The New Orleans Jazz Fest opens Friday, April 27, 2012 with its usual mix of crowd pleasers and intriguing options. Here are some suggestions and appearances of note for the Fair Grounds on Friday.
Kristie Bull/The Associated PressBeach Boys primary songwriter Brian Wilson has rejoined vocalists Mike Love, above, and Al Jardine for an extensive summer tour that kicks off at Jazz Fest tonight.
Zebra, 3:40-4:45, Acura Stage
In the early 1980s, Zebra represented New Orleans hard rock on the national stage, scoring a gold-certified, self-titled debut album on Atlantic Records. Thirty-five years into their collective history, guitarist/vocalist Randy Jackson, bassist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso finally make their Jazz Fest debut.
Bon Iver, 5:25-6:55, Gentilly Stage
His surprise Grammy win and Justin Timberlake’s subsequent impersonation on “Saturday Night Live” indicate Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has crossed over into the pop culture mainstream. And yet his dreamy, otherworldly sonic landscape is as bleak and ethereal as ever.
The Beach Boys, 5:30-7, Acura Stage
To mark the 50th anniversary of the quintessential California surf ‘n’ sun band, primary songwriter Brian Wilson has rejoined vocalists Mike Love and Al Jardine for an extensive summer tour that kicks off at Jazz Fest.
Steel Pulse, 5:30-7, Congo Square Stage
Formed in Birmingham, England, in the mid-1970s, Steel Pulse came to represent consciousness-raising reggae leavened with a clear appreciation for pop sensibilities. The band endures as a reggae institution.
The Revivalists, 11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Gentilly Stage
The Revivalists may be the next New Orleans band to follow in the footsteps of Better Than Ezra. Several tracks on the 2010 independent CD “Vital Signs” would not be out of place on radio stations that spin Maroon Five, the Dave Matthews Band and Train.
Tim Laughlin, 1:50-2:50, Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent
Pete Fountain himself has anointed Tim Laughlin his heir apparent, the next standard-bearer for traditional New Orleans jazz clarinet. Laughlin’s rich tone is showcased on both standards and original compositions.
Eric Lindell, 3-4, Blues Tent
Think of a younger, more tattooed and more pleasant Van Morrison — that’s Eric Lindell. The guitarist, singer and songwriter intermingles modest funk, reggae, blues and soul into an especially agreeable, melodic mix.
Givers, 3:45-4:45, Gentilly Stage
The members of Givers, hailing from Lafayette, La., peddle an irresistibly buoyant brand of world-pop. Glassnote Records, the label that introduced Mumford & Sons to the universe, released Givers’ highly-regarded national debut, “In Light,” in 2011. The single “Up Up Up” turned up in an episode of “Glee.”
Stephanie Jordan Big Band, 4:05-5:05, Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent
A member of a multi-faceted, multi-talented local family of jazz musicians, Stephanie Jordan, a luminous vocalist, serves up a consistently classy take on jazz standards. Her new, debut CD pays tribute to Lena Horne, a major influence.
Irma Thomas’ Tribute to Mahalia Jackson, 4:40-5:30, Gospel Tent
Irma Thomas, the Grammy-winning Soul Queen of New Orleans, has a special affinity for church music in general, and Mahalia Jackson in particular. Raw emotion generally marks her gospel sets.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The New Orleans Jazz Fest continues Saturday with another mix of crowd pleasers and intriguing options. Here are some suggestions and appearances of note for the Fair Grounds on Saturday, April 28.
Chris Pizzello/The Associated PressAs a judge on ‘The Voice,’ Cee Lo Green renders verdicts on aspiring singers. Fans have a chance to turn the tables when Green sings ‘Forget You’ and other hits at Jazz Fest, filling in for Jill Scott.
Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, 2:40-3:50, Zatarain’s/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Believing the city that birthed jazz needed an endowed, standing organization to perpetuate and promote the music, trumpeter Irvin Mayfield founded the 16-piece New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. It has toured the globe and won a Grammy.
Cee Lo Green, 3:35-4:50, Congo Square Stage
As a judge on “The Voice,” Cee Lo Green renders verdicts on aspiring singers. Fans have a chance to turn the tables when Green sings “Forget You” and other hits at Jazz Fest, filling in for Jill Scott.
Bobby Rush, 4:25-5:30, Blues Tent
Born in Louisiana, Bobby Rush launched his career as a blues singer in Chicago. He later moved to Jackson, Miss., and worked the chitlin circuit with a bawdy hybrid of soul, funk and showmanship.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 5:10-7, Acura Stage
Long sought by Jazz Fest’s producers, Tom Petty and his rock-solid Heartbreakers will finally break out “American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” “The Waiting,” “Free Fallin” and other rock radio standards at the Fair Grounds.
Feist, 5:40-7, Gentilly Stage
Singer-songwriter Feist would still be just another member of Canadian indie-rock ensemble Broken Social Scene’s extended family if a 2007 iPod commercial had not featured her single “1234.” The ubiquitous, uber-catchy song made her a folk-pop star.
Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue, 12:20-1:10, Gentilly Stage
Gal Holiday, aka Vanessa Niemann, possesses a big twang of a voice. She and her simpatico Honky Tonk Revue render vintage Western swing and hardcore country fresh and vital.
Jeremy Lyons with members of Morphine, 12:25-1:15, Blues Tent
Jeremy Lyons honed his acoustic blues chops on the streets of New Orleans. After settling in the Boston area following Hurricane Katrina, he found unlikely collaborators in surviving members of indie-rock institution Morphine.
Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, 3:05-4:20, Lagniappe Stage
Don’t let the tattoos fool you: Meschiya Lake can swing out on classic hot jazz while holding her own against her horn section. She also excels in quieter moments when alone with a pianist.
New Orleans Bingo! Show, 4:05-5:05, Gentilly Stage
The New Orleans Bingo! Show is its own lower Decatur Street sideshow, a mix of unsettling mimes, honking saxophones and a burlesque dancer. It’s the carnival-of-the-bizarre flipside of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, with which it shares singer Clint Maedgen.
Carolina Chocolate Drops, 4:20-5:35, Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage
The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a revivalist string band specializing in the traditional fiddle and banjo music of rural black communities in the South. But as evidenced by the Drops’ human beat-box and sassy cover of “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” they are not stuck in the past.
Soul Rebels, 5:20-6:40, Congo Square Stage
From collaborating with Metallica to frequent rapping, the Soul Rebels are intent on pushing the envelope for brass bands. Still, tuba, bass and snare drum anchor the Rebels’ sound.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
The New Orleans Jazz Fest closes out its first weekend with more crowd pleasers and intriguing options. Here are some suggestions and appearances of note for the Fair Grounds on Sunday, April 29.
David Grunfeld/The Times-Picayune archiveIn 2006, Bruce Springsteen and his Seeger Sessions Band delivered what is widely regarded as one of the best Jazz Fest sets ever. For his return, he’s backed by the formidable, 17-piece E Street Band.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, 12:45-1:50, Acura Stage
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is New Orleans’ latest breakout star. His two albums for Verve/Forecast have sold tens of thousands of copies; his exuberant performances are informed by his Treme roots and his apprenticeship with Lenny Kravitz.
Dr. John, 2:30-3:45, Acura Stage
A genre of New Orleans music unto himself, Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and outspoken advocate for his hometown. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach produced Rebennack’s acclaimed new album, “Locked Down.” His band for this show will include multi-instrumentalist Jon Clear.
Sonny Landreth, 3:05-4:05, Blues Tent
Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett and John Hiatt are all confirmed fans of Sonny Landreth, southwest Louisiana’s wizard of the slide guitar. He had to invent his own way of playing to realize the sounds he imagined.
Yolanda Adams, 3:40-4:55, Congo Square Stage
Among the most popular figures in contemporary gospel music, Yolanda Adams serves up a sumptuous voice with a stylish presentation.
Cowboy Mouth, 3:55-5:05, Gentilly Stage
Irrepressible drummer Fred LeBlanc and guitar gunslinger John Thomas Griffith keep the Cowboy Mouth flame alive, staging the rock ‘n’ roll equivalents of tent revivals around the country.
Pete Fountain, 4:20-5:25, Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent
He is Mr. New Orleans, the personification and sound of Big Easy-style jazz clarinet. Health issues have slowed him down since Hurricane Katrina, but at 81 he can still “toot” sweetly on his horn.
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, 4:30-7 p.m., Acura Stage
In 2006, the Boss and his Seeger Sessions Band delivered what is widely regarded as one of the best Jazz Fest sets ever. For his return, he’s backed by the formidable, 17-piece E Street Band.
Al Green, 5:40-7, Congo Square Stage
The Rev. Al Green still holds forth at his church in Memphis, Tenn. But he also takes to the road to revisit his deep catalog of soul classics and distribute roses to the ladies.
Los Po-Boy-Citos, 11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Gentilly Stage
Four decades after the 1960s boogaloo craze – a highly danceable synthesis of Afro-Cuban rhythms and elements of rhythm & blues – died out, New Orleans combo Los Po-Boy-Citos revived the music. Clave beats abound on the band’s “Brand New Dance” CD.
Johnny Sansone, 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Acura Stage
With drummer Stanton Moore and guitarist/producer Anders Osborne, blues singer and harmonica man Johnny Sansone reduced his sound to raw ingredients on his 2011 CD “The Lord Is Waiting and the Devil Is Too.” The result ranked among the year’s best local CDs.
Tribute to Alex Chilton, 12:45-1:55, Gentilly Stage
For the last 25 years of his life, the former Box Tops and Big Star frontman called New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood home. A collection of fans and former collaborators, including bassist Rene Coman, guitarist Alex McMurray, singer Susan Cowsill and Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner, revive Chilton’s songs.
Ironing Board Sam, 1:50-2:45, Blues Tent
A throwback to another era of Jazz Fest, Ironing Board Sam typifies the sort of eclectic performer that once populated the Fair Grounds. The rhythm & blues singer props his electric keyboard on, yes, an ironing board.
Papa Grows Funk, 2:20-3:30, Gentilly Stage
One of the most dependable funk-based live bands in New Orleans, Papa Grows Funk also traffics in well-constructed songs. Allen Toussaint and Better Than Ezra’s Tom Drummond co-produced the band’s recent “Needle in the Groove” CD.
New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, 3:45-5, Lagniappe Stage
The Klezmers specialize in a frenetic, highly danceable form of traditional Jewish/gypsy/Eastern European folk music, propelled by clarinet, violin, saxophone, drums and accordion. The Klezmers celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2011.
Gary Clark Jr., 4:30-5:35, Blues Tent
The Austin-based guitarist is turning heads with an incendiary mix of blues, soul and psychedelic music. An invitation to Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival confirmed his status as guitar god-in-waiting.