Fest 2010 Scenery

Next up:  Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk at the Acura stage.  Dumpstaphunk is by far one of my favorite bands.  The funksters played the now familiar favorites such as Meanwhile, Turn This Thing Around, Shake It Off, Creedence Clearwater’s Fortunate Son.  Music with a message.  I know I put my troubles in the Dumpsta!  Plus the crowds are starting to build.  Dumpstaphunk lineup:

Ivan Neville – Keyboards and Vocals

Ian Neville – Guitar

Nick Daniels – Bass and Vocals

Tony Hall – Bass, Guitar and Vocals

Raymond Weber – Drums and Vocals

Dumpstaphunk crowd shot @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Dumpstaphunk crowd shot @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

As the crowds build, the large video screens enhance the experience:

Raymond Weber @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010
Raymond Weber @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

By this time, more of my extended entourage appeared including my Uptown New Orleans friends who traditionally stake out an area to the right of the Acura stage soundboard they call The Condo.

Easy D and friends @ Jazz Fest 2010

Easy D and friends @ Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Next up: A quick stroll over the the Gentilly stage to catch the end of Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys.  Amanda Shaw is a 19 year old fiddle and vocal phenom who has been playing professionally for several years.  I think the first time I saw her play at the festival,  Amanda was 13.  While she is building a catalog of original songs, she also plays fun covers such as Charlie Daniel’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia and The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go.  By the way, several years ago,  Amanda turned down Disney’s offer of the title Hannah Montana role to sign with Rounder Records and pursue a serious music career.

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Amanda Shaw @ Gentilly Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

And then, stroll back toward the Acura stage for some of Gov’t Mule.  There’s something about strolling around the Fairgrounds while Warren Haynes sings Thorazine Shuffle.  The Gov’t Mule Setlist:

Blind Man In The Dark
Steppin’ Lightly
Broke Down on The Brazos
Railroad Boy->
Beautifully Broken
I’ll Be The One
Thorazine Shuffle
Soulshine

Warren Haynes @ The Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Warren Haynes @ The Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

At this point, I wanted to catch a little bit of Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers at the Gentilly stage.  En route, paused at the Congo stage where the Soul Rebels Brass Band were playing:

Soul Rebel Brass Band @ Gentilly stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Soul Rebel Brass Band @ Gentilly stage, Jazz Fest 2010

While walking by the Fais Do Do stage, I ran into more of my Krewe who were watching Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, an excellent zydeco band.  Decided to stay here for a while; it was so good.  Plus the dancers to the right of the Fais Do Do stage are always very entertaining:

Geno Delaflose & French Rockin’ Boogie @ Fais Do Do Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Geno Delaflose & French Rockin’ Boogie @ Fais Do Do Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Dancin' @ Jazz Fest 2010

Dancin' @ Jazz Fest 2010

Once arriving at the Gentilly stage, after listening to Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers for a few minutes, I quickly decided that the energy level was not up to the Jazz Fest scene.  I am a fan of the Steep Canyon Rangers having seen them at the Delfest Bluegrass Festival last May.  On this day, they just didn’t work for me.  So it was back to the Acura stage to close the day with Widespread Panic.   The band consists of :

JOHN BELLguitars, vocals

JOHN “JOJO” HERMANNkeyboards, vocals

JIMMY HERRINGguitars

TODD NANCEdrums, vocals

DOMINGO S. ORTIZpercussion, vocals

DAVE SCHOOLSbass, vocals

John Bell @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

John Bell @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

This was the 3rd time that I have seen Widespread Panic at Jazz Fest.   They always play on Thursday so that they can play a full 2 and a half hour set.  This is the 2nd time I have seen the Panic since the death of guitarist Mikey Houser.  While I miss Houser, the supremely skilled Jimmy Herring is a terrific replacement.  Bandleader John Bell was in very fine voice, better than recent shows I have attended.  They performed a couple of my favorites including Imitation Leather Shoes, Ophelia, and the excellent Mikey Houser tune This Part of Town.  Here is a snippet of lyrics from This Part of Town, music with a message IMHO:

I was walkin’ the other day with my head down,
When I met a man who had his hand out.
So I gave him, gave him a dollar,
But as I walked away I heard him call out,

“Tell me Brother, can you see the sun
From where you’re standin’ now?
I’ve been up and I’ve been down,
But I’ve never been to this part of town.”

David Schools @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

David Schools @ The Acura Stage, Jezz Fest 2010

Here is the Widespread Panic set list:

Love Tractor, Pigeons, Space Wrangler, Walkin’ (For Your Love) > Blight, Thought Sausage, Imitation Leather Shoes > Jam > Proving Ground, Down*, Walk On The Flood > North, Up All Night** >Tall Boy**, Good People (w/Dark Bar Rap)**, On Your Way Down**> Bust It Big**,Ophelia** > You Should Be Glad**,This Part Of Town, Aint Life Grand*

Comment: *w/John Keane on Pedal Steel — **w/The Megablasters

Oh by the way, it was a party at The Condo:

Acura Stage @ Jazz Fest 2010

Widespread Panic @ Acura Stage, Jazz Fest 2010

Mikey Houser (yes, even Mikey, may he RIP, was at the fest!)

Mikey Houser (yes, even Mikey, may he RIP, was at the fest!)

Widepread Panic - painting started and completed during the set.

Widepread Panic - painting started and completed during the set.

Well, after this glorious day, we worked our way back to the hotel.  While working our way through the cab line, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and fell on my right hip.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I broke the fall with my camera pouch.  I was uninjured, but my camera was a casualty.  I will have to depend on others in my Krewe for the remaining installments.

After returning to the hotel, I was tired and in need of a shower and nap.  My ‘power nap’ ended up lasting 10 hours.  Best sleep I’ve had in years.  So, no club show report for Thursday evening.  Next installment: Friday.

~ Continue to the Friday installment of Easy D’s Jazz Fest 2010 adventure~

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The 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:

An “Easy D” Perspective: Friday, April 30, 2010

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

Mike "Easy D" Deasy

(Read Easy D’s “Prologue” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010” here)

(Read Easy D’s “Thursday, April 29, 2010” here)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Canal Street (Photo by Jon Weber)

Although I was extremely well rested from the mega-sleep Thursday night, I did not make it out to the fairgrounds early.  We waited while one of our Krewe finally made it to the hotel after a very bad Air Tran experience.  Hey, more time to party…works for me!

Photo by Lynn Lesh

Photo by Lynn Lesh

The weather forecast for the rest of the weekend was cloudy, windy, with the chance of rain getting worse as the weekend wore on.  The storm that ravaged Nashville, Tennesse and many other places looked like it would stay north of New Orleans; Sunday might be the worst rain day.  We made allowances for the weather by throwing raincoats and ponchos into a backpack.

The Chateau Bourbon Hotel portion of my Krewe turned me on to the school bus shuttle to the Fest.  For a $17 round trip, you get door to door service to the fest in an air-conditioned school bus.  It was like being in the HOV lane!  So much better than taking a taxi.  Take note you future festers!

Photo by Derek B.

Big Chief Victor Harris the 2nd Friday @ Jazz Fest, Jazz & Heritage Stage (Photo by Derek B.)

Once out to the fairgrounds, we paused at the Jazz & Heritage stage for the Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors.  Not the best of Indian shows.  We didn’t stay long since we were on our way to Gentilly stage anyway for the subdudes.

The Subdudes (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The Subdudes' John Magnie (Photo by Adam McCullough)

The subdudes are a great roots rock band that has been around on and off since 1987.  They are known for their sparse instrumentation with a strong emphasis on songwriting and vocal harmonies.  The current lineup consists of:

Tommy Malone – lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars

John Magnie –  vocals, organ, keyboards, accordion

Steve Amedée – vocals, tambourine, drums, percussion, electric mandolin

Tim Cook – harmony vocals, bass, percussion

Jimmy Messa – bass, guitar, vocals

Look for a club show action shots of the subdudes in a future installment.  The dudes set was excellent, left me wanting more…I knew I would see them again soon…

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Steve Riley And The Mamou Playboy (Photo by Tamara Grayson)

Next up: A stroll by the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do Do stage for Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, a great Cajun band.  This is an act I have been meaning to check out for years. A special treat: three trombonists from Bonerama joined the stage during their performance!

Steve Riley’s 2008 performance at Jazz Fest earned him a Grammy Award nomination. Though he lost out to Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience Band, Riley is a musician worthy of local support and national acclaim. Zydeco music is mostly heard a little further west, but Jazz Fest is a great opportunity to check out some great local music. ~The Daily Reveille~

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

The Trio (Photo by David Grunfeld)

Time for some food!  I chose another one of my all time favorites.  My friends and I call it the Trio, but it is identified as a platter.  The Trio consists of Alligator Pie, a large Shrimp Stuffed with Crabmeat, and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Mmmm…and all for $10.

Next up: The set that I have been looking forward to for weeks: The New Orleans Social Club in the Blues tent.  This is an all-star band consisting of:

Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk) – Keyboards and Vocals

Henry Butler – Piano and Vocals

George Porter, Jr. (The Meters, etc) – Bass and Vocals

Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) – Guitar and Vocals

Raymond Weber (Dumpstaphunk) – Drums and Vocals

At the fairgrounds, in the below video, the New Orleans Social Club burns through the end of the Wild Tchopitoulas classic “Indian Red.”


If you ever get a chance to see Henry Butler perform, I urge not to walk, but run to see him.  He is a national treasure.  To give you an idea, check out this video about the recording of Honeybee for Papa Mali’s Do Your Thing album:

There was no reason to leave the Blues tent since The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band were up next.   This husband and wife team were excellent as usual.  The band also included a couple of Burbridges:  Oteil, the bassist from The Allman Brothers Band and Kofi, keys, flute, etc. from The Derek Trucks Band.

It was very hot and extremely humid in the tent so my gang moved on.  Earlier in the day, we received word that Aretha Franklin had canceled for some undisclosed diva reason.  Late replacement:  Earth, Wind and Fire at the Acura stage!  Very nice!  After a couple of sexy soulful  tunes, my Krewe (of guys) all started looking at each other kinda funny.  We realized that we better head for the school bus and head back to the French Quarter.  A very nice day indeed.  And the weather held up!!!

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Earth, Wind and Fire @ Jazz Fest 2010

Friday Evening at the Rock ‘N’ Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

Rock 'N' Bowl

There were lots of great music choices for Friday night club shows.  I really wanted to see 7 Walkers featuring Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzman.  They were playing a theater show opening for Gov’t Mule as well as a later show at Mardi Gras World. When I’m in New Orleans, I much prefer to go to the clubs instead of a theater.  There are so many fun clubs in New Orleans in so many different neighborhoods.  Much of the time, magical things happen when musicians go from club to club to sit in on other artist’s sets.

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

John Mooney at the Rock 'N' Bowl

We decided to go to The Rock ‘N’ Bowl, a great music venue and bowling alley in the Mid City neighborhood.   A couple of years ago, The Rock ‘N’ Bowl moved from one location to more spacious quarters on Carrollton Ave.  The new place is much nicer for music, much more spacious and comfortable.  The lineup for the evening:  John Mooney and Bluesiana, Sonny Landreth, and Bonerama.

John Mooney is a delta, swamp, slide, Louisiana blues guitarist and singer who has called New Orleans home since 1976.  John’s trio put on a great performance while enduring the chatter that opening acts inevitably have to deal with.

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Sonny Landreth @ Jazzfest 2010

Next up Lafayette Louisiana’s own Sonny Landreth, another Louisiana slide master.  I am a longtime fan of Sonny.  How big a fan?  My 12 year old Nissan Sentra sports a Sonny Landreth bumper sticker that reads ‘My Other Car is a Zydecoldsmobile’ which references Sonny’s rockin’ tune USS Zydecoldsmobile.  Sonny has a long career of collaborations with the likes of John Hiatt and the Goners (along with Sonny’s bassist David Ranson), Bonnie Raitt, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jimmy Buffett, and many others.

Grant Street Album

Grant Street Album

For this show, Sonny had his usual power trio setup with David Ranson on bass, and a drummer du jour.  Tunes in the set included Native Stepson, Port of Calling, All About You, and USS Zydecoldsmobile.  To get a sense of Sonny live, I recommend Sonny’s Grant Street live album.

Bonerama:

Lastly we all had to get ‘boned’.   Bonerama is a rock band fronted by several trombones/horns.   In addition to playing killer covers, Bonerama featured three songs in the set from their excellent recently released Hard Times EP.   Later in the show, the Bones brought up to the stage guitarist Jimmy Robinson (Woodenhead, Twangorama) for the end of the set and the encore.  Bones and guitar for Whipping Post and War Pigs!  Yeah you right!

Bonerama set list:

Bayou Betty
Cabbage Alley
Lost My House
The Ocean
Hard Times
I Got Loaded
Close The Door
Whipping Post *
Folly *

Encore: War Pigs *

Note: * w/ Jimmy Robinson on Guitar

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