all that is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it is the intimacy
that is the most endearing and awe-inspiring essence of the occasion. It peaks
the senses to the brink of their reach and keeps the mind constantly guessing
because, well, you never know what might happen next. That closeness, the wills
and wishes, that is the beauty found among the many flavors of Royal Orleans.
Alex Chaykin and Spencer Garn of Wild
Mountain Productions have these very same feelings, and during the festival’s
second weekend (April 30th - May 3rd) they are the proprietors of some of the
tightest rooms in town. And by tight I mean close, and I mean tight, dig? The
team is having its first run at this year’s JazzFest, which also happens to
be their first production ever, and the boys have a cooked up a menu that might
even rival that of Emeril himself.
On Wednesday night April 30th, Wild Mountain will be setting its residency at
the Blue Nile (534 Frenchman Street) with
the make-you-wanna-jump-back-and-kiss-yo-self, good G-d funk nasty of the Sugarman
3 and the Legendary Soul Brother #2 Lee
Fields. Joining the 3 will be the boogaloo magician Melvin
Sparks and his band, as well as a crew of selectors including DJ
Motion Potion rocking the 1s and 2s. The dancefloor is sure to be burning.
The late-night session on Friday, May 2nd will showcase the cleverly titled
and ingeniously built American Jamstand, featuring one of the most interesting
sonic convergences of the weekend. With the stars of the drummer Mike
Clark, local hero George Porter, Jr.
and the esteemed Congressman Robert Walter, along with saxmen Sam
Kinninger and Topaz and the six-string spaceman Dave Fiuczynski
all on one stage. Well, I’m not even going to try.
Scary Skerik will be playing ringleader of his Freaky Funk Fest circus
beginning late Saturday, May 3rd with the clowns of the avant-hard percussionist
Mike Dillon and guitarist Jonathan Freilich of the New
Orleans Klezmer AllStars. The trio of entangling extroverts the Jacob
Fred Jazz Odyssey will open the show a bit earlier, and word is there will
be some supreme special guests in the house. Knowing Skerik, you can pretty
much count on the next level and beyond.
Photo by Hallie Hawkins
But we’re not finished yet, ‘cause the boys at Wild Mountain have some more
for you, as if that is just not enough. Since the Old
Point Bar (545 Patterson Street) has been embroiled in controversy of late,
this resulted in a lack of life in the club, until now. The weekend’s “Hangin’
at the O.P.” series is going to kick-start the Old Point’s heart with
three nights of the ultra-diverse.
The Velour takeover drops
at 9:30 pm Thursday, May 1st with the inter-stellar grass-thrash-metal-jazz of
acoustic songbird Kaki King. At 10pm, Allstars
Neal Evans (organ, Soulive), Sam
Kinninger (alto sax, Lettuce, Soulive)
and Adam Deitch (drums, John Scofield, Lettuce),
along with a few nasty special guests, will be bringing the finest in beats, rhythms
and life to the Old Point stage.
Following the Velour throw-down on Thursday night, the first “Late-Night Hang” of the weekend will display the finest of the eclectic for the Old Point faithful. MMW producer/collaborator and drummer Jim Payne and his band HOP will be joined by the Melvin Sparks Band, Dave Fiuczynski’s Kif, Jumbo Gumbo, and Swayback for a shakedown ‘til sunrise.
And if you just can’t make it on Thursday, Old Point’s weekend residents will be doing it all night long on Saturday the 3rd. The evening’s early show will feature the same lineup with more acts on the way, while the late-night session will kick-off with a set from the famed freak-out crew the All Mighty Senators before returning to the stage back to Jim Payne, Fuse, Melvin and Co. I just can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Old Point’s new birth.
speaking with Wild Mountain’s Alex Chaykin about the first endeavor he said,
“We’re doing it for the music, trying to do something different. We really wanted
to give people an alternative to the larger JazzFest shows and create a more
personal environment for the musicians and the audience.” By going after the
bands early, Chaykin and his partner in positivity production Spencer Garn have
authored a dynamic story with their NOLA soirees with a denouement that is sure
Currently working as the one-man booking show for Club
Metronome in Burlington, VT, where “every day is a new adventure,” Alex
has been following this ideology in his own town by bringing all facets of musical
expression to his club. Acts ranging from NYC rock staples Longwave to DJ Vadim
and Russian Percussion and Philly Jump-Up instructor Josh Wink have all hit
the Metronome stage, bringing the club deserved acclaim from the Burlington
community. Alex is also currently working on a 2,000 person capacity festival
falling on August 1st and 2nd in Albany, VT featuring The
Slip, Soulive, Addison
Groove Project, Tony Trischka and
more. A nice alternative to those not looking for the colossus of Phish’s “IT.”
Alright JazzFesters, if you’re looking for the ultimate experience you do not want to pass this up. The Blue Nile and the Old Point will be the places to be so get warmed up, check your calendars and stop on by the for some of the hottest parties of the NOLA weekend. You never know who might stop by.
For more details and information be sure to hit www.wildmountainproductions.com.
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