Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jazz Fest - Friday

Posted By on Sat, May 2, 2009 at 1:16 AM

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A second-line parade for Snooks Eaglin circled the Fair Grounds early in the day and this totem was added to the memorial markers in the center of the Fest. Some highlights from the day included:

- The Glass House Reunion on the Congo Square Stage was largely a Dirty Dozen Brass Band show, although with a couple of things the Dozen didn't have in the early ’80s when it packed the tiny club on Monday nights: a guitar and full drum kit. The Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty came out in the middle of the set for a couple of songs and the hornucopia of sound was simply amazing.

- Bonnie Raitt is a familiar face at the Acura Stage. And it's customary for Jon Cleary to join her for a few songs, as he did today. (Cleary toured with Raitt's band for years.) This afternoon saw a bigger local contingent. On the blues tune "Woman, Be Wise" by Sippy Wallace, which Raitt covered on her first album, she was joined by clarinetist Evan Christopher, trumpeter James Andrews and Glen David Andrews on trombone. The song warns women not to brag about their men, and hence, advertise them to other women. But with the musicians Raitt had on stage, a little bragging is due.

- In the Jazz Tent, Esperanza Spalding dazzled both on bass and in her singing and scatting. At one point, she explained that she was about to sing a song in Portuguese, but not to worry because the lyrics don't mean anything anyway. With her talents, she's welcome to sing in any language she chooses.

- Jazz Fest seems to be celebrating its 40th anniversary by reminding everyone how young that is. Pete Seeger performed last weekend and just turned 90. Today 82 year old Tony Bennett impressed the crowd with dapper looks (canary yellow blazer), a few dance moves and a host of favorites. He even snuck some snark into a rendition of "The Good Life." Late in the song, he told the audience, "I want to dedicate this song to Britney Spears" before singing the lines, "Well, just wake up, and kiss the goodlife goodbye."

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