Thursday, April 26, 2012

1st Weekend JazzFest Suggestions From One Who Cannot Be There

D.L. Menard
Photo © Ron Weinstock
A comment to a post on this blog requested if I had any recommendations for JazzFest this year and then Steve Kiviat, who is associated with the Washington City Paper, mentioned he was going to JazzFest for the first weekend and it was the first time in six years. He knew most of the funk acts and brass bands so he requested some other suggestions including any idea about Luther Kent and Ernie Vincent. I replied to Steve by email and am using my response to him as the basis for some Festival recommendations and excluding the most obvious big stage and soul acts like Bruce Springsteen and Al Green.

Evan Christopher - Photo © Ron Weinstock
I have not seen Ernie Vincent who is in the Blues Tent as is Luther Kent (who I have seen and is real good). However, Luther is opposite Evan Christopher who will be in the WWOZ Jazz Tent. Evan’s new Clarinet Road CD, In Sidney’s Footsteps (STR Digital) is superb.

Of special note on Friday, Stephanie Jordan and her Big Band is doing a tribute to Lena Horne and will be followed by Pancho Sanchez with Terence Blanchard.The Blues Tent becomes over-crowded but early on Friday it has legendary pianist Henry Grey followed by the former Clifton Chenier guitarist Lil Buck Sinigal. The New Orleans Revue on the Acura Stage Friday has Frankie Ford, Robert ‘Barefootin’ Parker, and Al ‘Carnival Time’ Johnson looks real good and they will be followed by The Dixie-Cups. Frankie Ford remains a terrific entertainer. The Fais Do Do Stage which features cajun and zydeco always has some good music with an exceptional lineup on Friday with Geno Delafose and Beausoleil standing out. Butch Thompson will be doing a Jelly Roll Morton tribute in the Economy Hall Tent and Irma Thomas will be doing her Mahalia Jackson Tribute in the Gospel tent.

Brother Tyrone
Photo © Ron Weinstock
On Saturday, Brother Tyrone (If You Ain’t Cheating, You Ain’t Trying) is soul-blues in Blues Tent and recommend him along with Wolfman Washington at that venue. In the WWOZ Jazz Tent I already have mentioned Evan Christopher and Clarinet Road, but also check out Irving Mayfield's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra features some terrific compositions and soloists. Closing in the Blues Tent will be a Tribute to Wardell Querzergue featuring The Dixie Cups, Robert “Barefootin’” Parker and Tony Owens. D.L. Menard (the Cajun Hank Williams), the Savoy Music Center Jam and the terrific Pine Leaf Boys will be on the Fais Do Do Stage, along with a non-cajun act, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Shamarr Allen (Meet Me On Frenchmen Street) is on the Gentilly Stage early in the day.The Voice of the Wetlands All Stars (Tab Benoit, Dr. John, Cyril Neville, Anders Osborne, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Johnny Vidacovich, Johnny Sansone and Waylon Thibodeaux are on the Acura Stage before Tom Petty.

Stephanie Jordan
Photo © Ron Weinstock
On Sunday, Dr. John and Trombone Shorty are featured on the .Acura Stage but fans of New Orleans funk should also check out Papa Grows Funk on the Gentilly Stage (overlaps Dr. John) as well as The Batiste Brothers whom will be on Congo Square (overlap with trombone Shorty). Must see in Economy Hall is Lionel Ferbos who will be celebrating his 101st Birthday soon, and The Treme Brass Band. In the WWOZ Jazz Tent, Ellis Marsalis makes his festival appearance, the great Diane Reeves will sing and Nicholas Payton leads a fascinating trio which includes Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts on drums. In the Blues Tent Corey Harris & Phil Wiggins make perform some fascinating acoustic blues followed by the JazzFest return of Ironing Board Sam, once a JazzFest mainstay. Also in the Blues Tent is Gary Clark, Jr, who has been getting lot of well-deserved press recently. Kirk Joseph's Tuba Tuba on the Jazz and Heritage Stage sounds really fascinating as he leads a group of New Orleans finest Tuba players. Highlights on the Fais Do Do Stage on Sunday are Steve Riley and Hadley Castille, while guitarist Spencer Bohren performs on the Lagniappe Stage.

So that is my specific recommendations including some you may have not considered. Have a great Fest. I will post recommendations for the second weekend May 1 or 2.

Papa John Gros of Papa Grows Funk
Photo © Ron Weinstock

1 comment:

Wayno & his better half Sherry said...

thanks for the suggestions. we had a fab time on Sunday at the Fest and all week long around this great eating and listening city. We met Joe Krown outside the HOB after his Piano Night set; he had played a friend of ours club in my home of Anchorage Alaska back in the '80s.
Small world.Thx keep the great music sugestions coming.