Alexey Marti & Urban Mind
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, percussionist Alexey Marti moved to New Orleans in 2008 to study jazz at the University of New Orleans. Primarily a conga drummer, Marti specializes in Latin jazz inspired by Cuban rhythms. In 2012, Marti opened for legendary Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes at the Joy Theater and now regularly headlines New Orleans clubs such as Snug Harbor and Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse and performed at the Latin Jazz Festival and the Congo Square New World Rhythms Festival.12:20 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Afoxe Omo Nile Ogunja of Pernambuco, Brazil
Afoxe Omo Nile Ogunja is a group of singers, dancers and musicians dedicated to preserving Afro-Brazilian culture. The group's music is built on afoxe
, a percussive shaker made from gourds and decorative beads, and it is central to the traditional music of Candomble, an Afro-Latin religion that evolved from African slave culture and influences performers like Afoxe Omo Nile Ogunja. The group released its second album, Odara
, earlier this year in Brazil. The group performs on both weekends of Jazz Fest, and Friday's set is the first of three stage appearances, performances in the Casa do Brasil cultural pavilion and parades on the grounds this weekend.1:50 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.Jazz & Heritage Stage12:45 p.m. - 1:35 p.m. Saturday, April 26Acura Stage4:40 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27Jazz & Heritage Stage
Ruben Blades and Roberto Delgado Orchestra
Ruben Blades is not just a singer, he's a cultural icon. Born in Panama, Blades moved to New York in the 1970s, where he established himself as a top jazz vocalist. His 1978 collaboration with Willie Colon, the disco- and funk-inspired salsa album Siembra
, became an instant classic, launching a career that crossed into acting and politics. Blades made an unsuccessful bid for the Panamanian presidency in 1994 and went on to serve as the country's Minister of Tourism in 2004. At Jazz Fest, Blades leads his usual touring band, the Roberto Delgado Orchestra, as he performs the politically charged and socially minded songs that have made him one of the most prominent figures in Latin music.3:10 p.m. - 4:25 p.m.Acura Stage
In 2001, at 22, Alabama songwriter Jason Isbell — after passing demos around Muscle Shoals and gigs at FAME Studios — was scooped up by fellow Alabama alt-country outfit Drive-By Truckers. Isbell contributed to an acclaimed trio of albums before departing the group in 2007 for a successful solo career with his band, The 400 Unit. He struggled with drug and alcohol abuse before checking into rehab and drying out in 2012, with the help of his now-wife and fellow songwriter Amanda Shires. Isbell's fourth album, 2013's acclaimed breakthrough Southeastern
, finds the recently sober 35-year-old showcasing his most focused efforts to date with a collection of intimate stories of recovery, redemption and love, lost and found. Southeastern
shares the details of his personal lows — from sipping Listerine rather than "the piss they call tequila even Waylon wouldn't drink" in "New South Wales" to praying to make it out alive in a "Super 8" motel — and Isbell's cast of characters, from cancer patients on "Elephant" to a criminal on the lam asking for forgiveness in "Live Oak," an almost analog to his recovery: "There's a man who walks beside me, he is who I used to be. I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me." Despite the darkness, Isbell is a big-hearted, humorous and fire-fingered guitar-slinger — though there wasn't a dry eye in the room during his performance at the House of Blues in October.3:35 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.Samsung Galaxy Stage
Eric Lindell & Co. featuring Anson Funderburgh
Singer/songwriter Eric Lindell's laid back, sun-drenched grooves make a good soundtrack for driving in open cars and hanging out in beach bars — a blend of soul, blues, country and R&B. A California native, Lindell moved to New Orleans in 1999 and quickly made himself at home in the city's eclectic music scene. His newest record, Indian Summer
, dropped earlier this month, and later this summer he'll release Live in SPACE
, recorded in front of a sold-out crowd at SPACE, a popular venue in Evanston, Ill. Lindell will be joined by recent collaborator and veteran Texas blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh.4:05 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.Blues Tent
After years as an independent artist, rapper Dee-1 signed his first major label deal last year with RCA Inspiration, a gospel imprint of Sony Music Entertainment. Known for his positive-minded content in a genre often criticized for violence and misogyny, Dee-1 garnered national attention with the 2010 single "Jay, 50, & Weezy," in which he calls on famous rappers to use their influence to do more good in their communities. The LSU graduate and former middle school teacher dropped his ninth mixtape last fall, Psalms of David II, featuring appearances by artists Macklemore and Lupe Fiasco and production by Mannie Fresh and Raj Smoov, among others. Dee-1 is currently at work on his first album for RCA, due out later this year.
4:15 p.m. - 5:05 p.m.
Congo Square Stage
In a Jazz Fest full of Latin rhythms, none may be more recognizable than Santana's. Since Mexican-born guitarist Carlos Santana's first hit, 1969's "Evil Ways," his band has been known for his signature blazing guitar solos over Latin-style percussion. Santana has consistently earned critical and commercial success by combining pop stylings with world music traditions. In 1999, the band released Supernatural, a successful collaboration with artists including Dave Matthews, Rob Thomas and Eric Clapton. That album seems to be the inspiration for Santana's newest project, Corazon, due in May, which includes guest spots from some of Latin music's biggest stars, such as Gloria Estefan, Miguel and Pitbull.
5:10 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Joe Louis Walker
Joe Louis Walker returns to the Blues Tent for the first time in more than decade, and judging from his latest album, Hornet's Nest, the blues veteran hasn't aged a lick. After getting his start in the 1960s playing guitar as a teenager in his hometown of San Francisco, Walker went on to appear on Grammy-winning albums by blues legends B.B. King and James Cotton, and he has recorded more than 20 solo albums. Released earlier this year, Hornet's Nest is a soulful set of electric blues that comes hot on the heels of Walker's 2013 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.
5:40 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Chuck D and Flavor Flav are an unlikely duo, but the political activist and flamboyant hype man have anchored Public Enemy for more than 25 years as the group evolved from hip-hop pioneers to members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Public Enemy made a name for itself in the late 1980s with bombastic, socially conscious anthems "Fight the Power," "Don't Believe the Hype" and "911 Is a Joke." While Flavor Flav gained notoriety for his reality television appearances and substance abuse in the early 2000s, back-to-back albums in 2012 were a return to form for the group, proving Public Enemy is still a powerful force in hip-hop.
5:45 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Congo Square Stage
Gregory Porter is relatively new to the jazz scene, but he made a big impression in a few short years. After two well-received albums, the singer signed to Blue Note records last year and released Liquid Spirit
, which won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. His rich, refined baritone echoes classic crooners, but he also can show harder edges, like Gil Scott-Heron on his best behavior or an unleashed Marvin Gaye on his recordings. Porter's backing band keeps the songs tight, punctuating his vocals with heavy bass lines and bursts of piano, ready to swing when the song calls for it. Porter stands out not only as a singer but a writer as well. Liquid Spirit
features mostly original compositions, including the title track, a gospel-tinged number with hand claps and horns that sound as familiar as they do fresh.5:45 p.m. - 7 p.m.Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Aurora Nealand & The Royal Roses
Aurora Nealand got her start in New Orleans almost a decade ago, busking with traditional jazz bands on Royal Street, but now she and her band, the Royal Roses, are a staple of the Frenchmen Street scene. The group's album A Tribute to Sydney Bechet: Live at Preservation Hall, New Orleans
demonstrates its take on early 20th-century New Orleans jazz. Nealand leads the group on tenor sax and vocals, belting out classic tunes and originals. Last summer, she was selected to participate in a residency sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs that culminated with a concert at the Kennedy Center.6 p.m. - 7 p.m.Peoples Health Economy Hall Tent