Ben Jaffe has attended Jazz Fest since he was a member of the McDonogh 15 school band (directed by the late Walter Payton Jr.), which used to open the festival. "[Jazz Fest] was the first place I heard Jessie Hill, Oliver Morgan and Ernie K-Doe. Where else was an 8-year-old going to hear them?" Jaffe says. He performs with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band (4:05 p.m.-5:05 p.m. Sunday, April 27, Blues Tent). What's he looking forward to at the Fair Grounds?
Sun April 27
(1:25 p.m.-2:20 p.m. Blues Tent)
"I caught Bombino in Nashville. Clint (Maedgen) and I were doing rehearsals for the Bonnaroo Superjam. He was playing at a bowling alley in an industrial area — it was like Rock 'N Bowl but the stage was over the bowling lanes. Dan Auerbach put together the show and it was amazing."
Thu May 1
(6:10 p.m.-6:55 p.m. Congo Square Stage)
"I've been a sideline fan of hers for a while and then one night she popped up at Preservation Hall. She said how comfortable she is in New Orleans and it feels natural living here. It's nice when you connect with people outside of music. It makes it personal."
Fri May 2
(5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Samsung Galaxy Stage)
"We got to perform with Brittany (Howard) — and John Oates and Jim James — at the Bonnaroo Superjam. ... She brought down the house. She has that kind of emotion and energy."
Fri May 2
(5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Congo Square Stage)
"She's a legend. The music she made with Rufus, that was music that formed me as a person — my musical DNA. That caught me perfectly with the birth of MTV."
Sat May 3
(4:15 p.m.-7 p.m., Acura Stage)
"I love Bruce Springsteen. Born to Run was one of the first albums I ever bought at the Mushroom. Bruce found a way to be earnest and rock. That's a great combo."