JAZZ FEST | 04.26 - 05.06 | NEW ORLEANS

05.04.07 :: FRIDAY

Words by: Kayceman

Sometimes all you need is music.

Brian Seeger and Stanton Moore :: 05.04 :: by Zack Smith
We all face countless roadblocks, from the mundane to the serious. It's often the shining anticipation of events like JazzFest that pulls us through the dog days. For many, the JazzFest itch is part of our biorhythms. Every year around the end of April, beginning of May we need to get to NOLA.

Friday, the first day of the second weekend of JazzFest, didn't pan out the way many had hoped. Strolling through the gates around noon the ominous black clouds and cooler-than- normal breezes were a sign of things come. An hour later, the skies opened up and a biblical rain fell. Even the locals were shocked at just how hard it was coming down, and soon flash floods erupted everywhere.

Cavan Caruth and Alan LaFleur
05.04 by Zack Smith
As people scattered for shelter, the Jazz Tent swelled beyond capacity for Ellis Marsalis. As water poured in from every hole in the tent walls, the legendary pianist and his ultra-pro band (featuring his youngest son, Jason, on drums) kept the wet crowd happy, transporting the masses from their shivering coldness into the magical world of music. The Marsalis family is jazz royalty, and it all started with daddy Ellis. It wasn't until his sons Branford (saxophone) and Wynton (trumpet) rose to fame in the '80s that Ellis was truly appreciated. Today, it's clear that Ellis laid the groundwork with his education and musicianship for one of the greatest musical families the world has ever known. The opportunity to sit and watch a true master was worth all the bad weather.

Eventually the deluge let up and pockets of sun appeared. There was a mad exodus from the tents as people made their way to the giant stages throughout the fairgrounds. After hiding from the rain for a few hours it was time for Zydeco! Lil Nathan is a festival favorite, and folks who needed to shake off the rain were front and center at the Fais Do Do Stage, where his Zydeco Big Timers were cooking up a good ol' time.

JazzFest 05.04
By Adam McCullough
A family affair in every sense, this was the perfect place to kick up a little mud. With his sons on washboard, Nathan plays a mean squeezebox in traditional Louisiana fashion. The whole scene is pure fun. Perhaps the most impressive moment came when Nathan's youngest son of seven dropped the washboard and hopped behind the drum kit. Similar to the Marsalis family in the Jazz Tent, there's something about families making music together that warms the heart and fills the soul.

As Friday's headliner, the legendary ZZ Top sang, "Jesus left Chicago and headed down to New Orleans" it seemed the day had come full circle. The city was flooded - power lost, traffic jams, the whole deal; yet even in the face of natural calamity, the music, specifically NOLA's own Marsalis family, was able to bring us up over the waterline.

Many more JazzFest 2007 images from Adam McCullough available HERE.

Continue reading for Late Night coverage of Second Weekend...

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