Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Some Choices For JazzFest's Second Weekend

Esperanza Spalding
I am not attending JazzFest this year, having opted for the French Quarter Festival. However looking at the schedule on nojazzfest.com, I have made some suggestions of acts that I recommend for the second weekend. I generally stay away from major label, national touring acts in this list.

Little Freddie King
On Thursday May 3, some blues worth catching in the Blues Tent include Kipori ‘Baby Wolf’ Wood; J’Monique’d and Little Freddie King. James Cotton closes the Blues Tent that day. I saw Mia Borders for the first time at the French Quarter Fest and was quite impressed that I bought a CD by her. She is on the Gentilly Stage where she will be followed by legendary bassist George Porter, Jr. & the Runnin’ Pardners. The Congo Square Stage has The Stooges Brass Band followed by Henry Butler. Grammy® Award winner Esperanza Spalding:Radio Music Society closes that stage. On the Fais Do Do Stage one can here the Savoy Family Cajun Band, and Rosie Ledet are featured along with Ani DeFranco. The WWOZ Jazz tent features the marvelous Dutch pianist-composer Amina Figarova Septet along with Regina Carter while the Economy Hall Tent has the vivacious Banu Gibson and trumpeter Kid Chocolate. The iconic and influential Dirty Dozen Brass Band perform on the Acura Stage.

Germaine Bazzle
Some suggestions for Friday May 4 in the Blues Tent include a couple of Bourbon Street favorites, Bryan Lee and Big Al Carson. Others in the tent this day include Reggie Hall, Wanda Rouzan and Deacon John. I saw the latter two at the French Quarter Festival and loved Wanda’s survey of New Orleans music while Deacon John did not get into his blues thing till his set was nearly over. Be curious if he displays more of a blues focus in the tent. On the Gentilly Stage one can see local favoriteTheresa Andersson as well as the Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela et C.U.B.A.. New Orleans vocalists Phillip Manuel and Germaine Bazzle along with Terri Carrington Lynne’s Mosaic are in the WWOZ Jazz Tent, while in Economy Hall Tent the reliable Connie Jones opens things up. Closing this stage will be Wycliffe Gordon Quintet’s "Hello Pops: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong." A younger, traditionally oriented cajun band, Feufollet, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band and Lil Nathan & the Zydeco BigTimers will have the folks at the Fais Do Do Stage dancing. The legendary Mavis Staples is in the Gospel Tent.

John Boutté
Saturday May 5 suggestions start with Guitar Slim, Jr; Mac Arnold; and the Joe Krown, Wolfman Washington & Russell Batiste Trio in the Blues Tent. Incidentally Dr. John will guest with the Warren Haynes Band to close this stage this day. Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas are on the Acura Stage while Big Sam’s Funky Nation is on the Congo Square Stage. One of my favorite singers anywhere is John Boutté, and this is the day of his appearance in the WWOZ Jazz tent which will close with the genius of Herbie Hancock. Young Tuxedo Jazz Band; the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Louis Jones will be in the Economy Hall Tent while the great lineup at the Fais Do Do Stage includes cajun veteran Belton Richard; Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys and Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. On the Jazz and Heritage Stage on can see the Original Pin Stripe Brass Band along with the New Birth Brass Band. Aaron Neville does his annual gospel performance in Gospel Tent.

Keith Frank
On the closing day, Sunday May 6, Kermit Ruffins and the Funky Meters are on the Gentilly Stage on which the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (likely with special guests) replace the disbanded Radiators to close the festival on this stage. Mem Shannon and Rebirth Brass band are on the Congo Square Stage while Orange Kellin and George French are in Economy Hall Tent which closes with Ruby Wilson’s tribute to Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. In the WWOZ Jazz tent, there will be a Living Tribute to Harold Battiste as Jazz ambassador (and legendary A&R man and teacher). Harold Battiste gets a heartfelt “thank you” from New Orleans jazz greats Jesse McBride, Ellis Marsalis and Germaine Bazzle. David Sanborn appears with organist Joey DeFrancesco. On the Fais Do Do Stage will be the Red Stick Ramblers, and Keith Frank. Asleep At The Wheel also is on this stage. On the Jazz and Heritage Stage will have Los Hombres Calientes feat. Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield along with a performance by Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias. In the Gospel tent will be the Boutté Family Sunday Praise with John, Lillian, Tricia, Lorna, Tanya, and Arséne. Tom McDermott and Friends will be on the Lagniappe Stage followed by Ed Volker, formerly of The Radiators. The main Acura Stage closes out, as is traditional, with The Neville Brothers.

There are my suggestions of musical performances that will undoubtedly include some performers outside of what you might normally see. I should mention, there are also fascinating interview-oral histories taking place throughout on the Allison Miner Stage. For those lucky enough to be there, I hope hope the weather cooperates and that you have a culinary as well well as musical feast at JazzFest

All photos copyright by Ron Weinstock
Amina Figarova

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