Just in time for the holidays (when, maybe, baby, it'll be cold outside), crooner Tony Bennett will come to New Orleans for a Dec. 7 concert at the Saenger Theater.
Bennett has visited New Orleans many times before, notably at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the 2015 Jazz Fest, where his set with Lady Gaga at the Gentilly Stage was plagued with sound problems. A painter, Bennett also created the 2010 Jazz Fest poster (a portrait of Louis Prima).
Tickets for the Saenger show go on sale Friday (Sept. 30) at 10 a.m. and range from $59.50-$125.
Louisiana musician Buckwheat Zydeco died early this morning at the age of 68, according to his longtime manager Ted Fox. Zydeco, aka Stanley Dural Jr., had been suffering from lung cancer and unable to perform for most of 2016. Recently his Carencro home had been damaged in the August floods, according to Fox.
"Buck made everything and everyone he touched better and happier," Fox wrote on Dural's Facebook page. "RIP my dear friend, my brother."
Saturday’s heavy rains left the Fair Grounds a soggy mess for Jazz Fest’s finale on Sunday. The sometimes wet, windy and chilly day saw migratory geese milling about Acura Stage lagoons while a bevy of tribute shows filled stages, including standout homages to Allen Toussaint and B.B. King stood out.
Maze came to play Sunday. Formed decades ago in Oakland but long associated with New Orleans due its annual closing out of both Congo Square at Jazz Fest and Essence Music Festival, the band is propelled by an artist/audience exchange that’s as fun, funky and well-informed as they come. All clad in all white, the ensemble locked in a groove and the bassist’s expressions (appearing on video screens) showed it was time to get down to business as frontman Frankie Beverly strolled onstage. It was the slow and deliberate walk of a elder statesman in full command of his powers, and Beverly joked midway through the high-intensity set, “I’ll be blessed to turn 70 years old this year — 70! — but damn if y’all ain’t trying to kill me up here on this stage today.”
Neil Young smiled and put a microphone up to the mouth of a cigar store Indian while two women in overalls tossed seeds at flowers in terra-cotta planters. Over the next two hours on the wet, windy and mud-filled final day of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Young conjured lightning rods of droning atmosphere, synchronized with the whipping rains and winds turning the warm and humid weather into a cold, sun-absent afternoon. Later, people in HAZMAT suits sprayed a heavy dose of poison-like fog on the stage, which then cleared to reveal the band as if it was about to play something more sinister.
If Neil Young can do this at Jazz Fest, the festival should maybe consider Earth, whose down-tuned desert blues could've played right into or out of Young's set. Or New Orleans' own Mars or Eyehategod, whose families probably would love to see them on a sunny afternoon and not 4 a.m. on a Tuesday. (Alternately: Neil Young fans, if you were into that, go see them.)
After you wash off the Patient Zero-level disease you collected from the musical horse river, let's look at some holes! Massive, people- and car-eating holes sprouting across the city like nightmare moles forecasting some kind of apocalypse or the earth's reclamation of our devil town — that's just so NOLA.
Rains lingered on the final day of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, though acts including folk Legend Arlo Guthrie touring on the 50th anniversary of Alice’s Restaurant, Grammy award-nominee and Austin Hall of Fame inductee Marcia Ball, gospel great Mavis Staples and others played though it on Sunday, May 1.
Midnite Disturbers perform on the Jazz & Heritage Stage.
Thunder and heavy rains caused Jazz Fest to close at roughly 5 p.m. Saturday, canceling sets by headliners including Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Beck. The festival announced that tickets used for entry Saturday, April 30, will be honored for entry today. Details are here. The festival also announced that Jazz Fest shuttle will operate from downtown pickup locations only.
Crowds braved light rain for a host of performers before thundershowers set in. At the Jazz & Heritage Stage, the annual Midnite Disturbers set was true to form, with more than 10 horn players backed by drummers Stanton Moore and Kevin O'Day. The supergroup of Galactic members and brass band players included saxophonist Ben Ellman, trombonist Big Sam Williams, trumpeter Shamarr Allen, saxophonist Skerik, trombonist Corey Henry, tuba player Edward Lee and others. The group turned songs like Henry's "Buck It Like a Horse" into extended romps, which at times soared with group playing, got loose during trombone duels between Henry and Williams and on tuba solos, and had interludes with Allen exhorting the large crowd to step up its dancing. "We're not going to Buck it all by ourselves," Allen said.
Jazz Festers wade through the Fairgrounds for a bite before leaving after bad weather and rough conditions at the festival canceled the remainder of the afternoon's performances.
Stevie Wonder's Saturday morning soundcheck included Prince's "Purple Rain," seemingly setting up his headlining set at the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for one of the biggest tributes to the late artist over the two festival weekends.
Instead, Wonder sang it with the crowd through a megaphone from the Acura Stage after announcing his 5 p.m. show had been canceled. So were all other stages for the rest of the day — including sets from Beck and Snoop Dogg and the second half of sets from Dr. John and Hurray for the Riff Raff, among others — after heavy downpours formed shin-deep pools and winds sent water onto stage equipment. Jazz Fest last shut down early during an anticipated but lightning-filled Wilco set in 2015.
Even the most strident Jazz Fest supporter would admit seeing legends can be a mixed bag. Last year, Elton John proved every bit the showman and pianist, but his high register had long faded and that changed songs like “Levon.” Last weekend, Van Morrison’s performance came across differently depending on who you asked.
But while Paul Simon has visibly aged, his abilities haven’t. During an 90-minute set, he remained every bit the musician of memory. Simon never backed away from an iconic musical snippet, and he immersed himself in the set even when away from the mic. Simon frequently turned to conduct his band, calling for phrasings or instruments to come to the forefront. A subdued whistling verse in “Me and Julio” aside, Simon strummed the well-knows riffs, gracefully handled high note choruses like in “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and sustained in-sync multipart harmonies including an acapella opening to “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”