Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jazz Fest Thursdays Sights

Posted By on Sat, May 1, 2010 at 4:33 AM

Jazz Fest Thursday may be among the more sublime days to enjoy the music, if only because of the added thrill of playing hooky from work or school to go and the fact that the crowds aren't as bad. Today, we were greeted with a bevy of what I'd call interesting acts. Headlined, of course, by Steve Martin and his banjo.

click to enlarge steve martin. yes that steve martin

For a second there I didn't believe that the actor Steve Martin would come out and play the banjo, then his iconic voice came out through the speakers and we were treated to a set of bluegrass and jokes. His performance of a self-written tune called "There are no atheist songs" (or something along those lines, didn't get a chance to write it down) was a highlight.

click to enlarge roots of music marching

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And also interesting was the Roots of Music and the warm reception they received from the Jazz Fest crowd, many of which seemed to be from out of town. Even for Jazz Fest veterans who know that second lines are a regular occurrence, a part of me wondered how much people cheered because they like the sight of an all-kids marching band or because they know the Roots of Music is the only free after-school music program in New Orleans (donate here: http://www.therootsofmusic.com/).

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click to enlarge roots of music kids tent

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The parade ended in the Kids Tent and they were again a sight to behold, pulling in a substantial crowd for what is usually a second or third-tier tent. More encouraging than the Roots of Music kids receiving supports form adults was all the kids that were genuinely enjoying and dancing to the sounds coming from the band.

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click to enlarge Elvis Costello

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And it's also interesting to see people like Elvis Costello, a guy that was just in two episodes of "Treme" and reminded me again of the whole "Hollywood South" term people are throwing around about New Orleans nowadays. Of course, Costello would be a fool not to play at Jazz Fest whether or not he was in a TV show about New Orleans, but the two things combined give the sense that famous artists who come to the city enjoy it enough to hang around an do a few shows. And then when the Soul Rebels performed and then shot part of the "Treme" Season 1 finale Friday morning, it reminds you how local artists can get a boost from national exposure.

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All in all, a very interesting day.

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