Cellist Helen Gillet arrived in New Orleans by way of Belgium and Singapore and has made the Crescent City her home since the early 2000s. She is classically trained but also draws from an array of styles including French chansons, modern jazz and rhythmic Indian ragas. Her most recent album Ferdinand highlights her decadelong collaboration with local bassist and Astral Project member James Singleton.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Nick Sanders Trio
Pianist Nick Sanders has assembled an accomplished supporting lineup featuring New York bassist Henry Frasier and drummer Connor Baker. Born and raised in New Orleans, Sanders attended the New England Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship and was signed to the jazz label Sunnyside Records in 2011. Last year, the 25-year-old released the critically acclaimed debut album Nameless Neighbors. Sanders received the Marion and Eubie Blake International Piano Award three consecutive years from 2010-2012.
12:20 p.m.-1:10 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
Tommy Malone has been a fixture of the local music scene for decades — both as a solo artist and member of bands including late-1980s and 1990s mellow rockers the subdudes and the Continental Drifters. The singer/guitarist is known for eloquent songwriting, and recent blues-infused rock tunes have recounted difficult post-Hurricane Katrina years. His album Poor Boy arrives this week, and his set is sure to include new material and songs from 2013's well-received Natural Born Days.
12:50 p.m.-1:40 p.m.
Samsung Galaxy Stage
The New Orleans Hip-Hop Experience feat. Partners-N-Crime, 3D Na'Tee, Keedy Black, DJ Mike Swift, T-Ray
This showcase features some of the city's up-and-coming hip-hop and R&B artists. 3D Na'Tee's career has soared since the release of her critically acclaimed 2012 mixtape the The Coronation, which features appearances by Keri Hilson and Lyrica Anderson. Na'Tee's controlled delivery and flow have earned her comparisons to Nas. With hits from the 1990's including "Pump the Party" and "Let the Good Times Roll," the duo Partners-N-Crime are the set's elder statesmen of New Orleans' rap scene.
1:15 p.m.-2:05 p.m.
Congo Square Stage
Cha Wa takes its name from the Mardi Gras Indian phrase meaning "We're coming for you." Led by vocalist Eric "Yedi" Boudreaux, the band's repertoire is comprised of traditional Mardi Gras Indian percussion and call-and-response songs and chants fortified with blues and funk guitar. The lineup, which includes Colin Lake on lap steel guitar, Adam Crotchet on guitar and Tom Worrell on keyboard, takes a groove-based approach to classic Indian songs like "Ho Na Nae" and "Shallow Water."
1:55 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Jazz and Heritage Stage
New Orleans natives Alexis Marceaux and Sam Craft make up Alexis and the Samurai, the indie pop duo whose Monday night residency at Chickie Wah Wah has made them a fixture of the local music scene. Marceaux's vocals earned her a spot on CeeLo Green's team on NBC's The Voice. Craft is a multi-instrumentalist and his backing vocals and harmonies add depth to the group's songs.
2:15 p.m.-3:25 p.m.
Butler, Bernstein and the Hot 9
After relocating from New Orleans to Brooklyn, N.Y., pianist and singer Henry Butler found a new muse in Steven Bernstein, the trumpeter, composer and arranger behind experimental projects including Sex Mob and the Millennial Territory Orchestra. Along with their nine-piece band, the ensemble uses early New Orleans jazz as a point of departure for explorations of post-bop, blues and even gospel, filtering the repertoire of titans like Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller through funked-up parade rhythms with plenty of soul. The Hot 9 draws on top players from New York's creative and improvised music scene, lending a progressive vibe to the outfit's overall sound. The group's debut recording, Viper Drag, is due out on Impulse! in May in Europe and a domestic release will follow.
2:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m.
As one of several rising New Orleans R&B stars (in a class including Frank Ocean), PJ Morton's music reflects the gospel, soul and pop influences of his childhood. The son of gospel singer Paul S. Morton, PJ got his break when he was hired as a replacement keyboardist and backing vocalist for Maroon 5 in 2010. After being signed to Cash Money Records by local impresario Lil Wayne, he released New Orleans in May 2013. In part an homage to his hometown, the record blends funk, soul and R&B and there are cameos by Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine. "Only One," featuring Stevie Wonder, is a blazing, synth-laden love song that was nominated for a Grammy Award for best R&B song.
3:50 p.m.-4:50 p.m.
Congo Square Stage
As one of the most commercially successful gospel acts of the last decade, Mary Mary combines the accessibility of a contemporary female hip-hop and R&B duo with the spiritual empowerment message of modern gospel. Sisters Erica and Tina Atkins got their start on the BET show Bobby Jones Gospel. Mary Mary has won three Grammy Awards and two American Music Awards, and its crossover appeal has lifted albums Incredible (2005) and The Sound (2008) into the Billboard Top 10. The sisters' mighty harmonies soar on songs like "Go Get It," which earned the Atkinses the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song.
3:55 p.m.-4:55 p.m.
E Street Band
Jazz Fest favorite Bruce Springsteen returns to the Fair Grounds to deliver an extended set on the Acura Stage. Springsteen has held a special place in local music fans' consciousness since his 2006 post-Hurricane Katrina Jazz Fest performance with the Seeger Sessions band, capped by a moving rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In." The Boss is touring in support of his January release High Hopes, which features previously unreleased material and songs re-recorded with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. Springsteen's stellar "The Ghost of Tom Joad" gets an overhaul, subbing acoustic guitar and whispered vocals for the full E Street treatment, supplemented by Morello's guitar. With a boisterous horn section and gospel-inflected chorus, the title track sounds like it could have been conceived in New Orleans rather than New Jersey.
4:15 p.m.-7 p.m.
Seasoned jazz vocalist Al Jarreau's releases have climbed Billboard jazz, pop and R&B charts, and many know him best from the 1981 hit "We're In This Love Together." Jarreau has collected seven Grammy Awards in his five-decade career, including a 2007 trophy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. He drew three nominations last year, including one for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Jarreau recently recorded a live album with the European orchrestra Metropole Orkest.
5:35 p.m.-7 p.m.
Zatarain's/WWOZ Jazz Tent
and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Hailing from Lafayette, Dwayne Dopsie (born Dwayne Rubin), is the son of Rockin' Dopsie Sr., one of zydeco's early luminaries. Dwayne became an accordion prodigy, and while Rockin' Dopsie Jr. took over their father's band, Dwayne put together the Zydeco Hellraisers when he was 19.
6:05 p.m.-7 p.m.
Sheraton New Orleans Fais Do-Do Stage