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September 2010 Potential Show Run Down!

September 2010 Potential Show Run Down

Calendar updated daily!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Gent Treadly @ The Red Lion
  • ($10-$12) Hot Buttered Rum @Rocks Off Cruise
  • ($15) Jason Lindner Trio & Mark Guiliana @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($25) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard
  • ($30-$35) Rhythm Devils @ B.B. Kings

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

  • (Free) Heart @ Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • ($5-$7) DJ Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late night)
  • ($10) The Meters Experience feat. Leo Nocentelli @ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live)
  • ($25) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard
  • ($40 – $150+) Michael McDonald, Donald Fagen & Boz Scaggs @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($175) Al Green @ B.B. Kings

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

  • ($10-$12) The Radiators @ The Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($20) Garaj Mahal @ The Blue Note
  • ($25) DJ Questlove, Talib Kweli and Nina Sky @ Webster Hall
  • ($25) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard
  • ($10) The Brew & Kung-Fu @ Sullivan Hall

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

  • ($157) Electric Zoo Festival, NY
    • Pretty Lights @ Electric Zoo Festival
    • Chemical Brothers @ Electric Zoo Festival
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($5) Chico Mann @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard
  • ($38-$100+) Stone Temple Pilots @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

  • ($157) Electric Zoo Festival, NY
    • Bassnectar @ Electric Zoo Festival
    • Moby @ Electric Zoo Festival
    • Digweed @ Electric Zoo Festival
    • Orchard Lounge @ Electric Zoo Festival
  • ($35) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell @ Village Vanguard

Monday, September 6th, 2010

  • ($??) Mark Guiliana (w/ Nir Felder 4) @ 55 Bar
  • ($5-$8) Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen (Comedy) @ Littlefield
    • Reggie Watts, Mike Amato, Jamie Lee Reggie Watts
  • ($8) Jim Campilongo & Dred Scott Trio @ The Living Room
  • ($40) Big Boi @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10 food/drink min.) Will Bernard Trio @ Jules Bistro
  • Charlie Hunter Residency @ Cameo Gallery @ The Lovin’ Cup Cafe
    • w/ Michael R. Williams (bass trumpet) and Eric Kalb (drums)
  • ($14) Jessica Lurie Ensemble @ Joe’s Pub

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

  • ($7) Orgone (w/ The Beautiful Girls) @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25) Fishbone @ Webster Hall
  • ($15-$20) Fire Burning Rain- Jihae Performance @ Le Poisson Rouge

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

  • (Free) Taylor Carson @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($??) New York Funk Exchange @ Club Groove NY
  • ($5-$7) DJ Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late night)
  • ($18) Fishbone @ Mexicali Blues (NJ)
  • ($??) Chico Mann @ Ella Lounge
  • ($25) Vertical Horizon @ Rock Off Cruise (W/ Kelli)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

  • Catskill Chill Music Festival, NY
  • (Free) Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free set @ 11pm) Band of Changes (a Joe Russo/Scott Metzger Project) @ Lakeside Lounge
  • ($5) BR & Timebomb @ Kenny Castaway’s
  • ($10) Toubab Krewe NYC CD Release Party @ The Brooklyn Bowl (w/ Eclectic Method)
  • ($10) BuzzUniverse & Turbine @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($10-$12) Orgone @ Sullivan Hall
    • w/ Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds / Ikebe Shakedown
  • ($25-$70) John Prine w/ Todd Snider @ The Beach @ Governors Island

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

  • Catskill Chill Music Festival, NY
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($??) DJ Nutritious @ Fontana’s
  • ($??) Mark Guliana @ 55 Bar
  • ($5) The Dynamites feat. Charles Walker @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10-$15) The Heavy Pets (w/ Dangermuffin) @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($25-$30) Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars @ Knitting Factory

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

  • ($12) Stockholm Syndrome @ Brooklyn Bowl

Monday, September 13th, 2010

  • ($7)  Afro Funky Party w/ Zongo Junction, Top Shotta & DJ Offbeat @ Cameo Gallery
  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($10 food/drink min.) Will Bernard Trio @ Jules Bistro
  • ($25) The Mingus Big Band @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens @ Fort Greene Park! (Funk Live)
  • Charlie Hunter Residency @ Cameo Gallery @ The Lovin’ Cup Cafe
    • w/ Tomango (urban tapdance)
  • ($28-$30) Ziggy Marley @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($35) Brian Culbertson @ B.B. Kings

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

  • ($??) Jason Linder Trio @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • (FREE ONLINE) Esperanza Spalding on Borders Livestream
  • ($20-$24) Gaelic Storm@ Highline Ballroom
  • ($39.50) Vampire Weekend @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($20) The Toadies @ The Gramercy Theater

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

  • ($5-$7) DJ Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late night)
  • ($15) Trainwreck (feat. Kyle Gass of Tenacious D.) @ The Mercury Lounge
  • ($15-$20) The Young Dubliners @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($39.50) Vampire Weekend @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($39.50 – $45) Cake @ Rumsey Playfield
  • ($38-$50) Taylor Hicks @ Tarrytown Music Hall
  • ($55, $65, $75) Monica @ Beacon Theater

Friday, September 17th, 2010

  • ($??) Chico Mann @ Zebulon
  • (Free) Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
  • ($39.50) Vampire Weekend @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($39.50 – $45) Ween @ Rumsey Playfield
  • ($55, $65, $75) Monica @ Beacon Theater

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($8) Jesse Dee @ The Blue Note (midnight show)
  • ($14) Holy Fuck @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($14) Budos Band @ Southpaw
  • ($15-$20) The Upright Citizens Brigade TourCo @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($20) Eric Lindell (w/ Paul Sanchez) @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($25) Jamie Lidell @ Webster Hall
  • ($25) Zach Deputy @ Rocks Off Cruise
  • ($30) Broken Social Scene @ Rumsey Playfield

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

  • ($35-$45) Ziggy Marley @ Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
  • ($38.50) Pavement @ The Williamsburg Waterfront

Monday, September 20th, 2010

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big Band @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($25) Dark Star Orchestra @ Mexicali Blues (NJ)
    • A special acoustic show

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($7) Trainwreck (Feat. Kyle Gass of Tenacious D.) @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard
  • ($25-$45) Paula Cole Record Release @ City Winery
  • ($38.50) Pavement @ Central Park’s Summer Stage
  • Charlie Hunter Residency @ Cameo Gallery @ The Lovin’ Cup Cafe
    • w/ Matt Chamberlain (drums)

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

  • (Free) DJ Nutritious w/ Navegante @ Santos Party House
  • ($??) Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Secret Project Robot
  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard
  • ($38.50) Pavement @ The Rumsey Playfield
  • ($73-$95) OPENING NIGHT: New York Philharmonic @ Avery Fisher Hall

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

  • ($5-$7) DJ Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late night)
  • ($12) Stanton Moore Trio w/ Andres Osborne @ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live)
  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard
  • ($35) Big Brother and the Holding Company @ Mexicali Blues (NJ)
  • ($??) NY Funk Exchange @ Club Groove
  • ($30) John Legend & The Roots @ Terminal 5
  • ($38.50) Pavement @ The Rumsey Playfield
  • ($40-$138) Itzhak Perlman Performs Mendelssohn @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)

Friday, September 24th, 2010

  • ($??) Gent Treadly @ Flannery’s
  • (Free) Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) The Brass Underground (Speakeasy Friday) @ No 1 Front Street
  • ($10-$15) Count Your Blessings @ 88 Place
  • ($15-$17) Perpetual Groove @ The Bowery Ballroom
  • ($20) Abigail Washburn @ Joe Pub’s
  • ($24) Great Big Sea @ Webster Hall
  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard
  • ($38.50) Pavement @ The Rumsey Playfield
  • ($45) Dee Dee Bridgewater @ Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • ($40-$138) Itzhak Perlman Performs Mendelssohn @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)
  • ($40-$75) Alice in Chains @ Madison Square Garden
    • Deftones opening as Special Guest

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

  • ($??) Gent Treadly @ Brooklyn Rooftop Party
  • ($??) Itzhak Perlman @ Avery Fisher Hall
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($10) Perpetual Groove @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($20) The Constellations @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard
  • ($25) A Benefit for MAPS: Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies with Twilight
    • Feat. Roots of Creation / Biodiesel / Sophistafunk and DJ Morale
  • ($36.50 – $40) Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes @ B.B. Kings
  • ($40-$138) Itzhak Perlman Performs Mendelssohn @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

  • ($25) Ravi Coltrane @ The Village Vanguard

Monday, September 27th, 2010

  • (Free) Jason Lindner Trio & Mark Guiliana @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($8) Jim Campilongo @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big Band @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • Charlie Hunter Residency @ Cameo Gallery @ The Lovin’ Cup Cafe
    • w/ Michael R. Williams (bass trumpet) and Eric Kalb (drums)
  • ($10) Talib Kweli @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($30-$35) Amos Lee @ Hiro Ballroom
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (8pm Set)
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (10:30pm Set)
  • ($40-$138) Itzhak Perlman Performs Mendelssohn @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

  • ($20-$25) Chuck Brown @ B.B. Kings
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (8pm Set)
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (10:30pm Set)
  • ($32-$112) Alan Gilbert Conducts Mahler’s Sixth Symphony @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

  • ($5-$7) DJ Questlove @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late night)
  • ($8) The Farewell Drifters @ The Living Room
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (8pm Set)
  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note (10:30pm Set)
  • ($33.50) Dave Mason (of Traffic) @ B.B. Kings
  • ($35) Joshua Redman Trio @ The Jazz Standard
    • w/ Matt Penman & Gregory Hutchinson
  • ($45-$65) Esperanza Spalding @ Skirball center for the Performing Arts
  • ($45) Chick Corea Trio @ Highline Ballroom
    • Feat. Christian McBride & Brian Blade
  • ($50) Belle & Sebastian @ East River Williamsburg Waterfront
  • ($32-$112) Alan Gilbert Conducts Mahler’s Sixth Symphony @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)
AMEO GALLERY @ LOVIN’ CUP CAFE
w/ Michael R. Williams (bass trumpet) and Eric Kalb (drums)

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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 and Heritage Festival

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Part I

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

What a week!  My third trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) was nothing short of incredible.  The surprises were many, the disappointments were few, the food was awesome, and when you get to hear some of the best music in the world in one the most important musical towns in the world, you’re in for a good time.

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

2010 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival takes place over the last weekend of April and first weekend in May at the New Orleans Fairgrounds, but, like most parties in this town, can’t be contained in one venue, so Fest spills out in the clubs, halls, restaurants, bars, record stores, boats, coffee houses, laundromats, Carnival float warehouses, street corners and empty lots of the Crescent City.  Two things set Jazz Fest apart from other festivals in my mind – the musical diversity and the food.

Who Dat Ville

Photo by Marisa Harford

While heavy metal, pop, opera, classical aren’t there, and quality hip hop is not so represented (The Roots and Chali 2na were both here in 2008, haven’t seen a hip hop group I like since at the fairgrounds), some of the very best in Jazz, Funk, Blues, Gospel, Zydeco, Cajun, Folk, Rock are all over the place at the fairgrounds and in the venues around town.  Ani DiFranco and Gift of Gab played club shows, members of REM sat in with Bonerama, Pearl Jam, Elvis Costello, Simon and Garfunkel, Van Morrison all played at the fairgrounds, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is solely a Jazz festival, because it ain’t.  Sure, there are 3 different jazz stages at the fairgrounds (one for general jazz, one for traditional New Orleans Dixieland Jazz, and one split between brass bands and Mardi Gras Indians) but there are also two main stages, a gospel and blues tents, a zydeco/Cajun stage… you get the idea.

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

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

The food at the fairgrounds is tremendous.  It is freaking delicious and goes way beyond “best festival food you’ll have” into some of the best you’ll ever have…period.  I wait all year for Prejeans Pheasant, Duck, and Andouille Gumbo.  Their Fried Chicken and Jambalaya combo is one of the best ways to spend $8.  And I’m not even talking about all the things most folks seem to like, like the crawfish monica, the shrimp po boys, the cochon de lait sandwiches, the mango freezes… trust me when I say you should budget yourself 20 bucks per day for food at the fairgrounds. You’ll thank me.

Photo By Lynn Lesh 2010

Photo By Lynn Lesh

This being my third Jazz Fest, I tend to have a rhythm I like to follow, things I like to do.  Some of my favorite moments of Fest have happened during the in between days or extra days, so I tend to do second weekend with an extra day or two on either end of the weekend.  This gives me time to actually see the city, something I don’t really do as much while the music is in full swing.  This also gives me a chance to catch additional great music at various places, including the Louisiana Music Factory which hosts many in store sets during the days surrounding Fest.  I think this review works best chronologically, so let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Welcome to NOLA

Welcome to NOLA

Wednesday: April 28, 2010: Day One

Arrive at airport, no traffic on Bronx/Queens Expressway and breeze through security line… only to find a gate full of ANGRY people.  Why so serious?  You see, the airlines don’t apparently know that it is Jazz Fest, even if millions of people do.  So they oversell flights, and are shocked when they need 5 volunteers to go later, but folks already have reservations and concert tickets.  I considered getting bumped, but wanted to get to town.

House of Blues, New Orleans

House of Blues, New Orleans

I don’t normally do House of Blues shows, would rather support local clubs.  But today, they had Kermit Ruffins of the Barbecue Swingers, doing a “Treme House Party” on stage with Walter Wolfman Washington, Dr. Michael White, Henry Butler, and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.  This sounded awesome.  Plus, Fesshead Krewe (represented by a metal bust of Professor Longhair) was hosting a party in an empty lot, with The  Rebirth Brass Band and an all star band of Neville-related project alums (Band called “Never Was Brothers”), which sounded great.  So no flight credit for me. Really excited about this House of Blues‘ show.  So excited that I call after I land to see if I should get tickets early or just walk up.  The box office suggested coming early so I head right from my host’s place towards The French Quarter.  On the way, pass by Fesshead Fest, and never have a received a look of utter betrayal like the one I got from the man waiving people in to Fesshead Fest.  The guy was shocked that I kept driving, how could I do this to him?!  But I stopped long enough to hear The  Rebirth Brass Band rock out one tune and was it hot!

Café Du Monde beignets

Café Du Monde's Beignets (Photo by Marisa Harford)

Park on Decatur, run to the box office, snag a ticket, stop by Café Du Monde for some beignets (French donuts with powdered sugar) and some Café Au Lait (coffee with milk).  Great couple musicians jamming on some folk and soul music out front, a sister with dreads on guitar, a youngish guy on guitar, a drummer… another guitarist walks up and joins them, as does a singer, who starts singin’ the hell out of some Bill Withers.  I love Bill Withers.  Hey, apparently, so does Cyril Neville, who’s suddenly standing five feet from me, also checking them out.  I decide not to say anything to him, even though he’s an amazing musician who’s done some amazing stuff, most recently touring with Galactic and burning down The Brooklyn Bowl after The Saints won the Super Bowl.  Another woman walks up and starts singing Aretha Franklin‘s “Chain of Fools” and is fantastic.  This is gonna be a good week.

Go hang with my host for a few moments before I head over the House of Blues, he’s an old friend through social justice work and is a good dude trying to good work in a city that needs it.  Off to HOB!

Photo by Matt Cornell

Kermit's Poster (Photo by Matt Cornell)

Show review:

This show had all the makings of an epic, but some things worried me – like why call it a “Treme House Party” when people can go see Kermit Ruffins playing in the Treme tomorrow night?  It’s Jazz Fest.  My guess is that lineup doesn’t need to piggy back off the show, even if it is popular.  Great opening act, singer and a guitarist accompanying.  Great voice, insane Mariah Carey-like upper range.  But the main event was a disappointment, for a few reasons:

1)      The curtain opened and we were watching a ‘Treme House Party’.  The stage was set with couches, chairs, a bar, and random non musicians hangin’ out, having drinks.  Weird.  The House of Blues brings you a fake version of something that exists for real a couple miles away tomorrow.

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show

Trombone Shorty @ Kermit's Show (Photo by Matt Cornell)

2)      I had hoped there would be some real interaction between the guests, with each other, with Kermit.  But the show was a lot more of Kermit plays one song, special guest X leads The Barbeque Swingers for a few numbers, maybe Kermit joins on one, then special guest X leaves.  LAME.  Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t actually lame, the musicianship was fantastic, but the vibe was off, and Kermit having a drink on stage, trumpet in hand, while someone else leads his band and doesn’t get in on it?  Weird stuff.

3)      Because of 1 and 2, things were low energy for the first half, which is a shame b/c Walter Wolfman Washington and Dr. Michael White were great.  But Henry Butler really kicked things up a notch with his cover of “Mustang Sally.”  Then Trombone Shorty’s mini set was also great and he brought his brother James Andrews out to do “Skokie” and “Oop Oop A Doo.”

Treme on HBO

Treme on HBO

4)      I’m sure Treme is awesome.  I can’t wait to see the series, actually.  And I very much dig John Boutte, the guy who wrote the song that became the theme.  Still, it sounds a lot like the beginning to “Do Whatcha Wanna“, and I got very excited the four times I heard it this weekend, only to be disappointed.  My guess is musicians in NOLA will be as tired of that song as they are of “The Saints” very soon.

I know folks say that bad sex and pizza, even when they’re bad, are pretty good.  But whoever said those things must clearly not know good pizza and good sex, because pretty good doesn’t freaking cut it when it could be mind blowing.  While pretty good, and probably great for folks who didn’t know they could expect more, this show was probably the disappointment of the weekend.  It could have been one of those crazy moments of synergy when brilliant musicians make something happen, but instead it was a weird, gimmicky thing that was more like an all-star review than the party I had hoped for.

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Irvin Mayfield and the NOJO Jam

Next up, I stopped by the Jam Session at Irvin Mayfield’s new place, called a “head cutting session.”  For y’all don’t know, cutting heads is not just jamming, but is actually competitive combat.  Kinda how a poetry slam is to spoken word and performance poetry.  So, to hear it billed like that, I was hoping for some folks spitting fiyo.  What was going down there was a bunch of younger cats playing some charts together.

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

Megalomaniac's Ball - Garage A Trois (Photo by Jon Weber)

It was great to see them finding their feet, but again, not quite what I expected.  Still, the players was solid, lotsa horn players getting their groove on to “Straight“, “No Chaser” and whatnot.    Good times.  Caught several songs then felt my energy start to flag a lil bit.  While I was enjoying the jamming, it wasn’t worth starting the week off sleep deprived.  It was too late to hit The Megalomaniac’s Ball, featuring Garage A Trois, Stanton Moore Trio, Dead Kenny G’s, Mike Dillon and Earl Harvin Duo, at The Howlin’ Wolf, so I decided to head back towards the rental car.  A good but not great start to the week, was starting to feel a little bummed.  Thing is, some of the best shows I’ve seen at Fest have been the night before, so expectations were great and not met.

So…it’s 2am and I’m driving down Elysian Fields and about to turn onto my friend’s street…when I hear a brass band.  I immediately park.  Last year there were brass band battles on Frenchman, a block away.  I head towards Frenchman and sure enough there are two small groups going at it, with a frenzied group of dancers between them.  More and more players join up, including Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter, formerly of Trombone Shorty’s band.  It’s getting crazy.  The crowd is getting larger.  For the second time today, Cyril Neville bumps into me.  I decide again not to say anything.  A guy shows up with a baritone (smaller version of a tuba) and another guy with weird saxophones.  A shorter Latina woman is dancing like crazy.  Cyril bumps into me again and I thank him for such a great Super Bowl show at The Brooklyn Bowl with Galactic.

Cyril: Aww, thank you man.  You know, that night… we were Doin Work! You know?

Me: Yeah you right. And brother, you sure were.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews has now shown up and though half the crowd is spraining eyeballs trying to notice it is him without staring, he’s unarmed and just there to watch.  The band is taking it up and up.  Two drunk dudes are doing their best to ruin it by stumbling into the band but thankfully not succeeding.  Clarence ‘Trixzey’ Slaughter is KILLING on his horn.  Hell yeah! Finally, the band busts out “Saints” for a while, then second line and it’s a wrap.  Instead of bed by 2am, it’s more like 4:30am now.  And while still a little disappointed about the first show, I went to sleep real happy.  Seen some great musicianship and showmanship, and Jazz Fest hadn’t even restarted.  This was gonna be an awesome week.

~ Article by: Russ Agdern ~

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