We roused ourselves, stirring uneasily at first from our beds to head to the sunshine infested fairgrounds. We weaved in through the masses, dodging bbqs, frenzied cabbies and teenage brass bands to make our way towards the entrance.

moe.'s dual guitar blasted rock filtered its way through the fairgrounds as we traversed the racetrack. We made our way towards the Sprint PCS stage where it was easy enough to tuck ourselves in pretty close on Al’s side to get a great view. moe.'s set played well to the (mostly) younger crowd bobbing in the sunshine. Their hour long slot featured "Bring It Back Home," "Bodhisattva," "Faker" > "Kids," with a "Rebubula" encore.

Musically, the highlight proved to be the 15 minute "Rebubula" encore featuring the appropriate refrain: “Rip off all my limbs/Poke out both my eyes/Pull out my swollen tongue/Wear a thin disguise.../I'll find my way back to you!” Somehow amidst all of the crazy things we had done to our bodies over the weekend, we had managed to make it back to the fairgrounds on what would be our last day in NOLA.

After a couple hours of rest, we hopped in a cab and skipped out of the French Quarter and over to the Howlin’ Wolf to catch Karl Denson’s 10 PM show. When we showed up, the place was packed and Karl was already back to his old tricks, shaking one of the myriad of percussion instruments while his band tore into the groove.

Brian Jordan seemed more comfortable this night, with his favorite hollow body back in his hands, freer to play his jazzy lead lines without Lenny looming onstage. Once again, a stirring version of the Curtis Mayfield cover “Check out your mind” proved to be the musical highlight, with Karl displaying his rarely showcased vocal talent and the whole band breaking into a downright nasty rock/funk groove.

I hopped out of the Wolf and over to the Saenger around 1 AM to catch what I could of the Superjam featuring: Carter Beauford, John Medeski, Marc Ribot, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Joshua Redman. As I made my way into the theater I could hear the familiar Hendrix tune “Hey Joe” emanating from within the hall. This version was slowed down significantly and featured a very solid, deep, progressive bass line, and an amazing wash of electric vibrational keyboards, proving a very groovy version of this song. Medeski’s electric keys dominated the sound of the band, with his powerfully calamitous style, producing a full grungy blues sound that could only be assimilated by an eclectic mix of talented musicians who don’t usually share the stage.

Once the Superjam rounded up I walked down Canal, then through the French Quarter to the House of Blues. I immediately ran into our crowd who had gathered back together from the Karl show and the Meters at Tip’s uptown. We eventually headed into the show, climbing the steps to the Parish @ the House of Blues, a venue that sports a unique décor, accented by deep wooden walls, stained glass windows and religious symbology throughout. The Parish seemed a fitting venue to finish our Sunday worship, a temple to commemorate all the incredible musicians we had enjoyed throughout the course of the weekend.

The place was already packed when we made our way inside; apparently Soulive had already torn through most of their first set. Eric Krasno, the guitarist, looked to be in pretty good health despite having to cancel a week’s worth of shows across the country due to mono. Setting himself upon his stool at center stage, he traded off leads and supporting textures with the keyboardist, providing one of the fullest sounds out there of any power trio.

In actuality though, most of the show was played as a quartet, for the first set there was an unknown saxophonist who joined Soulive. Then, for the first song of the second set, Joshua Redman hit the stage, cranking out lines with the force and tenacity worthy of a Karl Denson solo, but with the musical forethought and interplay characteristic of a learned jazz musician.

It was quite a treat having Joshua Redman join the ranks of ‘jambands’ for the nightly shows at jazzfest. We can only hope that this will signal a further connection between the jazz and jamband scene in the years to come. Just as Les Claypool made his leap from Progressive hard-edged rock to the jamband scene, let’s hope that Joshua finds what he likes on the circuit and decides to collaborate with all of the other talented musicians on the scene today.

Soulive finished up their show with a driving one-song encore, the whole crowd at the Parish shaking and writhing to a very upbeat, funky tune. For once we were sent back into the streets and were not greeted by the daylight, so we headed back to the dive bar next door, and proceeded to lace the jukebox with party favorites. Soon the sun would find us once again, though, so we had no other choice than to hop in a cab and head uptown to “Igor’s”, for there’s no more fitting way to cap off your Jazzfest than to enjoy mimosas along with your friends on a beautiful NOLA Monday morning.

Lee Bouyea
JamBase at JazzFest
Go See Live Music!


[Published on: 5/9/01]

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