New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Sunday, May 6th
Last call for fun. Here’s another one to print and pack.
Sunday at the Acura Stage will feature Galactic, and fantastic New Orleans band that combines lots of New Orleans influences and makes it all sound brand new. A couple of the guys will be interviewed at 4:00 in the grandstand. They play at 1:25, followed at 3:10 by The Foo Fighters. And if you plan to camp out there all day, good call because the Neville Brothers wrap up the fest 2012 at 5:45. One of the things I love about the fest is that it ends at 7:00. That gives you time for a quick power nap and shower before you find a fantastic meal and maybe more music at a club. It breaks up the mob before dark, and spreads it out all over the city.
I’m glad I won’t be there because these choices are heart breaking. The Gentilly Stage is tempting. Another good place to park it if you’re tired of roaming. What a lineup! at 12:30, one of my faves, Kermit Ruffins & The Barbeque Swingers. Louis Armstrong is no longer with us, but Kermit, like Louis, takes us to a joyful place. He’s gotten some face time on HBO’s Treme. Highly recommended. So New Orleans. He’s followed at 2:00 by the Funky Meters. What Booker T. & The M.G.’s was to Memphis, The Meters were to New Orleans. The line up has gone through some changes, but this year’s model include two of the essential original members, Art Neville and George Porter Jr. Art’s gonna be busy Sunday. They are followed at 3:45 by Bonnie Raitt on her comeback tour. If you haven’t seen her live, you might not be aware of what a great slide guitarist she is. Then they close it down for the year after Preservation Hall & Friends continue their celebration of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s 50th anniversary at 5:35.
Congo Square is competing with some amazing line ups, so you might want to swing by on your way to crawfish monica to hear the Rebirth Brass Band at 3:45. Talk about makin a joyful noise.
I think the highlight at the Jazz Tent could be at 2:05 with A Living Tribute to Harold Battiste featuring Jesse McBride, Ellis Marsalis, and Germaine Bazzle. Harold is getting up there in years. What a life. A college level music educator and amazing arranger and producer. These are just a few of his hits: You Send Me by Sam Cooke, I Know by Barbara George, Joe Jones’ You Talk Too Much, Ya Ya by Lee Dorsey, Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe and others. He produced some of Doctor John’s early albums and played piano for Tom Waits. Wow. What a list.
There are Nevilles everywhere in town. The Charmaine Neville Band features Charles’ daughter at 1:30. But I think the standout will be the amazing Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. If you saw Amy Winehouse when she made her one appearance in Chicago, she was backed by one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. The Dap Kings! They are the house band of Dap Tones Records. What the Meters are to New Orleans, the Dap Kings are to Brooklyn. And Sharon is a real deal soul singer. Try not to miss this.
The Economy Hall Tent will feature a lot of outstanding traditional jazz with a tribute to Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey by Ruby Wilson, a blues singer from Memphis. She’s the Queen of Beale Street. What a voice! This sounds like a winner, and she starts her set at 5:50.
For one more chance to hear zydaco and cajun music, make it over to the Fais Do Do stage. For something completely different, try some western swing with Asleep At The Wheel at 3:45. This is a good stage for dancing, but that should send everyone into a frenzy. Woo Hoo! Plus a couple members of the band will be interviewed in the grandstand at 2:00.
The Jazz & Heritage Stage is always good for Indians and brass bands, but they will outdo themselves Sunday with a couple of outstanding bands. Los Hombres Calientes featuring Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield play at 2:50, followed at 4:25 by Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias. Back to back New Orleans magic. Catch at least some of this. Please. For your own good.
The Gospel Tent will be full of great choirs raising the roof (if there was a roof on the tent), but at 1:30 you can witness the Zion Harmonizers. They have been New Orleans top gospel male vocal group for generations. Really. We’re talking 70 years. This is the real deal.
One more interview you may want to check out. This is a great way to learn more about the music and culture. At 1:00 in the grandstand they will do a program on Ernie K. Doe with stories by Ben Sandmell, author of Ernie K-Doe: R&B Emperor of New Orleans. He will also be joined by Allen Toussaint and Walter “Wolfman” Washington. That should be incredible!!! Wish I was there!
And if you made it to New Orleans or not, you can purchase recordings of some of the sets of this year’s festival. Visit http://www.jazzfestlive.com.
Gotta go make plans for next year……