Jazz Fest

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Van Morrison closes out Saturday at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 8:15 PM

Van Morrison at sunset at the packed Gentilly Stage on April 23.
  • Van Morrison at sunset at the packed Gentilly Stage on April 23.
Ever year New Orleans pretends Jazz Fest is the center of the universe, a big ass magnet bringing the stars to us because it's New Orleans and why else. We forget there are a billion music festivals and all of them have morphed into versions of the same thing, with bands hopping from festival to festival or adding a few to their spring and summer tours, and Jazz Fest is one of them. Yes, Jazz Fest is set apart with a generous local lineup and focus and lots of citywide stuff supporting New Orleans music and culture. But most of the time, it's another tour stop. And most of the time, those audience expectations don't match the artist's ambitions.

Van Morrison arrived on the Gentilly Stage with a small band (organs and keyboards, drums, a background vocalist, bass and guitar, with Morrison also playing sax and harmonica) fit more for a twilight amphitheater or intimate jazz club rather than a late afternoon, sun-beaten crowd of thousands. But he was game to try, and to those paying attention, Morrison and his band delivered nuance, prayers and a weird-but-satisfying rendering of jazz and blues.

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Saturday at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 11:21 AM

Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison perform in the Zatarain's/ WWOZ Jazz Tent. - JENNIFER ODELL
  • Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison perform in the Zatarain's/ WWOZ Jazz Tent.

After a cool and breezy opening day at Jazz Fest, crowds enjoyed sunshine all day Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

As the heat bore down on the Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage, Warren Storm, Willie Tee and Cypress enticed a willing crowd to dance during the first half of a set that featured Tee’s rock-inspired sax solos and a red and black-clad Storm crooning his way through a string of classics. The band’s rendition of “Lucille” had plenty of fire and the shimmering guitar work on “Baby Come Back Home” elevated the set., Although still a powerhouse drummer, Storm struggled to hit the high notes, causing some of his more plaintive heartbreak numbers to fall flat.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday at Jazz Fest

Posted By on Sat, Apr 23, 2016 at 8:44 PM

The Driscoll Mountain Boys perform at Jazz Fest. - FRANK ETHERIDGE
  • The Driscoll Mountain Boys perform at Jazz Fest.

Prince’s “When Doves Cry” has long been a part of Gov’t Mule’s always-interesting set lists. Guitarist Warren Haynes masterfully wove the cover choice around his tender tune “Beautifully Broken” for a thrilling, chilling effect Friday on the Gentilly Stage. He closed the set with his never-gets-old, feel-good anthem “Soulshine.

Opening day at Jazz Fest was full of covers and homages to Prince, and there was plenty to enjoy on a host of stages.

Grace Potter gripping a Gibson Flying V guitar and ripping solos on slide with sweat-matted blonde hair covering her face is certainly a sight. Showcasing her considerable talents, Potter deftly switched to Hammond B-3 organ with ease and danced with
abandon while singing Prince’s “Kiss,” one of many tribute covers to the late, great Purple One — one of many sure to mark Jazz Fest 2016.

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Ace Hotel announces Jazz Fest schedule for new music venue Three Keys

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 9:30 AM

Three Keys, the music venue at the recently opened Ace Hotel in New Orleans, rolls out an ambitious opening schedule for Jazz Fest. - FRAN PARENTE
  • Three Keys, the music venue at the recently opened Ace Hotel in New Orleans, rolls out an ambitious opening schedule for Jazz Fest.
Inside the recently opened Ace Hotel on Carondelet Street is a high-ceilinged checkered-floor venue, a balcony-wrapped and Tipitina's-inspired uber lounge behind the hotel's Art Deco lobby. The venue is Three Keys, named after James Booker's song of the same name and hosting nightly music and events — its opening week featured Little Maker and Tank & the Bangas, among others, and this week brings Meschiya Lake and Helen Gillet — and a dedicated calendar more in line with a downtown club than a hotel lobby bar.

The venue makes a proper debut during the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with a program, dubbed Six of Saturns, featuring spots from Third Man Records, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Nick Waterhouse and Daniel Lanois, among others, as well as Preservation Hall workshops and DJ Soul Sister in conversation with George Clinton. Tickets are available online.

See the full schedule below:

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Y@ Speak: Easter'd

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Ah, spring. Roaring in like a mutant crawfish man. And here come the two-dimensional cubes, Popeyes and boundin-filled bunnies.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announces daily lineups

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 11:24 AM

Pearl Jam returns to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. - DANNY CLINCH
  • Pearl Jam returns to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival released its "cubes," the daily schedule lineups.

Festival headliners include Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Snoop Dogg, Van Morrison, My Morning Jacket, Jangle Monae, Lauryn Hill, Bonnie Raitt and many others.
The festival runs April 22-24 and April 28-May 1 at the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. 

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair headed to the Saenger Theatre

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Liz Phair in 2010. - INCASE
  • Liz Phair in 2010.

Returning to the road for the first time in six years, singer-songwriter Liz Phair will open for Billy Corgan's latest mutation of The Smashing Pumpkins on a spring tour beginning this month. The tour stops in New Orleans at the Saenger Theatre on Friday, April 22, during the first weekend of the 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Just last summer, the Pumpkins performed with Marilyn Manson on their '90s alt-rock nostalgia tour at Champions Square. For this show, billed as "an acoustic-electro evening," the band continues its "In Plainsong" tour: "intimate settings for an evening of acoustic based music and electronic soundscapes." The lineup includes Corgan, drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Schroeder.

Though Phair's landmark 1993 album Exile in Guyville — a buzzsaw of raw testimonials and a middle finger to an oversaturated boys club — is more than 20 years in the rearview, Phair is working on a new album, her first since 2010's self-released Funstyle.

Tickets are on sale at noon Friday, March 18.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jon Batiste returns to New Orleans for Civic Theatre show

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 10:07 AM

Jon Batiste.
  • Jon Batiste.
Jon Batiste and Stay Human — bandleader and house band for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — returns to New Orleans for the band's first club performance in the city since taking over the late-night gig. 

The band will headline the Civic Theatre during the second week of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at 10 p.m. Saturday, April 30. (The band also performs earlier that day at the Fest.) Tickets are $25 and go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26. 

Colbert enlisted Batiste for Late Show house band duties after Colbert was announced as show host following David Letterman's retirement. The Kenner native and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts grad has developed a casual, goofball rapport with Colbert, showing comic chops on New Orleans segments, whether teaching Colbert how to lean on Frenchmen Street or how to play jazz.

Batiste and Stay Human spans jazz, R&B, pop, funk and soul, driven by Batiste's piano, melodica and lively stage presence. The band has released several albums, including the acclaimed 2013 LP Social Music and the 2016 release The Late Show EP, featuring six new songs, including The Late Show theme. The EP, which Baptiste says aims to capture the band's in-studio performance, includes two live tracks, and another, of course, with Colbert himself.

Batiste also recently jammed with most-famous-Muppet Kermit the frog (and apparent college pal from their Juilliard days). Watch below:

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