JAZZ FEST | 04.26 – 05.06 | NEW ORLEANS

By Team JamBase May 9, 2007 12:00 am PDT

Words by: Kayceman

05.06.07 :: SUNDAY

Dwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers
05.06 by Adam McCullough
The final day of JazzFest is always bittersweet, but this year there was extra sadness when the city learned legendary New Orleans clarinet master Alvin Batiste had died in his sleep early Sunday morning. He was 74. Batiste was scheduled to play at the Fairgrounds just hours after his death with both Harry Connick Jr. and one of his students, Branford Marsalis. Ironically, there was even a tribute scheduled to Batiste in the Jazz Tent that would prove to be an emotional celebration of a New Orleans legend. Batiste’s death reminds us all just how special New Orleans’s culture and tradition is. Unlike most of America, people from the Big Easy don’t mourn death. They celebrate life. Sunday at JazzFest would drive this point home, as music and smiles, dancing and sunshine ruled the day.

Jazz Jam :: 05.06 by Adam McCullough
Singer/pianist Allen Toussaint has been a New Orleans staple since the 1950’s. One of the premier disciples of Professor Longhair, his set on the giant Acura Stage was the perfect way to slide into Sunday. A true performer, Toussaint led his large ensemble through a number of top-notch selections including a wonderful call-and-response with the massive crowd: “Everybody come home… Everybody come home.” Although JazzFest is a time for New Orleans to forget about all her worries for a few hours, it’s also critical to remember just how bad things still are. As Toussaint called for the many long lost residents to return we let our bodies dance while our minds drifted towards those who are still suffering.

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan
05.06 by Adam McCullough
How can you not a love band that took their name from a talking dildo? The legendary Steely Dan took the stage under a blazing southern sun. Although the name “Steely Dan” does fit the band’s super-tight, shiny sound, they took the moniker from a dildo featured in William Burroughs’ novel The Naked Lunch. Considering the band formed in 1972 it was shocking how good they were live. They played every song you wanted to hear including “Kid Charlemagne,” “Hey 19,” “Do It Again,” “Dirty Work,” “Green Earrings” and a “Bodhisattva” encore. But, it wasn’t just that they played the hits, it was how they played them. Each track was performed perfectly, so tight in fact that they sounded as if a producer was buffing them out live before they came through the huge sound system. From the spot-on backup singers to the technically mesmerizing guitar solos, to Donald Fagan‘s crazy ass, dirty-mind stories and spectacular piano work, Steely Dan was the best set of Sunday’s JazzFest.

As JazzFest 2007 was coming to a close, it was clear it was time to check out some of NOLA’s own, namely Big Chief Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolias. Featuring Japanese guitar shredman June Yamagishi (who had a distinctly Carlos Santana vibe during this set), the Wild Magnolias dug deep into the traditional Mardi Gras fare like “(Big Chief Like Plenty Of) Fire Water,” which had the crowd waving arms and singing along.

Harry Connick Jr. :: 05.06 by Adam McCullough
Strolling towards the exit, the sounds of Taj Mahal singing “Corrina” wafted from the Blues Tent. As delighted fans poured out of the Fairgrounds there was no question that JazzFest 2007 was a massive success. Last year’s JazzFest was a statement to the world. New Orleans needed to prove that she would overcome Katrina, and the 2006 Fest did just that. 2007 was a bit more like the 36 year’s of JazzFest that came before Katrina. That’s not to say that the city has healed. There is so much still left to do, but there was the overwhelming sense that we are on the right track. Even though the city was doing much better than a year ago, we need to get residents out of those damn white FEMA trailers and into permanent fixtures. It was astonishing and maddening to see empty government housing. There are homes without people, and people without homes, and no one can answer why this is. It was impossible to not wonder how our government has decided there’s enough money to rage wars around the world yet can’t seem to find the tiny percentage it would cost to rebuild much of New Orleans. It’s nothing new when poor black communities get passed over but it still pisses a man off.

Will New Orleans ever be like Pre-Katrina? Absolutely not. But after spending a magical week in New Orleans it’s safe to say that she is absolutely still the epicenter of culture, music and food for America.

Many more JazzFest 2007 images from Adam McCullough available HERE.

Continue reading for Saturday’s coverage…

Words by: Kayceman

05.05.07 :: SATURDAY

What a difference a day makes.

George Porter Jr. & Snooks Eaglin
05.05 by Adam McCullough
After Friday’s harsh weather, Saturday at the Fairgrounds was perfect. Following previous day’s deluge it was shocking how great the fairgrounds looked. Expecting mud, fans were delighted to find things in marvelous shape. Walking towards the Jazz Tent there is an overwhelming display of local art that reminds patrons that JazzFest is more than just music – it’s time in New Orleans amongst her amazing residents. Some questioned if New Orleans would be able to retain her mystical mojo after Katrina, and though she’s a different city now, NOLA is certainly still the most soulful city in America.

Inside the Jazz Tent trumpet master Nicholas Payton put on one of the top shows of the weekend. One look at the man, dressed in a slick dark suit with a white hat, and you can tell he’s a smooth character. Backed by an astonishingly good band – upright bass, keys, percussion and drums – Payton’s sublime melodic movements dipped in and out of the rhythms, riding above the fold one moment and punctuating the changes the next.

Stephen Marley :: 05.05 by Adam McCullough
Basking in the sun, Stephen Marley carried the roots reggae torch quite well. He drew from his father’s strengths and even seemed to channel him at times. Stephen put a nice twist on “Catch A Fire,” which showcased his female backup singers. As impressive as the Bob classics were it was his rendition of Ray Charles’ “Lonely Avenue” that made Stephen’s set so fruitful.

After spending some time with Roy Hargrove‘s giant brass band and soaring vocalist, The Allman Brothers closed it down to a massive crowd. The two guitar attack and dirty slide work was the perfect way to dip out of the day and into the night.

Continue reading for Friday’s coverage…

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… Words by: Kayceman


05.06.07 :: TIPITINA’S

Dumpstaphunk :: 05.06 by Robert Chapman
There was no better way to close out JazzFest 2007 than with Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk at Tipitina’s. With George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli and Art “Poppa Funk” Neville joining Big Sam on trombone, Theresa Andersson, June Yamagishi and more, this was a sweaty New Orleans Dumpsta- Meters throwdown! Ivan was bouncing from keys to guitar leading his band through a deep, dirty evening of true NOLA funk. At times Porter was deep in the pocket, and at other high moments we found him out front manipulating bass lines and pushing his tone deep under water. Nocentelli took several inspired solos featuring his incredible, lighting- fast finger work that would consistently lead the crowd into screams of madness. Pushing the evening to a peak was Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” that eventually gave way to a nasty rendition of “Cissy Strut.”

DR. JOHN :: 05.05.07

Dr. John the Night Tripper
If there was one late night show to see during the second weekend of JazzFest it had to be Dr. John’s Night Tripper gig. Dr. John carries the NOLA torch like none-other, you could say he is New Orleans; and when he resurrects the Night Tripper in his city, you don’t even think about it, you get there! Standing backstage as Dr. John made his way out of the dressing room I looked deep in his eyes and saw a man who was a hundred years and million miles away. Followed by a massive entourage, Dr. John was dressed in wild headgear, animal furs and carried a bucket of pixie dust that he sprinkled out over the crowd. Backed by a nine piece band and featuring two female dancers, his Night Tripper set was exactly that, a fuckin’ trip. Languid, drugged-out rhythms created a foundation for Dr. John to move across his piano. When not crushing the keys the good Doctor took center stage on his guitar for a particularly tripped out “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” that cast a spell over the CAC. The music of the Night Tripper sounded like New Orleans feels: hot, heavy, patient, slow and filled with a voodoo, mojo magic that there are no words for.

05.05.07 :: THE SATURN BAR

Rotary Downs:: 05.05 by SuperDee
There is a new sound emerging from the rebirth of New Orleans. There’s an element of that classic NOLA brass in this new sound, but these ain’t no jazzy brass bands. Two groups that are leading the rock & roll NOLA revolution are Rotary Downs and The Other Planets. Both of these young acts came together for an insane night of rock at The Saturn Bar. Rotary Downs began with a two hour set that lit the bar on fire. Featuring JamBase photographer Zack Smith on drums (see his pics from JazzFest throughout JamBase’s coverage), RD played several new songs and just about every track from their incredible 2006 release Chained To The Chariot. If Pavement and Beck had some sort of love baby and raised him in New Orleans after Katrina, this is what it would sound like. There’s a massive buzz building behind Rotary Downs, and if their shows Saturday at the Fairgrounds and Saturday night at The Saturn Bar are any indication, the world will soon find out what the new New Orleans sounds like.

Rotary Downs drummer Zack Smith by Tamara Grayson
Fairgrounds :: 05.05
After Rotary Downs worked the crowd into a sweaty lather, The Other Planets blasted every soul into space. Heavily inspired by Frank Zappa (and even covering Zappa), this was some of finest weird rock I’ve ever seen. With incredibly tight compositions and inspired improvisations this was a shockingly good set. The band features percussionist/vocalist/keyboardist/composer Anthony Cucciaan sharing frontman duties with the captivating bass and baritone saxophonist Dan “Diesel” Oestreicher along with insane drummer Quin Kirchner, bassist Joe Butts, vibraphonist Matt McClimon, and an older guitar guru, Dr. Jimbo Walsh who is a music professor at University of New Orleans. As delirious fans hung from the rafters of the two-stage bar the band pushed the limits of rock well past 4 a.m.

WEEN :: 05.04.07

Ween :: 05.04
For those who like to get dirty with their JazzFest late night excursions, Ween at the Contemporary Arts Center was certainly the place to be. Opening with “Take Me Away” and busting out an early “Spinal Meningitis,” thing were loud and lewd from the get go. There is definitely a shtick factor with Ween, some love it, some don’t; but when Dean Ween, (aka Michael “Mickey” Melchiondo) lays into his guitar as he did on the extended version of “Voodoo Lady” it’s damn difficult to deny the Ween fire. Other highlights included “The Mollusk,” “Pandy Fackler,” “Touch My Tooter,” and of course the party anthem “Bananas and Blow.” Before the set was over there would be beer cups thrown, ankles hurt (one girl was carried out with a broken limb), soar throats, dilated eyes and even one very enthusiastic young lady who decided to rub her bare breasts against a member of our posse. Only at a Ween show.

MMW :: 05.03.07 :: HOWLIN’ WOLF

Greyboy Allstars – River Boat :: 05.04 by Casey Flanigan
It wasn’t easy, but after massive amounts of rain and hours-upon-hours of delays, the plane touched down at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport. Haggard from travel, it didn’t help our moods that Medeski Martin & Wood was already underway by the time we got to the hotel.

One wash of John Medeski‘s freaked-out keyboard reminded me to put my travel woes behind me – you don’t fight the currents, you roll with them. If you aren’t happy in New Orleans during JazzFest you better get to a doctor.

The Radiators – Snafu Party :: 05.03 by Michael Jurick
MMW has many faces. There’s the avant jazz trio, the experimental noise combo and the groove-heavy dance machine that can go toe-to-toe with any band in the land. Thursday night at the Howlin’ Wolf we got a taste of each, though it was the second set with heaps of DJ Logic and selections off Shackman that had the people moving.

Slower sections found drummer Billy Martin squeaking away on his toys and bassist Chris Wood plunking around on his bass, but when they dug in and kicked out the dance beats the hungry fans let loose. With Martin and Wood laying down the dirty, deep foundation and Logic trading licks with Medeski, it’s hard to keep still. By the time they were done there wasn’t a dry shirt in the building. Many more JazzFest 2007 images from Adam McCullough available HERE.

Continue reading for first weekend coverage…

Words by: SuperDee

04.29.07 :: SUNDAY

Hot 8 Brass Band :: 04.29 by Zack Smith
Sunday is the Lord’s Day according to some, and this Jewish girl from Long Island had her soul saved. Today, I felt the ghosts and spirits at the Fairgrounds more than ever before. How else to start a Sunday at JazzFest besides grabbing a seat in the Gospel Tent? The pure joy of spirituality without obligation or discrimination is infectious and necessary. At one point, the announcer took a moment to salute the people of the Virginia Tech community, as well as our soldiers abroad. New Orleans culture and tradition tells us to celebrate, not mourn, the lives of those we have lost. So, we dance on.

Irma Thomas :: 04.29 by Seth Rubin
One highly anticipated set on Sunday was Irma Thomas & The Professionals. Immediately sucked into her performance, I could hear the bittersweet experience in her voice. She asked everyone to take out a hankie or a napkin or their shirt or whatever and do the 2nd line dance. “We do the 2nd line to celebrate,” she said. She incited us to celebrate mosquitoes, roaches, red beans & rice, and many other things including “when your pregnancy test comes back and it’s negative.” Thomas led the crowd to dance during “Aiko Aiko” and “Hey Pocky Way.” She then dedicated “Time On My Side” to New Orleans, and talked about the children who wanted to learn to play music but didn’t have any instruments. She told the visitors (and now you reading these words) that they can send used instruments to the Tipitina’s Foundation or WWOZ to get these kids something to play. (You can also check out www.kidsmart.org for other ways to help.)

Bonnie Raitt :: 04.29 by Seth Rubin
Marcia Ball then joined Thomas for an emotionally draining duet that was a highlight of the weekend. There are signs all over JazzFest that say “Move Your Body and Your SOUL.” The music at JazzFest is not about being cool or putting on the most elaborate performance. It’s about making you feel something inside your heart that you can take with you to better the world.

Drifting from one performance to the next, we found Gillian Welch laying it down on the Fais Do Do stage and Bonnie Raitt closing down the Gentilly Stage. The soulful Thomas, the soothing Welch, the sassy Raitt and finally the sensuality of Jill Scott at Congo Square. All these women have a real connection with their fans, seen clearly as everyone in the crowd hung on every last word of Miss Scott’s poetry.


Jill Scott :: 04.29 by Adam McCullough
A few days ago, I learned about a last minute, intimate Ani DiFranco show at One Eyed Jacks Sunday night, and it seemed a great opportunity to get to know this powerful female force better. DiFranco is a New Yorker but has a strong connection with the Big Easy. [Check out JamBase’s interview with DiFranco about her love of New Orleans.] Always a spitfire, she told stories about throwing up in the bathroom sink at One Eyed Jacks years ago, and that she was sorry about that. Her band consisted of a tamed Mike Dillon on percussion and vibraphone and the amazing Todd Sickafoose on upright bass. These two added a jazzy element to DiFranco’s fantastic guitar work. She played a potent version of Woody Guthrie’s “Do Re Mi” before ending with an encore of “Little Plastic Castles,” which inspired fans to sing along, “In a coffee shop in a city / Which is every coffee shop / in every city on a day which is every day.”

It was time to put this first weekend of JazzFest to bed. I’d like to invite people to report on what they saw below in our “Comments” section. With so much to take in at any given moment, between the music offered and the city itself, everyone has a different JazzFest experience. I look forward to a few days of relative quiet during these “daze between” before the second weekend begins.


Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians by Seth Rubin

Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian by Seth Rubin

Jill Scott by Seth Rubin

Clarence “Frogman” Henry by Seth Rubin

Ba Cissoko by Seth Rubin

Banda el Recodo by Seth Rubin

JazzFest by Seth Rubin

JazzFest by Seth Rubin

George Thorogood by Seth Rubin

Jo “Cool” Davis by Adam McCullough

Rosie Ledet by Adam McCullough

Theresa Andersson by Adam McCullough

CJ Chenier & Red Hot Louisiana Band by Adam McCullough

Dr. Lonnie Smith by Adam McCullough

Bonnie Raitt by Adam McCullough

Jerry Lee Lewis by Adam McCullough

Jean Knight by Adam McCullough

Dr. John & George Porter Jr. – NOLA Social Club by Adam McCullough

Pete Fountain by Adam McCullough

Julliard Jazz Ensemble by Adam McCullough

Arturo Sandoval by Adam McCullough

Gillian Welch by Zack Smith

JazzFest by Zack Smith

Little Drummer Boy by Zack Smith

Banda el Recodo by Zack Smith

Dancing In The Streets During JazzFest by Zack Smith

Continue reading for Saturday at JazzFest…

Words by: SuperDee

04.28.07 :: SATURDAY

Richie Havens :: 04.28 by Adam McCullough
Our entrance music today was the fabulous blind pianist Henry Butler. As we walked into the grounds, we immediately sank back into the fest vibe as Butler yelled, “Can y’all feel it?!” This was a high energy set that had everyone shaking it to the left AND to the right. It’s like watching magic happen before your eyes as he slams the keys, each finger just instinctively knowing where to land.

After trying something new – the crawfish sausage po’boy – we moseyed over to the Heritage Stage for some straight up horny goodness from the New Birth Brass Band. From there we poked into the Grandstand to see the “Celebrate! New Orleans” photo exhibit, featuring the unique celebratory traditions of the city as seen through the lenses of the photographers that live here including beautiful photos of Mardi Gras Indians, marching bands and people dancing in the streets.

Norah Jones :: 04.28 by Adam McCullough
Next up was Alexa Ray Joel, Billy Joel’s daughter. After seeing her name on the lineup a few months ago, I listened to her songs on Rhapsody and was compelled to see her live. She played keyboards with her band of cute boys, and her demeanor was confident yet very down to earth. “Just to clarify, no, my father does not help me write songs. I write my own songs,” she told us. “And no, I’m not going to play ‘Piano Man.'” She did play a beautiful arrangement of Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” She’s got soulful, powerful pipes, strong delivery and I was very impressed with her pop music songwriting chops.

Rebirth Brass Band :: 04.28 by Seth Rubin
From there, we wandered over to the Rebirth Brass Band, who could be heard from Congo Square playing TLC’s “Waterfalls.” Shade and jazz was what we needed, so off to the Jazz Tent to see trumpet virtuoso Terence Blanchard. The great thing about the Jazz Tent is while you’re going to see the musician who’s name is on the marquee each member of every band is a genius. This was certainly true of Pharoah Sanders‘ band, who followed Blanchard. Sanders began his set with “My Favorite Things” which lasted for a blissful 25-minutes. Crawfish and music, good friends and laughing, these are a few of my favorite things.

Pharoah Sanders :: 04.28 by Zack Smith
Another fine day on the fairgrounds. As we made our way out, we heard some Dirty South hip-hop from Ludacris in Congo Square, Cajun style “Great Balls of Fire” from Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys on the Fais Do Do stage and the lovely and amazing Norah Jones & the Handsome Band on the Gentilly Stage.

Cabs wait out front and we’re off into the night…


Glen Hartman NOLA Klezmer All-Stars by Zack Smith

Fest-Goer by Zack Smith

Golden Comanche Indians by Zack Smith

Terence Blanchard by Zack Smith

Tab Benoit by Adam McCullough

Jon Cleary by Adam McCullough

Ludacris Crowd by Adam McCullough

Ludacris by Adam McCullough

Burnside Explosion by Adam McCullough

Davell Crawford by Adam McCullough

Shannon McNally by Adam McCullough

Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians by Adam McCullough

Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians by Adam McCullough

JazzFest by Seth Rubin

JazzFest by Seth Rubin

Snow Balls at JazzFest by Seth Rubin

Norah Jones by Seth Rubin

Marcia Ball by Seth Rubin

Richie Havens by Seth Rubin

Rebirth Brass Band by Seth Rubin


Brian Coogan – Maelstrom Trio
04.28 by Zack Smith
Back for another installment of “JazzFest Sure Is Fun.” The shows just slightly under the radar are the ones that keep calling to me this year. Our night began at the Tarantula Arms on Decatur to see A Living Soundtrack. As their name suggests, this NOLA band creates instrumental music that could be the backdrop for your own personal movie – an adventure in the mind. ALS features head-to-head keyboards led by Matt Aguiluz, who also plays keys and trumpet for local rock heroes Rotary Downs. I particularly loved their tripped out electronica version of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” There’s a new sound bubbling out of New Orleans and it doesn’t sound funky. Will the Big Easy be the birthplace of the next decade of rock?

From there, we hopped in a cab and raced up Canal to the new live music space, Chickie Wah Wah (think about the sound you make when you imitate a guitar with a wah wah pedal). We entered spooksville conjured up by an insane ensemble. Skerik’s Maelstrom Trio is Skerik with N’awlins crazy boys Brian Coogan on keys and Simon Lott on drums. This night they were joined by a fourth, Brooklyn guitarist Mike Gamble, whose awesome weirdness put this show over the top.

Skerik & Jonathan Freilich – Maelstrom Trio
04.28 by Zack Smith
Gamble puts together this experimental jazz night every Monday at the little Bar 4 two blocks from my apartment in Brooklyn where Lott – a transplant in NY nowadays – is a frequent member of whatever group comes together on these nights. After leading us down the black hole spiral of outer space, Skerik addressed the crowd, “Thank you for joining us for singer/songwriter hour.” This show was rockingly twisted – all four members down on the ground tinkering with gadgets and just going nuts. This is pretty much what you’re looking for after dark in New Orleans.

Continue reading for Day 2 coverage of JazzFest…

Words by: SuperDee

04.27.07 :: FRIDAY

Rosalie ‘Lady Tambourine’ Washington :: 04.27
By Zach Smith
Driving through the city to the Fairgrounds, I noticed changes from last year. No more gigantic piles of garbage everywhere. Realty signs are rampant, and while some houses are still wrecked many are under re-construction. Things are looking better. It’s hopeful.

Upon entering the Fairgrounds, I made a beeline, as always, for the soft shell crab po’boy booth followed by a blissful strawberry lemonade. After filling our bellies, we went to the Jazz Tent to see Astral Project – a JazzFest staple by true masters.

Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
04.27 by Adam McCullough
The day turned into the delicious gumbo of genres as we wandered from stage to stage. We got washboard Zydeco as we walked by the charming Fais Do Do Stage where Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie was playing. We doubled back to the Congo Square where Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove was performing a devout version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”

From there, we grabbed some famous cheese and spicy crawfish bread followed by an iced cafe au lait. Back to Congo Square for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave’s mixture of hip-hop and funk with killer brass. They had the entire crowd jumping up and down. Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is a virtuoso musician and was clearly born to be a bandleader.

Next stop, a visit to the Gospel Tent where the McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir was raising sprits. There were about forty kids on stage singing their hearts out in perfect angelic harmony. It was the most inspiring thing I saw all day. As the first Fairgrounds day neared its end, we picked up some crawfish monica and checked out Van Morrison‘s lackluster set. We moved on to the Gentily Stage for Lucinda Williams.

McDonogh #35 High School Gospel Choir
04.27 by Seth Rubin
Shockingly, this was my first taste of Williams live and I found her to be both beautifully soothing and little gruff. Following a local tip, we took a stroll to the Lagniappe Stage to see the Happy Talk Band, a New Orleans alt- country outfit featuring members of Morning 40 Federation, The Iguanas, and 007. This is definitely “one to watch” after the fest. Having enough of the sun, we walked out of the fairgrounds as Lucinda Williams absolutely killed Bettye LaVette’s bittersweet “Joy.” Day 1 fairgrounds… check!


Anders Osborne :: 04.27 :: Rock ‘N’ Bowl by SuperDee
If there was one “must see” for us this year, it was Anders Osborne at the Mid City Lanes Rock ‘N’ Bowl. We came home raving about last year’s show, and this year proved no less praise worthy. The Rock ‘N’ Bowl is an institution. The Mid City lanes have been open for 40+ years and what was once a bowling alley with some live music is now a rock hall with lanes. Its owner, John Blancher, is ecstatic about both music and bowling as he enthusiastically introduces the bands in his bowling shirt.

Anders Osborne’s band is the quintessential New Orleans style blues rock. Tim Green on saxophone and Kirk Joseph on sousaphone make up the high and low ends, complimenting Osborne’s guitar work and the distinctive New Orleans beat provided by drummer Eric Bolivar. The predominantly local crowd was already quite loose by the time Anders took the stage, so he ripped right into the first song without holding back. “Cry you a river, I’ll cry you a hurricane,” he snarled as he wailed out his first guitar solo of the night. We knew immediately we were in the presence of musical perfection.

Good, Bad and Funky :: 04.27
Preservation Hall by Adam McCullough
Osborne’s lyrics hit deep on tunes like “I’ve Got a Woman,” an ode to someone that’s sweet-as-can-be and always there for him. But, you get the sense he can’t quite make things right with this woman even though he wants to. The song that completely blew us away, both lyrically and musically, was “Louisiana Rain.” Osborne sang about New Orleans, his friends that had to leave, the yearning to have everyone come back and be together once again. You could feel the pain, regardless of what city you call home. “Please bring me back home again,” he cried with absolute sincerity as he ripped into another gut wrenching guitar solo.

This was a powerhouse show delivered by a SMOKIN’ artist. Yet another JazzFest tradition not to be broken.


Dr. John by Adam McCullough

Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians by Adam McCullough

Van Morrison by Adam McCullough

Jazz Funeral for Ed Bradley by A. McCullough

Percy Sledge by Adam McCullough

Big 9 SAPC by Zack Smith

Amazonies: Women Drummers of Guinea by Zack Smith

Luke Allen of Happy Talk Band by Zack Smith

James Carter by Seth Rubin

Kirk Joseph by Seth Rubin

Continue reading for Day 1 coverage of JazzFest…

Words by: SuperDee :: Images by: Adam McCullough

Editor’s Note: The writer and photographer were not paired up at the same events, but all images are from Thursday night, 04.26 in New Orleans.

Kirk Joseph :: 04.26 :: Tip’s
One year ago, I got on an airplane after spending four wonderful yet emotional days in New Orleans.

I cried, “Ten days in ’07!” as I tripped and almost fell on my face while walking through the cabin doors. Four days just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough time to spend with the people of the city. It wasn’t enough time to eat all the scrumptious delicacies. It wasn’t enough time to hear that drum beat. Is it ever enough time?

This year, staying true to my word, I’m attempting to get my fill by coming to NOLA for The Full Monty – 10 days of ‘Fest. With sixteen pages of daytime and nighttime grids printed out, I headed for the airport.

From the sky, the city was sparkling and the river was smiling at me as we made our initial descent. It was a gorgeous day. I’m here, it’s on, life is good.

04.26.07 :: THURSDAY

Eric Lindell :: 04.26 :: Tip’s
Upon arriving in the Crescent City, in order to get my bearings, the first thing I did was grab a po’boy from Frankie & Johnny’s and enjoyed the final hours of sun on a porch Uptown. As evening neared, I was fortunate to join a friend to see the Herman Leonard exhibit at a gallery in the French Quarter followed by a walk at that magical time of day when the light and the air are just right and the moon is shining over head.

The musical escapades of the evening started with local indie-rock band Rotary Downs at DBA. This is a typical place for them to play and it’s great they were able to kick off JazzFest with a show “in their living room.” They played a whopping two sets that mixed oldies with songs off their awesome new album, Chained To the Chariot. While I saw the band when they visited New York, it was even better seeing them rock out on their home turf. In a city where the individual musician is celebrated, I could not help but relish the fact that I just love bands. As they say, music is food for soul!

JJ Grey :: 04.26 :: Tip’s
From there we wandered down Frenchman Street where music spilled from every venue. Not wanting to say goodnight just yet, we found our way to the Howlin’ Wolf for a spot of Skerik. Upon entering, we found two trombones, two trumpets, two saxes, Galactic‘s Stanton Moore on marching band style snare, Blu Sirkut/Tiny Universe guitarist Brian Jordan and too many people to possibly count! Papa Mali came back on stage (I believe it was technically his show) and brought it all home. Lots of brass and lots of noise is a great way to dance your way into JazzFest. The rest of the night was a blur. Now we’re headed to the Fairgrounds. ‘Till tomorrow…

Stay tuned to JamBase as we’ll be updating our JazzFest coverage everyday. The next installment will feature the true beginning of JazzFest 2007 as SuperDee heads over to the first day of the Fairgrounds…

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